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Seeking a Little Love this Valentine’s Day?

4 Steps to Bringing Love Into Your Goals

While we at Riverbend value Love all year long as one of our Core Values, thanks to Hallmark and St. Valentine, February reigns as “the month of love.”

So, with this Thursday’s cornucopia of flowers, chocolates, and cards fast approaching, I thought there was no better time than the present to share one of my favorite goal achievement strategies.

I developed my Love List™ concept back in my Ironman®Triathlon days.  I knew that I needed something “extra” for this type of “larger” goal.  For those of you unfamiliar with Ironman®, it is a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and a 26.2-mile run — quite a step up from my casual Saturday morning 5Ks!  It was time to enlist some serious support on my quest for hearing the magic words… “Doreen Linneman, you are an Ironman!” as I cross the finish line.

As it proved successful time and time again with each Ironman, my Love List™ practice inserted itself into my personal and professional goal setting routine.

A Love List™ is a blend of a support group, accountability partner(s), and a panel of experts who are all focused on helping you achieve your goal.

It is a simple 4-step process.  However, don’t get fooled with its simplicity; there are details that must not be passed over for it to truly work.

After you have selected your goal, it is time to start the Love List™ process:

  1. Identify
  2. Pick
  3. Invite
  4. Manage

Step 1:   Identify the Roles

First up is identifying the roles that must be fulfilled to successfully achieve your goal.   Note, I did NOT say identify the people  — I specifically said, identify the ROLES. This distinction is one of the most important and vital pieces of creating a successful Love List™.

Most people get caught up in thinking about “the who” versus “the what.”  Big mistake. Your friends, buddies, or loved ones may or may not be the best people to help you achieve your goal – that is yet to be determined.  What comes first is the authentic roles that you need to get there – your goal’s finish line.

For Ironman, a few of my roles were:  the “right” coach (experienced Ironman coach who could design a realistic training schedule to fit in with my professional demands, yet also get me to where I needed to be physically to meet my ideal time), a nutritionist, a “person” to make sure I am not skipping a training session just because it is cold and raining on Saturday morning, a “cheering” section to help keep it fun and exciting, and a “person” with whom I could take long, boooooorrrrrrring training rides.   See – no names are associated here, just roles.

My definitions of these roles were more robust than I provided above, and I recommend that – dig in to identify exactly what you need and spell it out in detail, but for the purpose of this blog, you get the point.

Step 2:   Pick the RIGHT People

Now that you know what you need, it is time to associate ideal people to each role (and yes, the same person could play more than one role, if they have the expertise and the bandwidth).  A role may also call for more than one person; for example, I had a few people to take those 100-mile training rides with – thank goodness!

Take your time here.

Really think about people you know (or need to know) who have the exact expertise to fulfill the role that you need, as well as if you believe they have the time and the desire to be named to your Love List™.

Expertise, time, and desire– the hat trick that must be fulfilled by each person in order for them to be invited to your Love List™.

It never hurts to have a contingency name or two for each role as well.  It is more efficient and effective to batch the task of “people planning” all at once. If someone turns you down in Step 3, you might resort to a less-than-ideal back-up person to just get it done versus returning to Step 2 properly.

Step 3:   Invite Those RIGHT People

Again, take your time here.   In other words, slow down to go fast as my good friend Tom Williamson always says.

If your goal is seriously important to you, it is your responsibility to make sure your entire Love List™ crew knows that too.  Treat your goal with the respect and love it deserves.

When I say invite, I do not mean shoot off a quick email and wait for the response.  I mean formally and intently invite each person to your Love List™. Ask for time on their calendar – a face-to-face is ideal, or at least via Zoom, Skype, Facetime or another video capability.

Tell them your goal, why it is important to you, how you plan on achieving it, and highlight the importance of your Love List™ to your success.   Explain the process that has gotten you to this very point in time.   Explain the role-at-hand very specifically, be clear on its importance, where it fits in, and most importantly why you have selected them.

Let’s say this one more time – communicate to your person precisely WHY you are asking them – what is it about their expertise?  Their experiences? that make them the ideal candidate.


Clearly communicate your expectations of them if they say “yes”, of yourself in managing the relationship, and ask them what their expectations of you are should they say yes.

This is sounding all very formal, time consuming, and serious, isn’t it?

Is your goal important to you?

Well then, this step is too.

If you do not prepare your Love List™ adequately from the get-go, well then you know what they say …you are preparing to fail.

Each and every person on your list must know that their contribution to and role on your Love List™ is vital to your success – and they should not take that lightly.  If they say yes, they need to be all-in to however small or large their role is.

Have I made myself clear enough yet?   Take the time to formally ask and thoroughly prepare each person at the beginning.  You can thank me later.

Step 4:   Manage Those RIGHT People

You have identified the right roles, have picked the right people, and have invited the right people properly!    Finally, let’s start moving the chains towards the goal line!

Guess whose responsibility it is to manage your Love List™?

Yup, you are so smart and spot on ….it is YOUR responsibility, not theirs, to make sure your “list” is fulfilling their roles in the way that you need them fulfilled.

Periodically pause and assess if are you getting what you need out of each role.

If so, affirm them; let them know what they are doing is textbook and thank them.

If not, provide direction or coaching on what is missing or what is needed or what great would look like.   If they still cannot provide what you need, it is time to courageously ask them, using your emotional intelligence skills, to step down and thank them for all the time they have given you to this date.  Please remember, your goal is important.  It is worth it.   Tap that person you marked as contingency back in step 3 and keep the momentum going.

After you have achieved your goal – be sure to channel old-school (and still relevant) manners to thank them.   A video call, a hand-written note (yes, that is still appreciated and valued), a picture of you achieving/ holding/ attending your goal, a gift card, a shared meal, or a toast over bubbly all are solid ideas to get you started.

If you “love on” your Love List™ — the more likely they will be jumping at the chance to be asked back for your next epic goal!

There you have it!  4 steps to bringing love into your goal setting routine:  Identify, Pick, Invite, Manage.

Isn’t love grand?

If you have a role that you need filled on a Love List™, get in touch with us at Info@TheRiverbendGroup.comand we’ll see if we can help!

To keep in touch with us at The Riverbend Group join us on IG and FB @TheRiverbendGroup

To keep in touch with Doreen, join her at or IG/ Twitter @DoreenLinneman and @PrepareToRoar

Author Doreen Linneman

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