There is this common misconception that just a couple of years of work will get you to where you need to go, and you will be living your dream life soon after. There is also the false idea that your career will naturally take off by a certain point of time or age. While this may be true for a lucky few – for the rest, it is just a misleading notion that will leave you disappointed and discouraged once you start working. Most people do not land their dream jobs, they do not reach the hierarchical position they initially dreamed of, and they do not advance or get promoted despite years of work. Most people settle, but you do not have to.
Many people are unchancy and end up settling, because they have viewed their work life through the lens of misconceptions and in turn, falsely expected a naturally booming career without putting in the tedious work. While that is an unrealistic path, realistically, with a lot of hard work, planning, and determination, it is not impossible to build a successful career for oneself.
One way to actually get ahead in your career, is to set ambitious but realistic career goals for yourself, ensuring that you do not end up stuck in the same position for years to come. This article will guide you through the process of setting career goals for yourself, allowing you to grow into a successful individual that worked hard and did not settle! Keep reading for some juicy tips on how to set goals:
The first step is figuring out what you want to do and who you want to become. Close your eyes and take a little peek into the future: What career path intrigues you? Can you see yourself pursuing this line of work for 30-40 years? What does your ideal professional self, look and act like? How would you balance your work and personal life if you had a choice? Are you an employer or an employee? Once you have a detailed idea of what you want your work life to look and feel like, it becomes easier to set specific goals that will help you get to that point within a set timeline.
- Head in the Clouds
Visualise, then set the goal. While it can be fun to imagine becoming the next President of the United States, are you being realistic with yourself? Asses your current position and decide what you think is realistically achievable within a set timeframe. For example, you have just finished your degree and your end goal is to become the CEO of a company. Do you have the right qualifications? What are your next 10 to 20 short-term and long-term goals, that will help you attain this end goal? How long will you give yourself to achieve this goal? Remember to be specific when you plan out your goal. Whatever you decide, it must push you and give you drive, but it also must be measurable, attainable, and something you genuinely want.
On that note, if you set goals for yourself that you are not too passionate or driven about, you will not take the action that you need to, to get things done. You may settle, completely give up, or realise that you never really wanted this. However, if you set goals that are important to you and you are convinced that you will only be satisfied if you reach this point in your career, then you will remain committed to accomplishing everything in between, in order to push you further towards your end goal. Commitment is key to success. Needless to say, if you change your mind in between that is completely fine, nothing is set in stone. You just need to realign your goals using the same methods, and then implement a little career pivot.
- Baby Steps
Okay, so now that you have set specific end goals and you have built up this committed energy that will push you through till the end, it is time to take smaller steps. As mentioned earlier, you not only need to have an end goal(s), but you also need short-term and long-term goals to plug the gaps. This is probably the most crucial step as it will determine how you move forward and climb the ladder. Having bite sized action steps leading to your ultimate goal, will be less overwhelming overall, will clarify what you need to do every step of the way and keep you on track, and will allow you to bask in the smaller victories along the way. These specific steps are usually fine-tuned within a timeframe as well but are a little more flexible and alterable.
- Conditions to Success
Success takes hard work, time, and effort. The complexity of all these goals and the pressure that comes with it, can take a toll sometimes, both mentally and physically. It is important to respect your body and not overdo it; take breaks, eat well, exercise. Having a balance between work and personal life is crucial and prevents burn out. Instead of quitting, learn to rest. It is also beneficial to have a good support system, that will remind you of why you started and keep you committed, when the going gets tough. Having friends and family cheer you on and recognise your smaller wins, will create the perfect environment to thrive and succeed. If this is not an option for some of you, be your own cheerleader and celebrate your wins every step of the way!
Ready to set some career goals?