Achieving Career Success through Goal Setting

Success is goals, everything else is commentary – Brian Tracy

I remember the first time I read/heard about Brian Tracy’s quote it struck how simple yet true the sentence is. It has stayed with me ever since. Another one that made a similar impression and comes close to the above was shared with me by one the best HR leaders I have worked for – Hennie Dippenaar. He said ‘a good excuse for failure is still a failure’. When it comes to setting career goals remembering either of them will help you remain focused and reduce your desire to explain things away with any of the usual commentaries like ‘I didn’t have the opportunity (money/resources)’ or I didn’t know anyone. If one of your reasons for not doing anything so far is, I don’t know to start then if you are reading this
welcome to a learning journey. This is why you clicked the link on The Workbooth Magazine.

Why set career goals?

Well, so you can know when you have met those milestones. Without them, you could look back at life so far and be disappointed at the low level of achievements and success that you have had. Without goals, the future will look despondent and really bleak. With Career goals, you are able to define a destination and identify key moments and actions that will help achieve those goals. Several successful people have their career success in setting clear goals. An American actor recalls how she used to sleep all night in her car when she was homeless, and another colleague gave her some money to rent a hotel to sleep in and told her to write goals. She has since achieved most of the goals she wrote down during that time. An NBA player said he set a goal to be 1% better today than he was yesterday at this game. If he is able to increase his performance by 1% every day, he will be 100% better in 100 days than he was when he started.
If you read through all the examples above, you will immediately see that they are specific in terms of what they want to achieve and by when. The goals can also be measured. These are traits you must.

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Answering the obvious questions.. when? how?

Every new day on earth is an opportunity to take stock. But I also find that significant time periods are usually great to set new goals. Here are a few of my favourite. The start of a new year is a great time period. Please differentiate a goal from a resolution. New year resolution barely lasts 24 hours but goals last till you achieve them. The simple reason is you are able to be much clearer with goal setting and you don’t achieve that sort of focus with resolutions. But hey if setting resolutions are your thing then go for it. Just make sure you follow up to achieve the resolutions. Another great time to set goals is on your birthday. As you attain that new age milestone it is an opportunity to look back and look forward to the next one and set specific items you want to achieve before the next one comes around. Setting a career goal starts with an idea of where you imagine yourself to be in a period of time. Some examples include being the CEO of a Fortune 500 company in 10 years. Another one could be to complete all your professional certifications before the age of 35. Some other people set goals around the types of company they want to work for. Whatever your goal it is better achieved once you have defined a destination/target You should then follow this up with a measure. How will you know when you have achieved your goal? After the first master’s degree? To be a Senior Manager?

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Another key component is to make your goal achievable and realistic. The dose of realism will reflect on your resources or access to information. Without making the goal realistic, you could
end up feeling frustrated for not achieving them. Make sure you set a timeline for yourself. Without a time period, it is a dream and not a goal.

Finally, get help in reviewing the final output. A close friend, a mentor, your line manager these are all people that can help with the review. They can also help form your accountability partner.
This will help make sure that you complete the goal.
In conclusion, while you may achieve success by ‘happening’ through life. Setting goals will help you achieve your long and short-term career objectives more consistently. As you set the goal,
remember to enjoy the journey towards achieving it. When you achieve it, celebrate, relax for a moment and set new ones.

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