Setting Goals for your Professional Career


Regardless of who they are, successful people always have goals. When establishing yourself at the workplace, it can be easy to feel suffocated, confined, and worrisome with the lack of direction to help navigate your steps within your chosen field. That is why I highly recommend that establish your vision and goals for your professional future before making any type of actions at your company. Having a clear vision of the end-state will allow you to set necessary steps to achieve success during your tenure at your company. For this to be beneficial, you need to be crystal clear on what you are looking to achieve and how it will shape your professionally.

While easy as it may sound, creating professional goals are incredible tough. Yes, we can all throw the goal that we want to be the next CEO of a company. While I will not criticize your professional ambitions to make it to the top, I will question whether or not it is plausible, especially if you are unqualified for said position. When creating your professional goals, you want to make sure it will do two things. The first thing your goals should do is that it should challenge you each and every day. Many people need this type of motivation to get them through the mundane task at the office. They need to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Having the goal to move up within your company as a manager or director is a perfect way to start. Now, as much as you want to shoot for the stars, you also want to be tangible. This brings us to our second requirement when creating professional goals. While asking to be the next CEO or the next Mark Cuban is always fun to talk about, having this as a goal can be extremely detrimental to your overall success and growth as a professional. Your goals are meant to push you to be better than who you are. They cannot push you to your best if you know they are unattainable.

So how do you create professional goals? What should you do to make them as effective and beneficial as possible?

Start off by avoiding vague words. One of the hallmarks of a good goal is that they are well detailed and crystal clear about what you are looking to achieve in the future. Oftentimes, people create various goals like “get more clients,” or “make more sales.” While the concept is understandable, the actual goal itself is not. When creating your goals, try and be as specific as possible. Get it down to the number if you have to. Creating your goals in this manner will allow you to internalize what you are actually looking to accomplish each and everyday.

Now, just having a goal is not the only step in creating your goals. In addition to creating your overarching goal, you want to make sure you have efficient and effective steps that can lead you to your goals. Think of these as mini-goals. These particular objectives are meant to help you conceptualize your path for success. To help improve this, try and make sure these steps are able to measure progress. This will allow you to analyze whether or not you are on or off track when it comes to your achievement.

One big mistake many people make is that they are overly optimistic. Earlier I spoke of having tangible goals. The same concept applies here. Now there is nothing wrong with aiming high.  But creating unrealistic targets cannot only hinder your progress, but derail your success entirely. Remember, your goals are there to motivate you, not hinder you. Being overly optimistic of an unrealistic goal can backfire if you are unable to hit that goal. To help conceptualize tangible objectives, try talking to your manager. They should be more than happy to help break down your path for success. At the end of the day, you both are playing for the same team. Utilize this help, and begin building that action plan.