Setting goals for yourself is important, especially when it comes to your career. To achieve the greatest success, you first have to ensure that your goals are realistic, achievable, and most importantly what you want. Read on for real-life success stories and some easy-to-follow steps that could help you get on the fast track to finding greater happiness in your career by assessing your own career goals.
When we leave high school or even college, it’s not uncommon that we have no idea what we really want for our lives. Even with a degree in hand, we may not be fully clear on our own individual goals and end up choosing a job or career based on what our parents, friends, or career advisors say.
Then, years down the line, we find ourselves in a mediocre or unfulfilling situation, with a growing sense of disappointment and dissatisfaction about our work and our place in it.
Is it too late to change direction and do something completely new or different?
Of course not! There are so many stories of people changing careers later in life, and you could be one too!
Life is changing rapidly and dramatically. New careers, ideas, and opportunities are popping up all the time. With advances in technology, medicine, and even law enforcement new roles and positions present themselves regularly.
Things we would never have thought possible just a few years ago have become household favorites virtually overnight.
Who would have thought it was possible for the biggest taxi company in the world to own no taxis? Who would have thought that the biggest online retailer doesn’t have a single product of their own to sell? Who would have thought a whole new industry could be born simply from fast-food delivery?
What Are Your Goals?
To set attainable career goals, start by reflecting on the following:
- In 5 years, I want to be…
- I want to be earning…
- What skills will I need to do this?
- Will I need to change my career to achieve this?
By asking yourself the simple questions above, you'll begin to get a clearer idea of what you want from your career and what you'll need to do to achieve it.
What Do You Want?
If you want to change direction, at any age, the most important thing is to discover what you really want out of life.
- What interests you?
- What fascinates you?
- What do you feel passionate about?
Make a list of each of these things and see where they overlap or have commonality. Buried in there somewhere are the basic elements of a complete change of direction for you; if you really want it!
When you really dig into your lists, it’s possible to create a basic plan of careers, jobs, and opportunities to explore that can lead you to a life of fulfillment and happiness.
If you pursue that path as long as it keeps you happy and fulfilled, you’ll never look back. However, there might well come a day when life changes and/or you change, and it might be time to change direction again. It happens all the time in this rapidly developing world. And there is nothing to feel bad about.
Assess Your Career Goals By Asking Yourself These Questions
Once you’ve gone through your lists and found some careers that will fulfill your passions and interests, you’ll want to consider other aspects of them, too.
Ask yourself these questions:
What will others think? (And do I care)
Worrying about what others think about what we do stops many people from making changes that could change their lives for the better, forever.
Consider the saying, “Whatever other people think of me is none of my business.”
Bill had been an accounts manager for almost 7 years but he needed a change. He liked his company and got along well with his colleagues, but he wanted a more challenging role.
In reflection, Bill decided that he wanted to continue using his management skills from previous employment experiences and build upon them, but it was unlikely that this was going to happen at his current job. So he decided to make a career change.
He now works as a sales manager for a much larger corporation. His new target-based role gives him the challenge he was looking for. And he is much more fulfilled with the work he is doing.
It is possible to successfully change careers to capitalize on your skillsets, but more importantly your desires for your life.
Start by looking at your current role and think about what you'd most like to change for you. This will give you a great idea of what you don't want to do in your next job so you can find an opportunity more suited to your desires.
We have no way to influence what others think of us other than by setting a good example. Let them think whatever they want while you go out and get things done!
Never let those who think it can’t be done interrupt those who are already out there doing it.
What am I willing to give up to create something really incredible for myself?
Many times, you’ll find that preparing for a new career infringes on your current way of life. If this is the case, weigh the costs of time, money, and effort against your current life to help determine which aspect is more important to you.
Would you sell your car to fund a program where you could learn new skills and explore new ideas?
Would you give up your evenings or your social life to reinvest that time in educating yourself in a completely different career or opportunity?
Are you willing to work weekends and evenings to study new concepts, ideas, or strategies?
Jan had no higher education and worked full-time in a clothing store. She had been working at the store since high school, but always wanted a career in fashion. She loved clothes but just didn't want to sell them.
Jan knew that she had a very small chance of landing a job in the fashion industry with her current skills and experience, so she decided to retrain and increase her education. She was able to keep her current job part-time, which supported her training.
When deciding on a new career, be realistic. For example, if you want to be a teacher, yet you have no teaching credentials, it's going to be tough to make that transition without further training. Think about what you want, but also determine what you must do to make it achievable.
Will I be good enough to make it work?
The very fact that you’re reading this says that you’re searching for change, reassurance about that change, and something is pulling you forward towards change.
You already considered that there is more to your life than what you are currently experiencing, and you want to know what “it” is and get fully engaged with it, right?
What Are Your Strengths And Skills?
Sarah was a receptionist at a shipping firm, but she wanted to be the executive assistant to the company CEO one day. Sarah knew that she had the key strengths required to be an EA, but she wasn't sure how to land her dream role.
As a first step, she began helping the other EAs with some minor administrative tasks, but her extra work was going unnoticed.
It gave her insights into the work that an EA does. As a next step, Sarah decided to take action to make sure her work was no longer ignored and told her manager about her goal. She also asked if there were any in-house training programs she could take to improve her current skills.
As a result of her inquiry, her manager put Sarah into a training program, and in just three months she became the executive assistant to a director in the company. It’s not the exact goal that she wanted, but she has continually taken steps to achieve her main goal.
The lesson here…
Determine your key strengths and make a list. Use them where you can, but also strengthen them, and maybe even your weaknesses by surrounding yourself with people, circumstances, or both that are close to what you ultimately want.
Once you know your skills, you'll know what you're capable of achieving. Then take action to make the most of your strengths!
Will it make me enough money?
You’ll want to consider how you’ll monetize your interest and what pursuing it will require for you.
Do you want to get a new job in this field? Start your own business?
The potential of making money may be there, but you might need to retrain, learn some new skills, get over your fears of what others will think, or surround yourself with positive influences to reach out and get it.
And this is another lesson we can learn from all of the stories above.
These stories exemplify how you can successfully reach your career goals, regardless of your current situation. The key is to decide what you really want and then take appropriate action to make it happen.
Mindset is vitally important. Let your motivation carry you forward. As you take action, a positive mindset will help you overcome any obstacles that may arise.
Your life is entirely under your control and what you do with it is your decision alone. Get busy, make some decisions, take action, and keep moving forward with your ideas and intentions.
The answers may not come overnight, but as long as you pursue what interests you, fascinate you, and make you happy, you will find the answers you are looking for
Beware of any criticism of your dreams and ideas from anyone you wouldn’t go to for sound advice. After all, opinions are ten a penny. Everyone has them, but opinions are not going to help or support you in the pursuit of your goals.
Be relentless in your pursuit of happiness and fulfillment. Go at it like your whole life depends on it.
Because the reality is, it does.
Ready for the Next Chapter In Your Growth Journey?
If you are interested in working through your personal and professional goals by starting on the self-awareness chapter of your growth journey, grab a copy of the Who Are You workbook.
Need someone to help you set your goals, talk through your thoughts and reflections, all while offering accountability? Book a discovery call today to see if we would be a good fit to work together.