The Startup Family: Relationship Vision & Goal Planning Workshop

Preparations before the Workshop

This day is all about your partner and you. Therefore, if you have kids, please make arrangements so someone can help you with the kids! In order not to rush through the exercises and enjoy the process with your partner, we recommend setting aside around 5–6 hours for the entire workshop. We planned ours from the morning, having an hour for a relaxed and nurturing lunch, and finishing off with a few hours after. Obviously, you can stretch it out over several days, but it is important that you have enough time to discuss the various exercises and dive deeper into them — so none of you are left unheard or feel that something was not been talked through.

  • Post-its in different colors
  • Approx. 10–15 A3 papers
  • Markers
  • A notebook for each of you
  • A nice playlist
  • Your favorite snacks
  • Tea/coffee
  • Wholesome lunch/dinner

The Actual Workshop

Exercise One: Visualizing your Future

Aim: To start off the workshop, the main purpose of this one exercise is to start the creative flow, and get your thoughts towards the future. Honestly, it can feel a bit scary to actually allow oneself to dream like this — but — if we are too scared to dream and speak our dreams out loud, then, how on earth can they ever become a reality?

  • Where are you when you are 60 years old?
  • Where do you live? What are you surrounded by? Do you have any pictures on the wall, if yes, what do they show? Any diplomas? Any books? What is the view outside your window?
  • What do you wear? How does your hair look like? Who are you surrounded by?
  • How is the flow of your day? What do you eat? Where do you go? Who do you spend your day with? How does the day end? Do you have any daily rituals or practices?
  • What gives you joy? What do you look forward to when waking up?
  • What do you have a lot of in your life? Love? Family? Happiness? Health? Adventure? Money? Are there some themes or big words that are sticking out?
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Tools: Notebook + Pen
  • Format: Individual writing exercise to be shared in the end

Exercise 2: Dreams we have for what we would like to do?

Aim: In this exercise, you need to divide your family into 4 spheres/ circles. There is you, you + your partner, you+ your children, and all of you together. Write in each circle on sticky notes what dreams you within each area for things that you would like to achieve. It can be very specific (example you want to go on a specific trip with your children, or, it can be to have more “me-time” or feeling valued within your relationship). Then read it out to each other.

  • Time: 30 min.
  • Tools: A3 paper, sticky notes, and pen
  • Format: Individual writing exercise to be shared in the end
“Dreams we have for things we would like to do” — Suggestion for how it could look like. Write it out on an A3 paper and fill it out with sticky notes.

Exercise 3: Value-mapping

Aim: This one is more of a summary seeing the pattern of the things that you have described in the previous two exercises — which common underlying values appear when looking at the results from the exercises? Map them out on sticky notes, share and elaborate on each of them, and see if you can make a small set of values that you agree on and commit to as a family. Rather than having many, try only to have a few, crystal clear values that you easily can remember — and hang them up somewhere where you the both of you are reminded of them daily 😉 We ended up having 6 core values.

  • Time: 25–30 min.
  • Tools: A3 paper, sticky notes, and pen
  • Format: Common exercise you do together where you try to identify and summarize your common values.

Exercise 4: Our Non-Negotiables

Aim: Saying all the things we want in life is an “easy” exercise. But what’s just as important is to be clear on what we don’t want or don’t accept. Which ground-rules do you stick to in your family where you can depend on each other on doing your best to meet them? Put them down on sticky notes, and try to be as specific as you can and not too easy on these ones! Then hang them up somewhere where you are daily reminded of them.

  • Time: 20–30 min.
  • Tools: A3 paper, sticky notes, and pen
  • Format: Common exercise you do together where you try to identify and summarize your non-negotiables.

Exercise 5: Horizon 2050 (action-plan)

Aim: This is when things start getting even more interesting and real! Now that you have the long-term goals in mind, the task (which is where the rubber hits the road) is to break them down into smaller targets and goals that you would like to achieve within 1–5–15–30 years. We divided ours into these time intervals but obviously, this should be amended according to your own realities. It can be a great help to think of these as themes rather than years-e.g. our first kid starts in school: 5 years, our last kid moves (hopefully 😅) out from home: 18 years, we retire: 30 years, etc. It is recommended to start writing the goals at the end (30 years from now), inspired by the results from the first exercise, and think through what needs to happen in the previous years to reach that goal. Another approach, which can be used afterward, is to write some specific goals you already know you have in the next coming years. As before, take the time to do this one individually, then share together afterward. What common goals do you have? Ask each other what needs to be true for each of you to reach your goals, and how you as a partner may assist in reaching that goal? This exercise was actually really difficult for us because this is where you have to be specific and at the same time have the courage to actually dream and set aspirational goals.

  • Time: 45–60 min.
  • Tools: A3 paper, sticky notes, and pen
  • Format: Individual writing exercise to be shared in the end and discussed so you are aligned. Add both milestones and what you need to focus on using sticky notes so the two of you share the same action plan — just ensure that you use different colored sticky notes so you easily can distinguish between each others’ goals.
Action Plan 2050 — Maybe you’ll need to stick two A3 papers together (or more) to be able to put everything on this one.

Exercise 6: Action!

Aim: Now that you have invested time and effort visualizing, aligning, and documenting your family’s visions and plans for the future, it is time to act on it and make it come true!

  • Time: 45–60 min.
  • Tools: Sticky notes and pen
  • Format: Individual writing exercise to be shared in the end and discussed together.

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Roxane Maar

Roxane Maar

Mother. Storylover. Writer & Tech Startup Founder