Tech addicted, gamer, crypto trader, father of a girl.
Having a clear set of goals is important for developing your career. Without a clear goal and vision, it can be hard to fulfill your career potential.
Your goals are the steps that contribute to your bigger picture career vision. A career vision is the outcome that you are aiming for. This can be focused on what you are hoping to achieve, or the impact you want to have.
This vision should be something that you have clarity on, that you are passionate about, and that you’re willing to consistently work towards.
When it comes to defining and setting your goals, it’s important to choose goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. An example of this is: “I will become a senior manager within 4 years and I will track my progress through my performance reviews”.
Be Passionate About Your Goals
It’s also important to make sure you are setting the right goals for yourself – good goals are those that you’re genuinely passionate about.
Studies show that 92% of people who set goals do not end up achieving them. Why is this? It’s because the goals people set are often what they believe they should do rather than what they truly care about.
This is why knowing your “why” is important to staying motivated. Having a clear idea of your “why” can help you make your goal even clearer and ensure it’s aligned with your long-term vision.
In order to assess if your goal is the right one for you, ask yourself, “why do I want to achieve this goal?”. Instead of only stating what you want to achieve, consider “why” you want to achieve it.
For example, instead of stating that your goal is to “become a senior manager”, flesh this out to include your motivation. This might be that you want to become a senior manager so that you can help guide your team to becoming more innovative.
Have a Long Term Vision
Setting goals requires you to know what you are aiming for. Because of this, it’s important to know what your long-term vision is, and how to define it.
Your vision is the outcome you’re working towards, and it’s rooted in what you’re most passionate about. For example, if you’re passionate about animal rights, your vision may be to create a charity that eradicates animal abuse.
Your goals should be aligned with your vision. Making sure that your goals and vision are aligned will help you stay motivated to achieve your goals as you are driven by a strong “why”.
If you don’t yet know what your vision is, you can start by asking yourself what you values and passions are. What do you care most deeply about? What lights you up most when you think about it?
Find The Umbrella
Once you have a clear idea of these, you can then “find the umbrella”. This means finding the common links between your passions and values. Understanding this will guide you in getting a clearer picture of your vision.
Many people set their career vision around their job title rather than a vision-driven outcome, which can sometimes be a mistake.
This leaves you vulnerable to external factors, like company restructure or your position being made redundant, significantly derailing your path towards your vision.
So instead, focus on the details of the destination – for example, “I want to be in a position of influence, leading a department and have a direct report line to C-suite to ensure I have influence over decisions and people”.
Align With Your Values
Another important step is to look closely at what you would consider your core values to be. Write down 5 of your top values. Examples could be connection, accomplishment, influence, wealth, and growth.
If you struggle to decide what your core values are, ask yourself a few questions. What subject could I read 200 books on without getting bored? What would I spend my time doing if I had complete financial freedom?
Now, go through each of the values and think about how your career vision and goals can deliver on those values. If there is a misalignment between your values, goals, and vision, you can always adjust accordingly.
Create Your Vision Statement
Now that you have considered your goals, values, and “why”, it’s time to create a clear and simple outline of your vision and goals.
First, you need to put pen to paper. It is easy for goals to remain vague if we never write them down. Following these 3 steps will help you structure a clear career vision statement.
Start with the destination you want to reach. For example, “I want to be a senior director in an innovation-driven company, within the next 3 years, leading a high performing team to deliver ongoing sales growth”.
Then, describe how you are going to get there. For example, “I will achieve this by starting to mentor the team, setting stretch revenue targets, and identifying ways to communicate my leadership ambition to management”.
Finally, create a short-term milestone. For example, “To know that I’m on the right track, I would like to obtain a 4.5/5 rating in my review at the end of this year.”
Remember, the clearer your vision statement is, the easier it is to focus on. Consider using the reduction method: write all your thoughts down, then reduce the text by half, and repeat this until there is no more than 2-3 sentences.
Understanding your own values, vision, and goals is a continuous process. So, what now?
Practice and repeat
Share your vision statements with family, friends, colleagues, and mentors. Get feedback from them on whether they feel it’s clear and focused. Use this process to continue to refine your vision statement.
Once you feel confident in your vision statement, it’s time to share it with people who can support you in reaching that career goal. This will help you gain the support you need.
Remember, people don’t know how to help you if they don’t know what your goal is. Once you have a clear vision and goals, share them with people.
- Defining your career goals is essential for reaching your full potential.
- Ensuring that your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound will make them easier to track and achieve.
- Be sure to always know your “why” as it makes it will keep you motivated to achieve your goals.
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