Have you set career goals for yourself? How likely are you to achieve them? Yoram Solomon,
Solomon suggests that our goals need to be specific and realistic. They also need to focus on the tactics we’ll complete in order to achieve our career goals rather than the goal itself:
If you keep focusing on the (career) goals instead of on the plans to achieve them, you will not be pursuing the right actions. You will instead just see those goals getting harder and harder to reach. You will try different things for a while, abandon them, try new things, and not meet your goals.
One of those tactics is flexing our risk muscle in order to ensure the goals we are striving for are ones that will challenge us as professionals. During one of my Relevant Conversation podcasts, I introduce the book, The Confidence Gap.
From them we learn this startling revelation: Success, it turns out, correlates just as closely with confidence as it does with competence.
To be confident in our abilities can speak just as loudly as our proven experience simply because if we KNOW we can do something and yet don’t currently know how we will do whatever it takes to learn and become competent.
The process of flexing your risk muscle as you strive to achieve your career goals means reaching beyond where you currently are. Do you want to do the same thing day in day out for the rest of your life? Is that a good use of your talents? Of course not. Therefore, you will need to create a series of career goals that will enable you to flex your brain, your abilities, your experience, and your comfort level so that you can grow into a role (or series of roles) that are challenging and rewarding.
Dream about your new career
Start with a vision of what that new career looks like. Picture it completely.
- Envision what the office looks like.
- What’s the company culture?
- What are you doing each day?
- Who’re you interacting with?
- What type of people are you helping?
- Think about the equipment you’re using.
- Is there travel involved?
Really nail down a picture of what that future you look like.
Identify what you need
Next, identify the new skills you will require in order to successfully achieve these career goals. Is there a new college degree that you will need to obtain or can you take a few classes, seminars or certification program to get there? Who do you know that is currently in that role? Meet with them. Ask them to tell about their journey and offer you advice. Network with people that can help you as you move through the tactics required to help you achieve your career goals.
Create a tactic list
Create a detailed tactic list of what you will need to do in order to be successful in achieving your career goals. Set timelines with each line item. Attach names of people who can help mentor you along the way. Create mini-goals that each help moves you in the direction of your ultimate career. Celebrate each completed task and mini-goal along the way.
Be aware of how you talk about it
Start talking about it as if it is already a reality. If you act as if it will happen, then it will. Use positive language to implant in your brain the vision of your career goals as a reality. “When I am a tech manager, I will…”, “When I become a journalist for the Washington Post I will…”, or “When I successfully complete my MBA I will…”
Ditch the fear
Finally, throw fear out the window. Be confident in your abilities. Anything is possible if you want it and if you create a plan to help make it happen. Fear has no place in your life. It serves no purpose and only holds you back from achieving your greatest reality.
Remember: You can do this! Go for it.
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JJ DiGeronimo — the president of Tech Savvy Women — is a speaker, author, and thought leader for women in tech and girls and STEM. Through her work, JJ empowers professional women and consults with senior executives on strategies to retain and attract women in technology to increase thought and leadership diversity within organizations.
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