Goal setting has proven to be an effective way to monitor growth and performance in your career. But often for many people the daily pressure and stress we feel can come from the exact goals we set for ourselves. Asking yourself the right questions to set your career goal is really important.
Do you find yourself working towards goals that feel impossible to achieve?
Or maybe you hit your goals quickly and you feel uninspired and bored?
Are you attaching your worthiness to your goals themselves and crumbling under the pressure?
Something to remember is that we are all different and unique. This is extremely important when it comes to both short-term and long-term career goals. How you get there will differ from person to person.
Some of us love a challenge, while others find challenges overwhelming and exhausting. In a society that tends to reward hard work and hustle, it can feel difficult to pave your own way.
The concept of doing as much as you can as quickly as you can often leads to burnout, fatigue, and a loss of creativity.
A contributing factor to burnout and a loss of creativity is not choosing goals that matter to you. Many people are choosing goals that they think they should be achieving instead of genuine goals they desire. It’s important that whatever you choose to do, you choose it for you.
“What if the new word for our generation was sabbatical and not burnout” – Read the full blog here.
Your career can help create your unique sense of identity. It is more than just your job afterall! It is an extension of who you are. Most of us spend more time at work than we do at home so ensuring you are in a line of work that suits you, your energy, and your lifestyle is the starting point!
Your first career goal is actually ensuring you are in the right position and industry for you. Are you in a place where you actually want to grow?
Knowing what you want, when you want it, and more importantly, why you want it, will help you to design tailored goals to suit you and your needs. Keep reading to find out how to set your career goals no matter where you are and what industry you are in. These 5 powerful questions can help you gain the clarity you need to take action on both your career and sabbatical dreams, because believe it or not – they are deeply linked!
5 Questions To Set Your Career Goal
1. What excites you?
This question is the catalyst for taking a step toward any goal or aspiration. Having an emotional connection and solid ‘why’ for a goal, both personal and professional, will make the journey a lot more enjoyable. Plus, the goal will take form in a way that is fulfilling to you.
You know that excited butterfly feeling in your stomach when you’re looking forward to something or having a good time? That’s what we’re trying to find. This feeling can be the fuel for your creative fire!
A goal that doesn’t spark joy, excitement, or peace within you will become a slog to achieve if it’s even achieved at all.
Consistently ask yourself: “Am I excited about this?”
If a goal you’re currently working towards feels stressful, overwhelming, or it just doesn’t feel exciting anymore, take a pause. Is it truly something you still want to create and achieve but it’s gone a little sideways? If so, what would it take to reframe the goal in a way that’s more exciting? If you’re really not that into that particular goal anymore, are you okay with scrapping it and working towards something different?
If this question is hard to answer, think about what’s been grabbing your attention lately:
- What does your search history look like?
- What podcasts have you listened to recently?
Can you incorporate anything you’re naturally drawn to into your set of goals?
2. What do you see other people doing that makes you feel jealous or inspired?
While comparison really can be the thief of joy, it can also be a source of inspiration. Did you know that many cultures believe that jealousy is just a low form of admiration? Who are you comparing yourself to? Can you use them as motivation instead?
We can either choose to feel jealous of someone or something, or we can use them/it as fuel to create something beautiful.
Notice what you feel drawn to in others.
- Is it their environment?
- Their community?
- Their energy?
- What part of their lifestyle attracts your attention?
For example, do you look at people traveling the world, wondering how you can do that too? Well, let’s make it one of your goals then! This is also where your sabbatical plans and dreams can come into play!
This is not a question of copying, but simply about having an inspirational platform to launch from.
How can you create your version of what you admire in others?
3. What do others praise you for?
What do other people come to you for? No matter your career path, how you interact with people plays a vital role in the creation of goals.
- Do people praise you for your organizational skills?
- Are you emphatic and easy to talk to?
- Are you brilliant with finances and organization?
Knowing your skills – the things that come easily to you – can help you to formulate a goal that’s personal to you. And you can actually stick to it too!
Whatever the goal, you can make it happen when you know how you work best.
A useful tip: Ask for feedback often! A lot of us have this idea that we need to do it all alone. Surround yourself with trustworthy loved ones, and don’t be afraid to ask their opinions when you get a little stuck. Sometimes all you need is an outsider’s perspective to see something that’s been right in front of you all along.
4. What are you naturally good at? What comes effortlessly to you?
This question is similar to the above.
- What do you find easy in life?
- What do you find ‘just flows’?
- Is there something you could just ‘do in your sleep’?
Do you thrive in your communication with others? Can you generate ideas quickly? Are you a whizz with technology? Or are you more traditional, putting pen to paper over endless tapping on your keyboard?
Your career is an extension of your creativity. Humans are effortlessly creative when we discover what truly lights us up. Let your way of doing things take the lead instead of letting other people tell you how.
Maybe rigorous planning and a clear set path work perfectly for you?
Or, maybe you prefer to let life take the lead a little and just focus on each step at a time, allowing the next move to naturally present itself?
All is perfect when you work in your own way, in your own time.
Goal setting does not need to be hard work, intimidating, or scary. It really can be easy, fun, and exciting. This includes the journey towards the goal itself. It’s not all about the end result. The journey can even be better than the destination and you learn a lot along the way, much like life itself!
Useful tip: Don’t be afraid of failing or changing your goal. Failing is simply an opportunity to try again or to pivot your idea! It’s often a blessing in disguise. If the path toward achieving your goal seems unclear, take note. Maybe it’s time to listen in and change how you’re going about it.
5. What do you want from a career?
This is an important one and often one we don’t dedicate real time to considering.
Your career gets to be as unique as you and your dreams. Maybe you’re dreaming of an early retirement, of taking a sabbatical in the middle of it, maybe you want your career to really support your family one way or another, or you wish to work towards a certain cause. Whatever it is let it be yours!
“I want a non-traditional career path, am I crazy?” – Read the full blog here.
Why do you do what you do? What is important to you? What are your values in life?
When you have clarity on what truly drives you, not what society tells you to want, it makes goal-setting easy.
You can often work backward from your ideal end result to formulate your path to success.
What is needed to get you from A to B and in what order? Each step builds on the next.
How are career goals connected to sabbatical planning?
What if taking a sabbatical was one of your career goals? This is the case for many people. Choosing companies or career pathways that allow for this can be a non-negotiable for many people, especially younger generations.
Reflecting back on the previous questions, how important is travel, adventure, learning a new skill, or taking extended work breaks? Think back on your values when it comes to your work. A sabbatical can include all of these things and can be a standalone goal if you’re already in your career or a part of your wider goal-setting plan if you’re looking for a new role or career path.
No matter the goal, whether it’s big or small, staying committed to your personal journey is important. Most of all, enjoy it! Life is lived in the present moment after all.
Stay in touch and subscribe to our newsletter if you want help making your career and travel goals a reality. With smart financial planning and clear intentions and goal setting, we can help you pave the way to fulfilling your ‘why’!
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