Tag Archives: career goals

The secret to useful goals

evolution of man and goals

Goals should help you BECOME, not help you GET.

One the most important lessons I have learned is:

In absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.

Useful goals

One famous study showed that people with written goals coming out of college earned several times more than people without written goals. But, look at yourself.  If you still have the same written or unwritten goals you had 10 years ago, you are the exception.

Goals change. The real secret is to have specific written goals and expect them to change.

You will do better if you are striving to BECOME something much greater than you are now.  The world reshapes itself around you when you refuse to take the path of least resistance.  If you set 20 year goals that inspire you today, you will enjoy life more today and next year.  Your goals will change because you have grown to the point that you can see more important goals.  You will develop a vision of your future that is clearer and brighter than you have today. That is a good reason to change your goals.

A part of the goals secret is to have goals in the areas of your life that matter most.  Money is important. Job and career goals are essential for progress.  You also need goals about your family growth, social maturity, physical fitness, emotional strength and spiritual development.

For example, your goal could be to run 2 miles in 15 minutes in 2031.  If you really think about that goal, you need to strengthen your legs and knees, not pound them into arthritis.  That goal could inspire you to include bicycling, swimming or rowing in your fitness regime so that your knees will last throughout your life. That goal may change to being able to swim a mile in 2031 because of changes in your health.

A social goal could be to have a network of 1000 people who are leaders in their own field in 2031.  To get there you will have to have intermediate goals of recognizing, getting to know, helping, tracking and staying in contact with those people.  A goal like that would also be a great help to a career goal to become CEO of a company. Later your social goal may change to having a network of 2000 people who will help you fund medical research, and it may include all the same people as your original goal.

Remember, goals change.  The 20 year goals I just mentioned would be great goals for a computer technician, salesperson or CEO.  If you open your mind and see into the future, you will be able to pick out goals for the year 2031 that will help you now, and still matter in 2031.  If your goals are important to you, you will find you achieve most of them in much less than the 20 year, 5 year or 1 year horizon you set.

Something To Do Today

In your journal first make a list of the most important overall aspects of life.  I suggest: money, career, social, physical fitness, emotional and spiritual.  Then list a goal you can work towards BEING in 20 years, 5 years and 1 year.  Each goal should fit in with all the others.  Goals are about becoming better as the world shifts around you.

————————–

Next:     Useful career plans

Later:              What is “the next big thing”?

The most common bad career goal

The only thing worse than not reaching your goal, is reaching it.

The most common bad career goal

As a recruiter I talk to some people who are miserable that they reached their career goals.  Of course I also talk to those who have reached their goals and are loving it, so they set new ones.  What’s the difference?  Setting the right goals. What is the most common career goal?  I do/do not want to be a manager.

It is a terrible thing to climb the ladder of success, and find out it is leaning against the wrong wall.

I want to be a manager

This is the biggest misery making goal I see.  As a programmer, accountant, salesperson, or engineer you get to regularly do something concrete.  You can see what you did.  It is obvious.  Managers often work a whole week resolving problems and dealing with emotional issues.  At the end of the week, they often cannot point to a single thing they really accomplished.  When someone quits, it is their fault and their responsibility to fix the problem.  Then someone else quits.  They also feel isolated from their coworkers. Managers have to discipline, give raises, and fire people.  It gets lonely at the top.

It can also be the perfect job.  Some people thrive as managers.  If you want to be a manager find out if you will like it.  Lead some projects.  Lead a team.  Reflect on what it will really be like if you no longer “get your hands dirty”.  Ever.

I want out of management

It’s funny that this too is a common bad career goal.  Be honest, do you really want to get back to the daily production grind, or is your current position the problem.  Sometimes you have to change what you are doing, change your boss, or change your company.  If you loved management in the past and did well, but you are no longer allowed to succeed, getting back to a production job isn’t the solution.  Figure out what else must change, and change that.

Being a manager can be great if it fits your personality and you are in the right place.  Before you get out of management, make sure you should be out.  You can volunteer for a project leader job where you go back to work in the trenches for a while.  Get your hands dirty in a temporary assignment to see if that is what you really should be doing.

Be careful that you set goals you will be happy with. See if you can try out that promotion or production job before you take it full time.

Something To Do Today

Figure out when you can spend some time with your goals every day.  Just sitting with a pen and paper for 15 minutes each day can change your life if you are thinking about where you want to go.  Figure out how to try out your goals.

————————-

Have a great New Year.