In reviewing my goals for last year, I’ve realized that I have only met about 50% of them. Looking at it by the numbers it sounds terrible! I don’t like to do anything half way. Back in school, 50% would have been an “F”, which I’ve never gotten before, and I certainly don’t deserve one now!

The fact is that I’ve had a terrific year! I’ve got wonderful new clients, work that is totally satisfying, financial health and stability, and a wonderful home and family life.

I've realized that setting goals--or the type of goals I’ve set in the past--isn’t the best approach for planning my future.

At the beginning of last year, one of the goals that I wrote down was to work with people who needed my programs the most. At the time, I didn’t know exactly what that meant, other than I had a strong desire to help and serve people through my programs.

I am very proud of the development of the Speak for Success Women's Leadership Institute, which involved putting together a team of wonderful instructors and partnering with several non-profits to deliver the program to women who have been victims of domestic violence. In thinking about it now, I can’t imagine a group of people who need and could benefit from Speak for Success training more than these women!

What is interesting about the goal “to work with people who needed my programs the most” is that it wasn’t specific and wasn’t the standard type of goal with numbers attached to it. How could I measure it? It was a goal that was coming from my passion and from my heart. I’ve never been part of a project like this. It has taken on a life of its own and come together in a way that has been easy and effortless to facilitate.

It’s as if this idea is a very big magnet and it has drawn to it the people, places, and things that it needs in order to exist. It feels as if each step of the way has been divinely guided.

This has turned my goal writing process upside down!

I want everything in my life to flow this way. I want to be living and making decisions from what I am passionate about, from what is calling me, and to those people, things and activities that make my heart happy.

I didn’t know exactly how to write goals this way, or even if my passions should be called goals. So I went to the book store for ideas and found a great one; it’s a book called “The Passion Test - The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Destiny.”

The authors, Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood, have come up with a simple test to help people define their passions, those things that are most important to us in our heart of hearts. The process is easy to follow and helps us choose our top five passions, then set markers (a lot like goals) that will tell us that when we experience these things, we are living our passions.

What I love about this approach is that there is no right or wrong way to define passions as they are totally individual. And the markers that I write don’t have to be accomplished by a certain time frame, and I certainly don’t fail if they all don’t happen right away.

The Attwoods make a point of saying that we don’t need to know how to accomplish the markers, but instead, just by setting these intentions from our passions and taking action, we’ll be guided to learn what we need to, meet who we need to, to have these things happen. Sounds a lot like my experience with the Speak for Success Women's Leadership Institute!

If you aren’t quite sure about what your passions are, but know that you want to be doing more meaningful things with your life, I recommend that you explore what brings you joy and makes your heart happy.

If you’d like some help with the process check out The Passion Test at Amazon. You can even take the Passion Test online:

I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

Don’t worry about what the world wants from you, worry about what makes you come more alive. What the world really needs are people who are more alive. ---Lawrence LeShan

Author's Bio: 

Dana Bristol-Smith is the founder of Speak for Success, an organization that works with companies that want their people to communicate with confidence and credibility. You can email Dana . Visit or Dana’s Blog: