How to set career goals that you actually achieve

Is your career moving forward in the way that you want it to be? Do you feel like achieving your career goals is too hard? Is your career planning effective enough?

Watch this video as I share with you a secret that I’ve used in setting up career goals and an effective way to achieve those career goals through career planning.

With appraisal performance time on us at the moment, and maybe, it isn’t that time for you, maybe it’s an important birthday, maybe it’s you’ve been on holiday.

Often we come around to think about our career. Now, traditional leadership theories says, you gotta go, “Where am I now? Where do I wanna be in the future? What’s my big goal?”

Then work backwards, put it in the milestones, and then put actions in order to get to my first milestone. Does anybody else feel exhausted by that?

The problem is with traditional leadership theory is, very often, with these big big goals, we get overwhelmed. And sometimes the way that we manage means that those goals might not be attractive to hear.

You achieve a performance target, guess what? You can give it a bigger one!

Wow! Isn’t that lovely? That’s not often motivational.

So when it comes to career planning, my suggestion is you take the pressure off, and you first of all put a bit of a vision down. Where do you see yourself?  What are the roles you wanna play in your life? What is the identities that you maybe want to take on board? Is partnering that identity. Or actually, it’s only directorial seeing your manager. And listen to your head and your heart. What’s your gut telling you? Are you your heart and your gut? What are you sensing, but also what’s your head saying?

Now, it’s very easy to get ego, let your ego do the talking. “Oh, I wanna be seen as this, this, and this.” Now what do you really wanna be seen as?

Where do you think you’ll be happy both now and in the future? It’s not about going, “Well, when I get to certains I’ll be happy,” ’cause you perform best when you’re happy, so let’s make sure you’re happy as you go through the journey.

So, it’s about what’s the vision, what’s the overall direction of travel that you want to do. You might be sitting here and know, with absolute certainty that you wanna make part, and that’s great. If you don’t, think about it in smaller chunks.

The next thing is, what I’m not gonna tell you to do, is actually go and put in milestones.

What I am gonna tell you to do, is actually talk to people about their journey to get from a to b, what did they needed to do, what did they needed to demonstrate. But look at the next level up, what is it that they need to be doing? And then self-evaluate, where am I on that journey? And there’s gonna be somethings you’re already there, and there’s gonna be some gaps.

Now, the reason why I wanted you to look at the bigger picture, is there might be some things that you need to put in place now, not get any benefit from now but will need in the future.

One of those is building your network, and that’s inside and outside of your firm. You might not get any real proceed benefit for about three years, but it’s something that you need to be doing, all the time is building that network, ready for when you need it.

That’s one of the few things that you’re gonna be needing to do a lot earlier. Maybe another one is about generating that the needs, the specialism you might need to be starting some of that early.

So having said all of that, what you want to do is go, “Right, in  days, “what thing would, if I achieved it or I did, “or I move forward, or target I hit, “would I get the most movement on my career for?”

And we call that your one big focus.

Now what’s the thing if I achieved, if I aim to do more of, if I aim to do less of, a number of target, whatever floats your boat that by  days, will help move my career further forward.

So that could be grow my profile, it could be achieve this billing target, it could be win this number of clients, it could be get onto the tender of something, it could be as simple as feel happy.

It doesn’t need to be the big things.

And then, with that  day one big focus, then think about action planning.

What are all the things I need to do to get there? And do a big big brainstorm, and then grow through that brainstorm and rate them as high, medium and low.

So high, this is really gonna help, medium is may help, low is probably won’t help. And we wanna be prioritizing the high stuff. Then think about, right, we got  days, so what’s my month one goal?

What’s my month two career goals, and what’s my month three goals?

And then it’s about taking month one, just before we start and breaking into three sub goals. So what are these three sub goals that’ll help me hit my month one goal, or help me generally hit my one big focus, one of those?

Then at the beginning or the end of every week, you wanna plan, what is the one thing I’m gonna move forward on my career to help my career one big focus?

And then you wanna look, one thing, little thing everyday to help move my career forward.

And you might be thinking, “But how is the one thing gonna help?”

Well first of all, it’s achievable. It’s not about picking a big thing, it’s one thing you’re gonna do everyday, one thing you’re gonna achieve for the week.

It’s about those little things that really really matter, and actually prioritize them, put them in your calendar, put them in your diary, allocate them at time.

And what do those one things do?

Well they give you lots of little achievements, and when you have lots of little achievements, they give you hope.

It makes life easier. And every time you achieve one of those little achievements, you get a little dopamine hit.

That’s a bit of a pleasure. Every time you anticipate achieving, you get another dopamine hit, and when your review at the end of the day that you achieved it, you get another dopamine hit.

And all these little achievements start triggering in our brain pleasure, that we’re moving our career forward. That starts become that ingrained habit. Then of course every month, you don’t want to reset, what are the things I’m gonna achieve this month, the sub-goals, in order to achieve my one big focus.

Then when you get towards the end of that third month, you wanna reset all over again.

What is my one big focus? Are my big career goals still meaningful, my direction of travel? That is how you can use brain friendly goal setting in order to help you achieve your career plan, and not get overwhelmed.

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