So, you have decided how YOU define career success. Now what?
Well, now we set goals. Goals are important because they help you stay motivated and remind you that there is an end in site.
What is your goal? You have to decide what your ultimate career goals is – and this doesn’t have to be the first/next position you take. I am talking about your ultimate, realistic, based on your knowledge, skills and abilities, if I could be anything I would be… goal.
Realistic: High School Principal
Unrealistic: Space cowboy.
OK. That might be a little exaggerated but I needed to make a point. Let me explain why- Everyday, I work with college students. For the past 5 years I have worked with students who intend on working in the health professions. You would not believe how many students have sat down in front of me, discussed his/her goal of becoming a doctor and then told me they don’t like and don’t do well in science courses. This is a problem folks. At a very basic level, in this case, some sort of achievement in science is necessary otherwise diagnosis and healing are going to be very difficult once that white coat goes on. There are also students who do well in science but hate it, that is a different discussion to be had. My point is this – know what you like, what you are good at and what you can do with those likes and skills.
3 Tips for Setting and Keeping Goals
1. Choose a SPECIFIC goal and decide how you will reach it- SPECIFICALLY
Attaining the ultimate goal means setting smaller easier to accomplish goals to get there. Are you sick of reading the word goal, yet? I am sick of typing the word goal. But goals beget goals, you know. Because once you have this ultimate career goal you will likely set another goal. It might not be a career goal (since you have reached the ULTIMATE one already) but you will be motivated to keep on making big strides in your life in all areas.
Decide on specific steps you are going to take to reach your ultimate goal. There might be 30 mini goals that get you to that HUMONGOUS goal but deciding on specific things that are going to get you to that pinnacle is key.
2. Set a Deadline
Open ended just doesn’t work. Dates and deadlines keep you motivated. Think about going to college: When you first start it is exciting. After the novelty wears off, you start to get tired of it. But you stay motivated because you know at the end of 4-years I will have this degree and I will get a job. So you keep reminder yourself, only 3 semesters left, 2 semesters, etc. This is a generalized but relevant example.
3. Write everything down
Everything, everything must be written down. Write your goals and deadlines down. Don’t just keep them in your head. It is easier to push them aside that way.
If you have a constant reminder of your goal, the SPECIFIC steps you are taking to reach it and a deadline you will always be able to stay/get back on track. Being able to cross things off a list has an unbelievable affect. Back to the college example: You pick a major. You get a sheet of paper with the courses you need to take to complete the major. Every semester you get to cross the courses off as you complete them. The list keeps getting smaller until you reach graduation.
Is your ultimate goal to be featured on Good Morning America? Or maybe it is to be the number one blog on Top Mommy Blogs? How about being the go-to reviewer for a cloth diaper company? If you don’t take small steps, it will never happen. You can’t just start a blog, post a few times, and expect to get noticed. You might be a superb writer. You might have an amazing story. But rarely, does this amount to being featured and revered without some good old fashioned hard work (and patience) first.
- Posting Consistently. If you are sporadic you won’t get noticed and people might not take you seriously.
- Reading and commenting on other blogs. You are not the center of the universe. Sorry if this is shocking news. There are A LOT of blogs and very likely many that fit into your niche/category/topic/expertise. You might have your own voice but your theme probably isn’t an original (if it is- good for you!). Get in there and get yourself noticed by reading and making meaningful comments on other blogs.
- Join blogging communities and network. There are so many blogging communities out there (I will list a few at the bottom of this post). They help connect you with other bloggers sometimes based on your theme/niche sometimes based on the fact that you are a blogger. But, just like with anything in life don’t spread yourself to thin. Don’t just join to join. Pick the couple or few that you think you will really be able to get involved in and jump in head first. I touched a little on networking in this post.
- Use social media. But do so strategically. You can’t build a Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook following all at once. Pick a couple and work on those. There is a ton of information out there on this.
- Be Genuine. Someone posted about the importance of being authentic in your blogging in my favorite blogging community, TheSITSGirls the other day. Click here to read more.
So, how do these 5 tips correlate with our goals?
1. Decide SPECIFICALLY:
- how often you will post
- how often you will read and comment on other blogs
- which communities you will join and participate in
- which social media platforms you will focus on building
2. Set deadlines
- Set dates for when you will join your desired groups/communities. It doesn’t all have to be done in one day and it shouldn’t
- how long will you will be a part of a community before you decide if you are benefiting from it (and vice-versa) or not. If you join a certain blogging site and you are not frequently participating; or you frequently participate but feel like it isn’t worth the time and effort, move your efforts elsewhere
- pick a specific deadline for your social media efforts. How long will you try to build your Facebook following before you might decide to move on to Pinterest instead? Example: “By January 1 2014 I will have 400 followers on FB”
3. Write it all down
- keep a planner with post topics and dates (this can be electronic or paper)
- write down which communities you want to join and keep to the deadlines you determine
- write down your posting ideas! (they will come to you often if you are truly motivated and will frequently be forgotten if not jotted down)
- keep a list (written/typed) of your favorite blogs and visit them often
- write down your ULTIMATE GOAL
Here is a list of some blogging communities:
There are SO many more. But this gives you an idea of what I was referring to in the post.
(I did not receive any compensation for endorsing these blogs. I am a member of some of them but am not officially affiliated in anyway.)
Hope you have enjoyed Part II of Get to Work!: Career (and Blogging) Counseling Series
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