(2 minute read with LOTS of activities)
Ever walk by the corner office and wonder ‘How did she/he get there’?
Ever think, ‘Someday, that will be me’.
People may be born to lead, but no one is born in a leadership role.
Getting to a position of leadership requires hard work, being thoughtful and having ambition.
Ambition is powerful. It gives us energy and focus and helps us create momentum toward our goals. But free-range ambition breeds circular activity with little forward motion.
This often leads to frustration and disappointment and can result in us abandoning our goals because they have become ‘just too hard to accomplish’.
By creating and committing to a plan you can harness your ambition and direct it with purpose.
Here are 5 steps to consider
1. Figure out your goal
What is your ultimate goal? Whatever the answer, getting there requires understanding your short and medium range goals. Think about these goals in the same way you think about going to the gym. There is an overall goal (get stronger or run a marathon), but getting there requires incremental steps (increasing weight and reps or running more miles). Mohammad Ali didn’t ‘float like a butterfly and sting like a bee’ on his first day in the ring, and neither will you. Greatness comes from progressively stressing your capabilities, learning at each level and defining what you need to do in order to reach the next level.
Push/learn/incorporate learning/push again
Here’s a Mad Lib to get you started on setting your short, medium and long range goals,
My long-range goal is____________________. But first, I need to ___________________, and then I need to ________________________, and then I should___________________________, and finally______________________________.
Consider what you need to understand, learn and do to succeed in each step.
2. Establish a Timeline
This is your accountability to yourself. Write down your timeline and keep it in a visible place. A timeline helps you stay on track and provides a place for the incredibly satisfying task of checking completed activities off your list.
A visible timeline also helps you make thoughtful adjustments as priorities change.
Here is a timeline format that takes your short, medium and long-range goals into account.
My goal is________________________________
I want to accomplish my goal by_____________________________
Here’s what I need to do to get me there
End of Month:_____________________________________
3. Define Your Skills
For this exercise, think about how your experiences supports the qualities valued by the workforce. Next to each quality write down a supporting example or story. Telling stories or citing examples describes your value in real situations and makes it easier for others to relate to your skills. When others understand what you offer, you can enlist outside support to help you accomplish your goals. (Note: This is a useful exercise for people who are re-entering the workforce)
Qualities Valued By The Workforce and My Examples
4. Create Your Value Proposition
We touched on value proposition above, but it warrants a discussion of its own. Achieving your goals is often time consuming and sometimes difficult. Why not enlist others to share the fun? Be clear about WHY what you are doing has value for others to get the help you need. A value proposition combines your goal and your skills into a statement that makes it easy for others to see how they benefit. Write a value proposition for your short-term goal(s) first. Accomplishing these will help you successfully move to the next level.
Here’s another Mad Lib for structuring a value proposition
I CAN HELP______________
WHO WANT TO (their goal)_____________
BY (addressing a need)____________________
USING (your relevant skills)______________
FOR (overall benefit)______________________
5. Do Something Else
Moving toward a goal is definitely rewarding but is can also be hard. Accomplishing a goal takes time; so don’t forget to have fun. Reconnect with friends, go to the gym or volunteer. Successfully achieving goals is like running a marathon. Race day is what all the spectators see. The quiet commitment, strength training, putting in the miles and building to the next level is the invisible part that makes race day an event worth celebrating.
Want to get to your ‘corner office’?
Put in the time, make a plan, get help and enjoy yourself.
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