The Arrow

This activity aims to help participants define, decide and achieve their goals. By supporting
participants to envision where they want to be in a number of years on a holistic level, and defining the steps that will take them there.


This activity is based on a further elaboration by JO Education’s staff of a resource curated
by the partnership of the Erasmus+ Project FAVILLE. One of the aims of the project FAVILLE was that of developing a digital application containing several resources that could be used both face-to-face and online by groups of people and learners, under the direction of a learning facilitator.


Goal-setting and shared/individual vision definition.

Structure of the process:

Participants work in pairs. Each participant has a (digital) whiteboard/sheet with the arrow model drawn largely on it. Either prepare these in advance or have participants quickly draw the model themselves. Introduce the session. Explain that the aim is to help participants create a vision of the future and to set very tangible actions for how to move toward that vision. In pairs, participants will interview each other. First person A will interview person B, covering all the steps, then they will switch.

Ask all participants to close their eyes and visualise their life in 1 year (or another time
horizon, see facilitator notes below.) Ask them to explore this future vision.

They will be guided with questions like:

> Who are you with? Who is around you?
> What have you achieved that you are proud of?
> What are you working on?
> How do you spend your day?
> How do you spend your free time? – etc.

Tailor these questions to the group you are working with and their particular context.
After the visualization, all participants draw their vision on the tip (point 1) of the arrow.
By drawing, participants make their vision tangible without focusing too much on the
details. After drawing, person A begins interviewing person B.

In the next phase, the interviewer asks their partner to imagine the key factors that supported the vision to be realised. Remind participants to speak as if they are looking back, describing what helped them realise their vision. They should move back in time from the vision back toward the present day. It could be things like, “I got really good help from my mentor,” “I started to work out regularly,” “I hired an accountant” or
“I faced my fear of failure.” Anything that had a positive effect on achieving the vision. During this step, the interviewer writes down each key factor on a post-it note or similar placing it behind the Point 1 (point 2) in the whiteboard of their partner.

Next, the interviewer asks their partner to identify three hindering factors that almost made them fail. These factors are the things that almost made them give up and not realise their vision. This could be, “I overslept and showed up late a lot,” “At first I didn’t dare to quit my job to start something new” or “I almost didn’t tell the person I liked that I had a crush on him.” Again, the interviewer writes these down on post-its and puts
them behind point 2 on the arrow model.ù

The interviewer continues asking about the three hindering factors, but shifts focus to what the person did to overcome them. For instance, “I had a friend call and wake me up every morning,” “I trained in a new skill and it led to my new dream job.” The interviewer writes these solutions on post-its and attaches them to the problems on
the model. Finally, the interviewer asks their partner to consider steps they have already taken toward their vision. They might say, “I signed up for this course,” or “I’ve started training in this new skill. “The bottom line of the arrow represents today and the interviewer writes and adds these post-its there.

After the first interview is complete, the partners switch and repeat the process.
Each participant’s arrow is now full of post-its representing tasks in an action plan to achieve the vision. Whether the time horizon is 3 months or 3 years, the arrow represents a realistic path to get there.

Your Approach:

In an activity of such complexity time management is of extreme importance. Avoid any waste of time and ensure that anyone gets the same amount of time and not more. It might happen that the allocated time will not be enough and the process will not be completed! It would surely be a shame.


Encourage participants to keep their arrow and even to post it somewhere where they will see it and draw inspiration from it. End the session with a check-out where each participant shares the next action they will take toward their vision.


Written by: Facilitators of Virtual Learning (FAVILLE)’s partnership, JO Education, Italy