By Rachelle Faught, Office and Media Administrator for Career Development Partners
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis
How many of you are goal-oriented people but struggle with ‘what to do next’?
I am a goal-oriented person, but I never truly realized it until about a year ago. While I have only been in the professional world a short time compared to some, I have quickly learned how important it is to not only set goals, but to follow through with them. It is so easy to say, “Yes, I have goals,” but if I don’t strive to follow through and accomplish them, what is the point?
In high school I had at least one goal: graduate and then go to college. After that the goal was survive college, find a job, and pay off my student loans. Oh, and I might like to get married. Once those goals were met and I found myself in the professional world, I was suddenly at a loss. “I’m an adult,” I thought, “now what?”
It didn’t take long before I noticed I was missing something: motivation. I’ve constantly been motivated by an end goal and suddenly there was not a clear “end goal.” Yes, at the end of the week all of the tasks on my to-do list were marked off, but what was my overall life goal?
These thoughts grew stronger and stronger as my CEO, Mr. Travis Jones, encouraged us each week to share something new that we have learned. Within the four months that I have been with Career Development Partners, leadership and continuous improvement have been spoken almost daily. These things began to intertwine and I realized that when speakers like Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady and Wayne MacNamara talked about leadership, improvement, and being a team player, it all ties back into goals. There is always the spoken, and sometimes unspoken, challenge of ‘what do you strive for? What are your goals?’
Improvement, by definition means “an act of improving the state of being improved.” Or “a person or thing that represents an advance on another in excellence or achievement.”
I recently listened to an audio CD by Wayne MacNamara on ‘A Foundation for Improvement’ and I was reminded that improvement doesn’t happen overnight. Improvement requires dedication, commitment and focus. Follow that up with the realization that all of those things are needed when accomplishing a goal.
So how do you do that? How do you work towards finding and accomplishing a goal?
First let’s talk about the finding. The first question I ask myself is, ‘what is it that I want to accomplish?’ It could be as simple as reorganizing my home office or finish painting the livingroom. Another goal could be to create, develop, and implement a social media strategy for my company. Ask yourself what your passions are. What is it that inspires you? What is it that you want to see done? Perhaps it is finding a job, finishing home projects, family development, personal development, etc. It doesn’t really matter what your goal is, you first need to identify it.
Secondly, how do you work on your goal? Honestly, the easy part is over once you’ve identified your goal. Now you have to commit and follow through with it. But how?
As a typical young professional, I like Pinterest. I love being able to browse all the different ideas that someone else has come up with and posted in one convenient place. You can find almost anything there. Recently a blog that I had repined became very relevant: “Just 10 Minutes a Day…”
The blogger was Sarah Titus and she suggested that when trying to organize a cluttered room, don’t try to do it all at once. When you walk in and stare at this overwhelming job it is so easy to give up before you even get started. Instead, set a timer. Commit to ten minutes of doing nothing but working on that room. When the timer goes off you are no longer obligated to stay focused on that project. You can get up and walk away until the next day…You have completed your allotted time.
Wayne MacNamara presented the same idea, but he suggested a little longer. Commit to an hour a day for improvement or work towards your goal. Think about it, if you wake up each morning by 7am and stay up until 11pm, you are awake for 16 hours. Let’s say that you work an eight hour day, well that leaves you with eight hours for everything else. Now, take one of those hours (you can even break it up into chunks and spread it throughout the day) and commit an hour towards your goal.
MacNamara said that if you will commit one hour every day for five years, you will become an expert on that subject. That is quite a goal. Don’t think you can do it? Thomas Jefferson said,
“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal: nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”
Having an attitude that is determined to produce a Return on Investment (ROI) will change your life. You must be willing to invest your time and your resources in order to see results. If you are not seeing results, then review your process and your motivation.
In conclusion, whether you are a person in search of a goal or a person trying to complete a goal, know that it is doable. Everyone will have their own process of finding and completing their goal. So what is yours? What are you striving to improve in your life and how do you go about doing it? Football coach Nick Saban said:
“When you invest your time, you make a goal and a decision of something that you want to accomplish. Whether it’s make good grades in school, be a good athlete, be a good person, go down and do some community service and help somebody who’s in need, whatever it is you choose to do, you’re investing your time in that.”