Three Ways to Set Meaningful Career Goals
What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. –Zig Ziglar
A goal, by definition, is the object of a person’s ambition or effort. Goals are what keep us moving forward in life, and reaching them gives us great satisfaction. But when it comes to work, 80% of people are not passionate about what they do. A goal could be something as simple as getting to work on time or as big as becoming the CEO of your company. But many times, when it comes to setting meaningful career goals, we don’t know where to focus our effort. Or, even when we set goals, we don’t know how to go about accomplishing them, or we quickly give up. The following three tips can help.
1. Identify inconsistencies. In today’s busy world, it’s easy to get caught up in daily life and forget about what we really want. Or perhaps we never clearly identified it in the first place. It’s important to identify what things in life are the most important to you and if you are currently giving them the order of importance that you would like. This could be things such as career, money, personal growth, family, and recreation.
Action Tip: Create your own Life Balance Wheel. This is essentially a pie graph with eight parts: Fun/recreation, Friends/family, Fitness/health, Career, Money (your relationship to it), Personal/spiritual growth, and then two other things that you give time to in life. Then, inside the pie pieces, write the numbers 1–7, with 1 starting at the center and 7 being the outside edge of the pie piece. Then determine how “good” that area of your life is right now for you on a scale of 1–7, 1 being the lowest (not very good). Think about why each section has that ranking. What’s wrong in that area? Finally, decide what each section would be like if it was at a 7. With the inconsistencies, choose two areas where there are large gaps between the way things are now versus the way you want them to be. How can you move them up the scale?
2. Define your values. Values are those core standards that are essential to you. This could include ethics and your moral principles. At work, your values could mean something you love to do that gives you satisfaction. To identify your values, think about a personal and career peak experience in your life. What made them so great? Identify two values from each story.
Action Tip: Once you have identified two values from each story, write them down. Take some time to determine if there are any other values you would like to include in the list. See if your current career aligns with those values.
3. Attach goals to values. In order to establish meaningful career goals, they need to relate to your values. This will provide you with the inspiration needed to continue towards those goals. Take a look at your list of values again, and pick the two values that are most important to you. Ask yourself how you can honor those values more than you currently do at work.
Action Tip: Think of two action steps you can take this week to start honoring those values at work and write them down. Keep it somewhere visible to remind you to work towards your goals.