Who Is Jay Yoo?

Getting Started & Setting Goals / CACtackk.01

I had drinks last week with my old friend Jay Yoo, the founder & CEO of Koyono. Jay is one of my local start-up heroes & one of the first Cleveland-based entrepreneurs I got to know when I launched Hatch Partners back in 2008.

My admiration for Jay is not fueled by the size of his fortune (it's small), or the number of magazine covers he's graced (you can count them on less than one hand). Instead, I admire his pirate-like posture and unyielding passion for the next new thing he is doing — from designing tech-forward t-shirts, to creating the 1st iPod-enabled black coat for the MTV awards (in 2007), to patenting the Slimmy wallet I carry, to recently, taking up the ukulele. Jay likes to say, "It's never too late and never too early to start..." - and it's that willingness on his part to constantly be a beginner that I find so refreshing. For most of us, we're so concerned about looking good or minimizing our risk of failure, that we don't even get started.

Over the years, I've come to believe one of the best tools for getting started is the clarity provided by well-crafted goals.

Amazingly, knowing where you want to go actually helps you get there (...a fact I've been reminded of recently as our team at Tackk has set its sights on becoming the internet's next verb). So, here are some tips for crafting clear goals.

1. If It's Not Written Down It Doesn't Exist. Sounds simple, but you'd be amazed at how many people say they have a goal but haven't actually captured it. Write it down & keep it simple.

2. State Your Goal in Positive Language. Turns out our brains fixate on the actual words we use, so by using positive language (i.e. gain health vs lose weight) we increase our chance of success.

3. Use the Present Tense. Again, just like the use of positive language, the use of the present tense describing the goal as already accomplished increases its power (i.e. I am meditating 20 minutes every morning vs I will meditate more).

4. Make It Measurable By Anyone. It's not a well-crafted goal if your progress toward achieving it can't be easily (and objectively) measured by anyone. After all, how can your know if you've accomplished a goal that can't be measured.

5. Test Your Goals for Negative Side Effects. Big, hairy audacious goals are great; but sometimes we create goals (especially personal ones) that can have unintended negative side effects. Once crafted, test your goal by asking if accomplishing it might create any unanticipated outcomes.

And remember, doing anything new is hard & messy. So don't worry about the naysayers. Just get started.

One last thing...when Jay told me he had taken up the ukulele, it reminded me of an amazing (and totally appropriate) ukulele performance by Amanda Palmer that I saw at this past year's TED Conference. In my opinion, Palmer's Ukulele Anthem perfectly captures the spirit of reckless abandon and fearlessness required to tackle anything really meaningful in life.