About a month and a half ago, Paul and I worked through a Goal Pyramid exercise using a great milestone template developed by Matthew Michalewicz of Life In Half A Second.

I highly recommend this exercise for almost any personal or professional venture, for two big reasons:

1. After we finished it, we stood back to admire it, and Paul said, “Well that doesn’t look too bad!” We laughed, because it really did, in a simple and elegant way, appear to provide a road map to success. The Goal Pyramid is a tightly focused way to identify your high level priorities.

2. The discussions we had during the process (which was remarkably quick) were illuminating and generated some new areas of interest. They also revealed some hidden assumptions that needed to be spelled out — things he thought were obvious that I hadn’t thought of, and vice versa. The rows of empty boxes opened up questions, new ideas, and creative conversations.

One important thing you need to do with a Goal Pyramid is check back in with it every now and then. We took a few minutes to do that yesterday. We looked at one of the bottom-row boxes and said,

Hm. That one doesn’t feel like it makes as much sense now as it did then.

The pyramid provided an overall context in which to think about this particular milestone. Did it fit in with everything else? Did it seem to lead sensibly to the next row up? No, it didn’t. So we adjusted it and made it fit and make sense again, with a new iteration.

It was a quick and effective way to course-correct, before we wasted time working on a milestone that was going to underachieve. Stop, look, analyze, and pivot.


Goal Pyramid by Life In Half A Second



Erika Williamson, founder of Protagonist Lab. Database developer and IT consultant. Future philanthropist.