Big Picture Goals Framework (The 4 P’s) in Practice

Have you reviewed our Big Picture Goals Framework (the 4 P’s) and want to see how they apply to real-world scenarios? Read on!

As a reminder, the 4 P’s are as follows:

  1. Ponder
  2. Prepare
  3. Proceed
  4. Post-Mortem

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples:

Michele is thinking about setting a goal of running a marathon this year.

  • Ponder: Michele has been wanting to run a marathon ever since she watched the NYC Marathon on TV as a kid. The longest race she has ever done was a 5k, and she found it really challenging, but she believes she has enough time this year to train, and she has some great running trails near her house that she’s looking forward to exploring more. She decides to make this her most important health goal of the year and to prioritize it above other things like group fitness classes with her friends (though she may still occasionally participate in them as a form of cross-training).
  • Prepare: Michele has read some blogs online about marathon training and knows she will need to build up her mileage slowly rather than trying to complete long runs right away. She signs up for a beginner marathon training plan that she can start next week in order to be on track for a marathon that’s just a few months away. Registration has already completed for the marathon, but she finds she can join a charitable organization’s team and raise money for a good cause at the same time. She realizes that there will be hard times during her training, so she reaches out to a friend who ran her first marathon last year. Her friend cheers her on and offers to be there for moral support along the way.
  • Proceed: Michele starts the training schedule on time. She blocks out time on her calendar to do each training run and follows through almost every day, and enjoys taking rest days as indicated by the schedule. It’s not perfect — her body doesn’t always feel up for it, and sometimes she goes slower than she would like — but she feels closer to her goal with each run. On the day of the marathon, Michele is able to complete the race, and her friend cheers her on at a few points along the way.
  • Post-Mortem: Michele feels a sense of pride at having completed this goal. She’s not sure she wants to put her body (or schedule) through the same level of rigor again for another marathon, but she feels more confident that she can achieve big goals she sets out for herself if she’s able to break them down into a manageable schedule with a long lead time like she did in this case. She decides to bask in this moment and then start thinking about the next big goal she would like to achieve.

Ella and Ray want to start a nonprofit to help ensure people worldwide have access to clean water.

  • Ponder: Neither Ella nor Ray comes from a nonprofit or environmental background, but they have learned about this issue and want to bring attention and awareness to the cause. As they think more about it, they decide that realistically, they will be able to have the most impact if they raise funds that can go to local organizations that are already doing the on-the-ground work that is needed to bring clean drinking water to places that need it. They don’t scrap the idea altogether, but they adjust it so that it’s more realistic to achieve given their circumstances.
  • Prepare: Their first step is to research organizations that are doing this important work already. They reach out to several organizations to express their interest in helping and seeing what the areas of greatest need are. When they confirm that funds are needed and that the organizations are interested in having their help, they start contacting friends and family to gauge interest in supporting these causes. All signs point to this being a worthwhile and important use of their time, so they decide to proceed.
  • Proceed: Ella and Ray work with their partner nonprofits to develop some content and educational materials that they can distribute to their friends and family. They set a goal for how much money they want to raise and communicate this goal in their outreach. They also find opportunities for online fundraising events and come up with creative matching program initiatives to generate excitement and additional donations. All of the donations go directly to the organizations, and the organizations are thrilled to have their support.
  • Post-Mortem: After Ella and Ray have reached their goal, they reflect back on the strategies that worked best and the ones that didn’t work as well. They document the steps they took so they can share them with others who may also want to raise money for causes they care about. Ella and Ray make a plan to continue to support the clean water organizations by doing an annual fundraising campaign drawing on their most effective techniques and building on them as they go.

Ready to develop your own big picture goals? Check out our 2021 Planning Worksheet and run your big-picture ideas through our 4 P’s Worksheet for Tackling Big Picture Goals on Notion or Google Docs!

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