Provision #253: Be S.M.A.R.T.

Laser Provision

Have you ever wondered why some objectives go unmet month after month, or year after year? Have you ever accomplished a major objective, only to find no real sense of fulfillment or satisfaction? It may be that your objectives weren’t yours in the first place. This week’s Provision speaks to the importance of connecting your objectives to your vision and of being S.M.A.R.T. in their implementation.

LifeTrek Provision • Introduction

I didn’t start the month of April with the idea that we would showcase our three up-and-coming LifeTrek coaches, but that’s how the month has turned out. Christina Lombardo, Kate Kriynovich, and now, in this Provision, Erika Jackson, have all had a chance to share with you some of who they are, how they work, and what’s important to them. Erika’s been working with LifeTrek since the middle of last year and has a great track record of developing strong coaching partnerships with her clients.

This week’s Provision gives you some insight into how that happens. How people move forward quickly and easily, with the assistance of a coach, in the direction of their dreams. To learn more about this, you can email

Next week I’ll be back in the saddle again with the start of a new Provisions’ series on navigating life’s transitions. Being in transition myself • from Ohio to Virginia, from active parent to empty nest, from sole proprietor to business owner • I know the feeling and have much to learn as well as much to share about the process.

LifeTrek Provision

If you’ve been in the business world for any significant amount of time, it is likely that you have been exposed to the widely-accepted formula for writing S.M.A.R.T. objectives. Writing S.M.A.R.T. objectives means that your objectives meet the following criteria:

  • Specific: objective is concrete and specific so that any one reading the goal would clearly understand the expectations.
  • Measurable: objective is quantifiable with defined measures for success or failure.
  • Attainable: objective is feasible, appropriately limited in scope and within the committee’s control and influence.
  • Results-focused: measures outputs or results (not activities).
  • Time-Bound: objective identifies target date, interim steps and a plan to monitor progress.

In the business context, the individual objectives of an associate are tied to the objectives of the business. It’s the vision of the business that drives the performance objectives of those who serve the business.

Rummler and Brache, authors of Improving Performance, assert that creating successful organizational systems requires objectives to be created first at the organizational level (or the vision of the organization), next at the process level (or the systems in place to get it done) and finally, at the job/performer level (or what the individual will do to get it done).

This approach within organizations can be applied to individuals, as they craft their personal and professional lives. When people match their objectives to their vision, systems, and actions everything moves forward much more quickly and easily.

As coaches, it is typical that clients see us as partners in working toward their objectives. Some clients come with their objectives mapped out on Gant charts and plugged in to their daily planners for three months forward. Others come with simple statements, phrased more like wish lists. Still others come with only a vague sense of where they want to go. In every instance, the coaching conversation drives clients back to their vision and systems. It’s not enough to just get people moving. Coaches seek to connect people with the what, who, and how.

Objectives without connection to an individual’s vision and systems are objectives written in a vacuum. They end up being victimized by Gremlins (the distracting and debilitating inner voices that tell us what we “should” be doing or “should never” dream to do) as well as the opinions of others that may not be right for us. As critical as recorded objectives are to both success and fulfillment, being committed to the wrong objectives can contribute to continued and perplexing feelings of failure, imbalance and emptiness.

In his book First Things First, Stephen Covey illuminates this point when he writes: “Goals that are connected to our inner life have the power of passion and principle. They’re fueled by the fire within and based on ‘true north’ principles that create quality of life results•. Without this deep connection, we go through life feeling duty-bound to develop sufficient self-control to achieve our goals, to endure to the end, to crawl battered and bruised over the finish line, if it’s the last thing we do.”

The key to successfully achieving your objectives is setting the right objectives in the first place. If you find yourself struggling to meet your objectives, perhaps it’s time to question where the objectives come from and how they are connected to your vision and systems. Perhaps it’s time to work with a coach.

Coaches can partner with you, using a variety of tools and exercises, to untangle your confusion and to get you on track with more integral objectives. As in organizations so too with individuals: this process makes everything more lively, productive, effortless, and exciting. Good things happen when people connect their actions to their vision and systems. It’s that simple.

After the connection gets made, coaches assist their clients to take better, smarter actions. We enable people to find the commitment and develop the habits to realize their own S.M.A.R.T. objectives. Often within a matter of months people find they have taken a quantum leap forward in the direction of their dreams. If that sounds relevant and valuable to you, then now might be a great time to contact LifeTrek coaching.

Erika Jackson, Coach
LifeTrek Coaching

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.

Thanks for answering my questions about Christianity. I found you through AskJeeves.Com and thought you would be a good help for me. I checked out your site and got a lot of information. Thank you so very much for helping me.

Are there any more of the free DISC assessments available? Thanks • I love your work! (Ed. Note: Sorry, but they went fast, as expected. But you can get a DISC assessment and coaching session at any time for the full price of $100.)

I once had a gentlemen equate caffeine to driving. He said it’s like stepping on the gas while the emergency brake is on: you’re going to get there but eventually something’s got to give.

I have subscribed to LifeTrek from Australia since the beginning and I love it. Kate’s topic of life purpose is one that I am struggling with deeply and would appreciate guidance to help see me through. I have made a successful career as an entrepreneur/founder of a dotcom and then as the CEO of an Australian Telco. I finished up that role last year and after a bit of time away I am now looking to address my next challenge • if only I knew what it was! While I am capable of many things I am currently in danger of spreading myself too thin! I look forward to some advice or guidance. (Ed. Note: Kate will be a great coach for you to work with.)

I figure I’m too late for the DISC evaluation-coaching offer, but thought I’d try. Thanks much for your work and for ‘donating’ your weekly ‘wisdom’. Oh, and your idea about “leaving your bike in the hallway” a couple months back was just another example of the everyday tips that I’m glad you share. Keep it up: you’re my weekly pep-talk!

I just found on the Internet that one can buy red tea (Rooibos), Organic Cedargrove, in a bag of 250 tea bags from Republic of Tea ( for .14196/bag including shipping. That is about half the price that I was paying for 36 bags that came in the tin. Thanks again for telling me about red tea. I drink a lot of it. It is certainly better than drinking carbonated beverages, etc.

Didn’t know if you had seen this article about coaching ( Looks like you are right on target with LifeTrek coaching. Hope all is going well for you.

You might want to include a date or issue number in the subject (e.g. “LifeTrek Provision of the Week • 4/7/02”) to help the reader distinguish between different issues and also to make it easier for you to know which Provision they are responding to if they send you a message. Also, one of your readers mentioned PalTalk. I’m not familiar with this service but another nice web conferencing service is PlaceWare. (Ed. Note: Done, using the USA date format of MM/DD/YY).

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School
Immediate Past President, International Association of
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

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