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How to Remap Your Writerly Brain from "Hope" to "Certainty" and Other Tips from the Passion Project Team
Written by
Passion Project
January 2011
Written by
Passion Project
January 2011

Rebecca Rodskog, a change management coach and consultant, continues her journey with Monique Fields, a.k.a. Honeysmoke, our Passion Project winner, as Monique retools her 2011 writing/life goals.

For those of you following along, you know that I was part of the Passion Project prize (I like thinking of it as I was presented with a bow on my head!) with the mission to coach and support Monique through her Passion Project journey.  Where we left off at the end of October was the REFLECT phase – understanding what makes Monique unique, from her values system to her style to her ambitions. 

The past few months have been about ENVISIONING and then setting those visions into action, and getting into the third step, GROW.  With Monique’s priorities firmly aligned with her values, we were able to create some amazing intentions for this next year in each of the priority areas of her life.  We created each of these statements by thinking of how much movement she wanted this year in each area according to the wheel (i.e. in career she wanted to move from a 5 to a 9), and then asking ourselves what would have to happen to say we have “arrived” at the higher number, or goal.

And with those measures in mind, we created a simple statement for each area, using a technique called “future pull”.  Basically, we created the statement as if it had already happened – it’s January 2011 and she’s reflecting on what she’s accomplished.  Some examples from Monique’s exercise:

Career:  “I am happy and thankful that I have a book contract and I am getting paid to do what I love.“ 

Health:  “I am happy and thankful that I have maintained my focus on my health.”

Personal Growth:  “I am happy and thankful that I am focused on MY happiness.”

We completed statements for all the other areas in her wheel as well (finance, physical environment, fun & recreation, significant other, friends & family).   The reason why we developed them as if they had already occurred is to get your mind into a space of complete confidence that you can accomplish it, because it believes you already have!  You are literally re-mapping your brain’s thinking from “hope” to “certainty”.  This WORKS (just ask any successful Olympic athlete)!

The next step is to build an action plan that supports movement towards those intentions.  For Monique, the action plan around her career ambition is being guided by her Passion Project advisors.  What we are doing is making sure she’s included them in her plan along with all the other actions, so that she can ensure greater success in execution.We focused her plan on the next three months, as it can be overwhelming to take on an entire year of actions.  Every action must be:


  • Specific (what exactly is it that we are going to do and how?)
  • Measurable (how do we know it’s complete?)
  • Realistic (can she actually accomplish this task with the available resources and time allotted?)


Examples from Monique’s “Career” area are:


Write for at least 40 minutes M-F for 21 days

Dec. 12

Write for at least 2 hours M-F until finished

Jan. 2

Contact UA Sociology Department, request grad student info

Dec. 5

Complete She Writes assignments

As assigned

Attend Critical Mixed-Race Conference in Chicago

Nov. 5-6

Listen, interview scholars, make connections

Nov. 5-6

Follow up w/those who urge me to contact or offer to help

Nov. 10

Once Monique comes up with her actions, I help her drill into them, making sure they are specific enough (for example, who exactly is she following-up with, how and when is she going to do that?) and I also help her back up and say, is this really realistic??  Do you need to remove some things in order to have the movement you want in all the areas you identified?  Or do we need to lower our expectations of what we can accomplish this year?  

The guidelines around this are simple:  have a plan so you are moving forward WITH INTENTION, but then HOLD THE PLAN LIGHTLY.  The plan is not something you are allowed to beat yourself up with if you are not getting everything done.  The plan provides a marker, a stake in the ground, a set of guidelines to help you move forward and as you “work the plan”, you will want to change, delete, re-prioritize, etc. in order keep the plan working for you.

Our next step is simple.  Do it!  The GROW step isn’t just about coming up with the actions, but it’s about execution.  Getting it done.  Making the time, and putting one foot in front of the other to move towards our visions and goals.  I hope you’ll continue to follow along with us as we work the plan, and begin to NURTURE her growth journey.

Rebecca is a change management coach and consultant, an Innovation Catalyst at ?WhatIf!, an actress, writer, and mother of two who lives in Manhattan. Check her out at www.rodskog.com, and schedule your own consult through She Writes, right here!



Read previous posts by Rebecca Rodkog here.

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  • Amanda Wolfe

    I agree with Roberta Allen!! On feeling the emotion. I've also added my bike to my office space.It really helps me focus. What a great idea that was!
    Happy Hump day everybody!

  • Ellen Ferranti

    I found this very helpful and encouraged me to organize the unused room in my home. I put in my exercise bike, my quilting and,most importantly, my laptop and writing items. It got me jumpstarted for the new year. Happy writing to all!

  • Rebecca Rodskog

    I'm so glad you all are finding this post helpful - let me know if you found any holes in the logic, or if there's something that works for you, in particular!

  • Roberta Allen

    I think creating a positive statement is fine but unless you are really feeling that statement it isn't powerful. Putting feeling behind it is what gives it power.

  • Natasha Papousek

    This is a very timely post as I am in the midst of a re-organization evaluation right now -- basically looking at what I'm doing and how to tweak it to be more efficient in making sure everything gets done -- writing, housework, painting, energy into my business, blogging, relationship, losing weight and regaining strength.

  • Dera R Williams Writing

    I loce the way you outline your goals. I especially like the statements as if they already happened. It is like you are claiming good things, putting them out in the universe. Great article.

  • Gloria

    How fruitful, those are timely missions, but doable. It is great that you are going for your graduate degree, I still have to finish my bachelors. But, I am at a slow but steady pace as well as a first time grandmother to a great little boy, who will soon be 2 months, God Willing. I get off topic depending on the many things there are to speak about, and to get involved with. The idea of writing can take shape in so many ways, so it is a challenge to me to stay on topic, and then really be passionate or at the least knowledgable about what it is I am going to tackel. I enjoyed reading your piece, it is really informative about learning to be percise with time, as time is always going. Thank-You

  • Chimica Robinson

    This is a great posting. I love the structure and advice from a really talented writer. There has been talk of keeping to writing goals in many magazine this month it seems. I'm actually blended a lot of the ideas. For one I have this great pretty weekly planner that has tons of space.. Each day I write what I did today and what I hope to do tomorrow. It helps a ton because it really says what I'm doing and how I'm doing. Along with that I wrote out my 5 year calendar and a business plan for this year. It really helps to have your goals and hopes written out instead of just inside your dreams.