Setting goals in your professional life

Setting goals in your professional life


Where do you see yourself in five years? This sounds like a classical question in a job interview, right? It is sad to realize that there are a lot of people out there that don’t have a clear answer to this question. Not an answer to the interviewer, but to themselves. Typically, the person that asked you this question wants to understand more about your career goals and how the position that you applied for would fit into your grand plan. A valid point at this moment would be: what are your professional goals?


Why is it important to set professional goals?


Without goals, you lack focus and direction. Goal setting not only allows you to take control of your life’s direction. It also provides you with a standard for determining whether you are actually succeeding.


Here are some of the reasons why one should set his/her goals:


(1) a goal is a way for you to reach your professional dreams– considering that everyone lives by their dreams, setting goals is a great way to follow through your objectives. Having a goal, especially on a daily basis is, therefore, to decide to take charge of your life and live fully;


(2) a goal is a way for you to motivate and encourage yourself– having a goal every day will allow you to manage your priorities. It will also help you a lot in making decisions. The mere idea of being able to achieve at least one of your goals is a source of motivation in everything that needs to be done;


(3) a goal is a way for you to progress, advance and change– if for many every day looks like the same, one must understand that setting goals daily is excellent in terms of personal development. By doing so, a new day must correspond to a new goal and a new opportunity to grow. Breaking big goals into small ones is a great way to create a good vibe and keep you moving in the right direction.


Steps to set goals


If you work for a company, it is very possible that your supervisor, along with you, had set your individual goals. As part of a team, your goals will contribute to the goals of your colleagues and they should all be aligned with your employer’s strategic planning. The concept of synergy, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, plays a crucial role in this process. In order to make this possible, some of the steps to set these goals and their characteristics include the following:


(a) goals should be stated, written and formulated– only a clearly formulated goal can be shared, questioned, completed, refined, and finally decided consciously and voluntarily. Therefore, it produces a more intense attraction effect between the different players. In contrast, an unstated goal is likely to conflict with the objectives that were stated, which obviously will bring a loss of efficiency;


(b) goals should be specific and accurate– specific because a goal too wide-ranging one badly focuses the energy towards it. Accurate, to indicate a very clear target, that one cannot lose sight of, and on which to focus. By focusing on them, disruptions are avoided, and priorities are more obviously arranged. It will be easier for the team to get rid of distractions and to concentrate on what matters;


(c) goals should be desirable and ambitious– desirable, because it is the best way to mobilize the team. This requires thinking about the points that make people join together, around a ‘cause’. A good goal will speak to the team as a group and will also have to ‘speak’ to each of the individuals in it. This is one of the reasons that requires to know perfectly the qualities and virtues of each one of the team members.

Ambitious, because it creates a dynamic tension, highlighting the gap between now (the situation which is not satisfactory yet) and later (when the desired situation will be achieved). The ambitious goal produces frustration right away in favor of a momentum towards the better condition. A good goal induces the overcoming of real difficulties, it must make you want the future situation and also create a little bit of discomfort with the present one. If the goal creates more frustration than action, if it prevents being well right at once for the benefit of a hypothetically better tomorrow, then it may become the problem itself. In this case, the solution can be readjusting the goal and the problem will stop immediately;


(d) goals should be realistic and dependent on the team– if it is not realistic, it demotivates, discourages in advance and makes the team immobile. Goals need to be challenging and possible at the same time, sometimes a hard balance to find. If the progress implied by the goal does not depend on the team, then it is no longer a holder of overcoming and positive challenge. It will then be a source of anxiety and inertia, creating sometimes unsustainable constraints;


(e) goals should be measurable and have an ‘expiration date’– measurable in the sense that we can periodically and objectively assess their progress. The ‘expiration date’ will help determine when to set a new goal. Nothing is worse than a subjective goal that the team and its manager might assess differently. If the team thinks they have reached the goal and the manager doesn’t share this view, the demobilization may be strong with a devastating effect.


Needless to say that your individual professional goals must be aligned with your employer’s goals, or your company’s goal. If this is not the case, maybe it’s time for you to ask yourself the question showing at the very beginning of this article … where do you see yourself in five years?


This article is for general, indicative purpose only and should not be considered investment advice. Florida Connexion is not liable for any financial loss, damage, expense or costs arising from your investment decisions based on this article.


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