What do you want from life?
This question has presented its self through time and does not cease to perplex many of us. While others have very defined goals and clear plans on how they will achieve what they want from life.
For the purpose of this blog, we will focus on moving past being perplexed and setting some goals with plans.
The first step is to recognize what you want; we all have wants, needs, desires. That list could be daunting in itself. The focus here is what you want from life. Most life goals are focused on professional, health, family, spiritual, social, cultural and educational achievements. Take some time to discern what you want to achieve in your lifetime. Write your thoughts down in a brainstorming method. Nothing is wrong, ridiculous, or perfect. Just write your thoughts and let them develop. Stop and read them out loud and then start again. When you have given yourself some time to dig deep, then look for recurring ideas and group them into categories. Try to get your list into big picture ideas.
After you have a big picture of lifetime goals the next step is to set your long term plan. Depending on your current situation, this could be 25 year plan or less. Your long term plan is a list of smaller goals that lead to your lifetime goals. On a large piece of paper, break your long term goals into five year plans; a lot can be accomplished in 5 years. Then break those plans into one to two year plans and finally 6 month and one month plans. You may want to include a note why each goal is important to reinforce in your mind’s eye what your focus is. On a daily basis you will need review your goals, reinforce your plan of action, and create a “to do” list for that day based on your goals for that month.
Your next step is to write your goals down on a device that is accessible and portable. I like to use 3x5 index cards without lines. Maybe you can use your iphone or Blackberry. The idea here is to have a way to review your goals and plans daily. On a 3x5 index card, write down your 25 and 5 year goals on one side and on the other write down your 1 and 2 year goals. I have mine laminated and carry it with me. Get another 3x5 card and write down your 6 and 1 month plans. This will need to get updated as you progress through your plans. On a daily basis, create your “to do” list. Plan to update your 25 and 5 year goals on an annual basis. Set a date and reexamine those goals knowing that change is ok. Maybe you are on track, maybe you need to accomplish goals sooner or it is going to take longer than planed.
Keep your goals positive, provide details to your goals, set timelines on the goals and be sure that they are realistic.
As an example, let’s say you want to own a business as a long term goal. The logical steps are:
- Be educated in the industry that your business will be in.
- Set completion date.
- Sign up.
- Attend your education program.
- Obtain work experience in that industry.
- Network while in your education phase.
- If available, do volunteer work that is related.
- Create a resume.
- Get the job.
- Move into leadership roles.
- Volunteer to take on extra projects.
- Be a source of information and helpful to others. Be the SME, subject matter expert.
- Always have a mentor; someone who can teach you and be your SME.
- Find out what it takes to move into management in your company or find a company where there are growth opportunities.
- Work with a recruiter who is connected in your industry; to find you the best talent and to guide you in your career. Talk with them about the industry and what trends they see.
- If you haven’t already, it’s time to learn, understand and apply business concepts like finance, marketing, operations, and human resources.
- Understand how the business runs, who the customers are, what is missing, what do the customers need and want, and how to make it or do it better.
- Develop new and better processes.
- Maintain and grow your leadership position.
- Find places and people to network with and participate.
- Talk to the customers.
- Research what others are doing in the industry.
- Educate yourself on starting a business;
- Select and read books.
- Find and contact an organization like the Small Business Administration, SBA.
- Define other resources and utilize the best sources of information.
- Create a business plan.
- Build infrastructure.
- Marketing materials
- Select software
- Personnel materials
- Start your business.
- Obtain licensure and needed permits
- Select location
- Obtain insurance
- Hire employees
This plan needs date goals and refinement. Much of it can be accomplished while working on other goals within the plan; working on parallel paths. Some of the steps listed earlier or later in the plan can and should be applied throughout your career.
So when you hit one of those crossroads of life that make you pause and ask, “What do I want from life?” you know how to create defined goals and clear plans. Think of the lifetime accomplishments you want to achieve, create a plan, and work your plan.
Let me know how I can assist you in reaching your career goals.