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OPA! A simple model for successful change and goal achievement

OPA! - a Greek word that signifies the celebration of life itself, sometimes accompanied by smashing plates and throwing napkins in the air. Symbolic reminders

  • not to worry if things get broken (everything can be fixed), and

  • we are all as free as birds!

Whatever happens, change is possible now, and in the future,

and emotional freedom is always a choice!

It’s also a useful acronym for the basic elements required for any change or goal that you want to achieve...for you, or in business:

  • Outcome

  • Preparation & Planning

  • Action!


Every change needs a clear and emotionally compelling outcome that fits your needs, the environment you're in, and makes the effort of getting there worthwhile!

You also need to set criteria that will let you know you've got there.

As defining an outcome or goal is quite an art in itself, check out my blog on the 3 steps for creating a well defined, achievable goal.

Preparation and Planning

A process of exploring, addressing and planning the things you need to, so you can be sure to achieve your outcome:

  • Present situation

  • Pain & Pleasure motivation

  • Perspective shift

  • Prepare for the unexpected

  • Planning and monitoring

Present situation

What can you find out about your present situation that will help you prepare?

  • What’s not right? Not working as you'd like it to?

  • What needs to change so you can get your outcome as quickly and easily as possible?

  • How is it possible you don’t have this outcome already?

  • What knowledge, skills or experience do you have now that you can use? What will you need that you don’t have now, and how could you get that?

Pain & Pleasure motivation

We are all motivated by moving ‘toward pleasure’ or ‘away from pain’.

Listen to how you (or others) describe things that they are motivated by, and you may notice a preference.

  • Emphasis on the positive benefits of the result suggests ‘toward’ motivation.

  • Emphasis on the pains that can be avoided suggests ‘away from’ motivation.

To keep you motivated express your outcome using the language that works for you (or others).

If in doubt, use both! “This is great, it’ll enable me to do X and I’ll avoid Y!”

Project goals may be completely at odds with what an individual wants, leading to resistance. This is a key challenge for all projects, and helping individuals find a way to “buy-in” to the project goal and be motivated to help achieve it, is at the heart of all stakeholder engagement activities. Work with them to find something that the project will help them gain or avoid.

Perspective shift

Find ways to shift your perspective, expand your thinking and discover more options for achieving your goal. Ask yourself questions, talk to people who’ve done this before or who have a different perspective to you, or work with a coach.

Prepare for the unexpected

Also known as risk assessment and planning mitigating actions.

  • What challenges might you encounter along the way? As humans, we're not wired to like change so what do you need to do to overcome our natural human tendencies? Check out my toolkit for change for ideas on what you might expect and how to make the changes you need to make simple, manageable and as comfortable as possible.

  • What might stop you, or what might go wrong? These could be challenges caused by how you or others might be thinking, or they could be external things that may or may not happen as you need them to.

  • What actions do you need to include in your plan to monitor and/or mitigate these risks?

Planning and monitoring

Given all your analysis, what's your plan?

  • What actions need to be taken, when and by whom?

  • How will you get your outcome/make the change, and how will you reinforce it?

  • How will you maintain focus, monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments along the way?

  • What resources and support do you need to be able to complete your plan and how will you get them?

  • Break everything down into bite-sized manageable steps to avoid feeling overwhelmed. What are your first steps and when will you do them?


Having a plan but not taking action is a bit like buying a flat-packed wardrobe, leaving it in the corner of the room and wondering why you don’t have anywhere to hang your clothes!

You need to take consistent (not necessarily perfect) action to get your goals, so a regular review is necessary so that you can get feedback on how you’re doing, celebrate your successes and figure out what tweaks you might want to make to your action plan.

And that's all there is to it!

Coaching creates ideal conditions to support change. Providing time and space to think, and the right environment to expand, support, and challenge your thinking. Giving you confidence that you’re prepared and have a well thought through, manageable plan. It also provides ongoing support to ensure that action is taken and helps you think through any unexpected issues that may crop up along the way.

If you would like to explore how coaching can help you prepare for and achieve your personal and business goals, please book a call and we can have a chat about it.

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