Kevin Fong - Organizational Design

Six Simple Steps to get your Audacious Goals to Bloom

This morning my friend invited me to her Zumba class, where over a hundred people gathered in a studio designed to hold fifty.  The room was crowded and uncomfortable, but my friend turned to me and said, “Don’t worry, in three weeks half of these folks will be gone.”  Like many people in that studio, I have made and broken my share of new year’s resolutions.  But several years ago, I developed a simple practice where the goals and intentions I plant actually bloom. I call this practice the Plum Blossom Method, because plum blossoms emerge in the dead of winter, while there is still snow on the branches.  Plum blossoms symbolize strength, resilience and the ability to overcome adversity. At the same time, they have delicate petals that require care and attention.   That is why I chose the plum blossom as my logo.  The fine balance of strength and vulnerability inspires me to work toward my vision for hope and change in the coldest and bleakest of times. Here’s how the method works.

  1. Take a piece of paper and draw a version of the plum blossom as depicted in the header of this article. 
  2.  Label each petal to represent a different aspect of your life – Personal, Professional, Spiritual, Creative, and Financial.
  3.  Under each label, write down three to five goals you would like to achieve.  For instance, under “Personal,” it might be - read one book a month, or exercise at least three times/week.  Under “Creative,” it might be - take a glassblowing workshop.  The more specific the goal, the better.  In the end, you should have a total of fifteen to twenty-five goals.
  4.  Circle your top five to seven goals and write them in the center of the flower. Do not feel obligated to choose one goal from each petal.  Just go with the goals that naturally rise to the top.  In 2010, I had one personal, two professional and two financial goals. The previous year, it was two creative, one spiritual, one personal and one financial goal. 
  5.  For each goal in the center, determine what activities you can do in the next month or two to get closer to these goals.  Write those activities down on the flip side of the paper.  An activity should take no longer than three hours to complete.  Be aware that you don’t have to tackle all of your goals at once.  Spread the work out over the year.  Immediately enter those activities in your calendar or to do list.
  6.  Share your goals and next steps with at least two people who will support, cheer and nag you.

Over the years, I have shared the Plum Blossom method with hundreds of personal and executive coaching clients.   And with the help of my friends, I achieved my 2010 goals of running fifteen miles/week; launching a new business name, brand, blog and website; recruiting seven outstanding business partners; exceeding my financial goals; and saving twenty percent of my income. 
If resolutions haven’t worked for you in the past, I invite you to give this method a try.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.  Better yet, if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area this Sunday, January 9, between 1:00 – 3:00 pm, please come over for my annual Plum Blossom party.  Just send me an rsvp at, and we'll develop our goals together.
Last week, I helped my partner Greg plant 240,000 flower seeds on the hillside adjacent to his school.  Let’s see how many audacious goals we can plant this week!

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