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KerryOn: Hug a Koala

While planning a trip to Australia, I had a simple, specific, and special goal – “hug a koala”. I responded by reciting this goal whenever we were asked about our plans between scheduled work meetings and a conference. Of course, there were other activities and goals for the trip, since we were traveling halfway across the globe: run a marathon, snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef, and see a kangaroo. But it was “hug a koala” that made my heart happy.

Cue Munumba, my furry friend at the Rainforestation Nature Park outside of Cairns, Australia. Being 2 years old, he was new to learning how to be held … and I was certainly new to holding a koala. But we both eagerly embraced this new experience. After our picture was taken, we continued our embrace as I spent time talking with his caregiver about his life and how key Munumba’s presence was to educating visitors. He stared up at me with his big brown eyes and the hug nurtured us both. The experience became more than just checking off a goal from a list.

As we work toward our goals in life, there can be a tendency to make them complex and confusing, and therefore unattainable. In the attempt to achieve everything, we can be left scattering our efforts in multiple directions. And often the goals aren’t inspiring enough to get us excited to experience the journey toward the achievement. If we keep goals simple, specific, and special, we are better able to appreciate the experience along the way.

During each trip, each experience, and each phase of life, I plan new goals. I strive to have them simple, specific, and special. I’m excited for future goals because it means I will encounter opportunities I haven’t yet imagined. May they be adventurous and as nurturing as my koala hug.

KerryOn Questions

- What is your current experiences with goal setting?

- How can you make your goal simple, specific, and special to achieve?

- What is your future “hug a koala” goal?

The Kerry behind KerryOn

My name is Kerry K. Fierke, Ed.D. (pron. Fear-Key) I have a unique combination of skills and experience – decades of fast-paced corporate experience in Fortune 100 companies and large health care organizations, combined with the academic rigor of a highly ranked research university. My focus is supporting others to create their own path to leadership development, lifelong learning, and a unique leadership legacy. Take a moment to focus on leadership, then KerryOn!

To see all KerryOn's and other leadership stuff, visit

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Erica Buck
Erica Buck
Dec 11, 2023

My goal is to get down to the International Owl Center in Huston MN and see some live owls. They are in captivity, but I find owls fascinating and it would be so cool to see some! I have seen 2 in the wild so far.

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