It is not uncommon for people to end up in a job they do not want. Whether it is due to financial pressure, lack of career guidance, or simply falling into a role by chance, many individuals find themselves in positions that do not align with their aspirations or goals. When you end up in a role or position that you do not want, you might end up feeling lost and directionless. You might not know what to do to get out of the rut that you are in, and you end up feeling confused on what steps to take in order to take your life back.
In order to achieve and maintain a fulfilling career, we must first understand the direction that we are headed towards. Establishing a clear path towards what we wish to achieve will allow us to easily identify what position we wish to aim for and start working towards it with the skills that we have.
Setting goals for your career is an essential step towards achieving a fulfilling career. It is important to identify what we want to achieve, both in the short and long term. This involves taking an honest look at our strengths, weaknesses, interests, and values. Once we have a clear understanding of these factors, we can then start to map out our career path.
To get the most out of your career and promote your career growth, let us begin by taking a look at a four-step approach that you can take to reach your ultimate goal.
The Four-Step Approach
1. Self Evaluation
Before you begin your career journey, you must first asses yourself and your professional life. Ask yourself these questions:
– How am I doing in my job?
– Do I like my job?
– What are my strengths?
– What are my weaknesses?
These questions are part of your self-evaluation process and are an important part of the journey working toward your professional development goals. Ask yourself these questions and internalize it, and once you have your answers, keep them in your heart or write it down. Self-evaluation is the first step towards achieving a fulfilling career. This involves taking an honest look at yourself, your personality, and your skills. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can help you identify what you are good at and what areas you need to work on to achieve your career goals.
Personality assessments such as the Big Five Personality Traits can be helpful in understanding how you perceive the world, make decisions, and interact with others. These insights can help you identify roles or typical career paths that align with your personality as well as the areas for personal development.
Skills assessments are also essential in identifying areas of expertise and where improvements can be made. By understanding what workplace skills are necessary for a particular job or industry, you can take action steps to develop those skills such as analysis skills or project management skills through education or training.
Aside from personality assessments and skill assessments, you may also evaluate yourself through your friends, families and co-workers. Asking for constructive feedback from the people close to you will give you an external perspective of your career advancement opportunities and current skills level. Once you have completed your self-evaluation, you may then ask yourself what you want out of your career and begin exploring your professional development goals.
2. Setting Goals
It is easy for us to get lost in our fantasies of our dream career; who we could be or what kind of job we can have. Although it is good to dream big and have a vision of what you want, simply visualizing yourself being there is not enough. In order to take the next step forward, you must begin goal setting for yourself, finding short-term goals to reach for and slowly taking the next steps forward for your career advancement.
There are a few rules that you should set for yourself before you begin setting your career goals. As it is easy to begin writing all the things that you want to aim for without thinking of how you might get there. So here are a few pointers to help you set effective goals:
A. Your goals MUST be specific and reasonable.
Set yourself a smart goal that is as clear and specific as possible. A measurable goal such as “I want to work as (X) in (X) company by (X) month and (X) year” will allow you to tune your brain into working towards the concrete goal and come up with an action plan for the path towards what you are trying to achieve. Putting a time frame for your goal will also help you to better track your goal progress and give you that little additional push to met your goals within the time that you have stipulated.
B. Your goal MUST be realistic and achievable
This should go without saying, but as I have mentioned before it can be easy for us to get lost in our own mind thinking about our dream job and set an ambitious goal that aim too far into the sky. Keep yourself grounded and make sure that what you are trying to achieve is realistic and reachable. On the other hand, make sure that it is a reasonable goal and not something that is too easy or requires no effort, which defeats the purpose of setting it as a goal in the first place.
C. Write down your goals
In the busyness of our daily lives, we often tend to forget about the small details while trying to achieve work-life balance. That is why we must try to write down our goals somewhere that we can see them easily. Having our professional development goals displayed at a highly visible place such as on your desk at home or on your phone’s home screen will serve as a constant reminder of what you are building towards.
So you have your long-term career goals written down and you are ready to start your plan of action. You have developed your soft skills and cultivated a growth mindset in order to move forward to the next phase of your career development. Now the question is: How?
Begin by asking yourself the question: “How can I become X by (your time specified)?”. List down all the hoops and hurdles that you must go through in order to answer the question that you have posed for yourself. Develop a plan on how you can go through these challenges that are laid out in front of you. You can also breakdown larger goals into several short-term goals to help you track your progress in accomplishing them.
Once you have your plan of action, set a deadline for each item. Deadlines can be a source of motivation for yourself, giving you an emotional drive to complete the plan that you have made. They provide you with a sense of commitment, and are crucial in helping you overcome natural habits of procrastination.
When all is set and done, the last step is simple: Set your plan into motion. Take action and begin your path to achieving your career goals. For every step closer we get to our goal, we develop ourselves even further. Once you have set your plan into motion, you will find yourself improving every day, inching closer towards your career objective. Eventually, you will reach a point where you are close to completing your list of career goals, but you are not quite there yet. And that is okay.
As it stands, you are now even closer to your penultimate professional goal than you were before you set out using this four-step approach. By continuing our efforts and allowing ourselves to stretch towards what we aim for, we will get closer and closer to the long-term goals that we set out to accomplish.
It helps to visualize yourself as the person you will be once you reach that goal. You will subconsciously train yourself to develop the mindset and behavior that will steer yourself towards making that visualization come true.
You Are The Deciding Factor
Our individual goals are different. However, the effort that we put in to reach these goals are similar. By putting our minds to it, maximizing our effort and pushing ourselves forward, we are able to reach what we previously thought was a rut in our lives that we could not escape from. The biggest factor to our success is us, and the effort that we put in. In that sense, the four-step approach is a good way to keep us on track of getting the most out of our career.
In conclusion, achieving our professional goals requires effort, planning, and action. By following the four-step approach outlined above, we can set ourselves up for success and ensure that we are making progress towards our desired outcomes. It is important to stay grounded and realistic in our expectations while also pushing ourselves to put in the necessary work. With dedication and perseverance, we can achieve great things in our careers and reach new levels of personal fulfillment. Remember, you are the deciding factor in your own success.