3-minute read and a worksheet
Last month you met Fred. Fred is your ambition. He lives in your brain and is the driving force behind setting goals and striving for the next level. If you missed it, here’s a link that introduces Fred along with a useful tool for goal-planning. Keeping Fred happy is hard, but doable. The first step is to define What Success Means For You.
Each of us has the power to define for ourselves what success means in our professional life. Our individual definitions may differ, but we’ll all follow the same 5 steps: Think, Plan, Organize, Implement, and Assess.
1) Think: Bring Your Goal Into Your Everyday Life
If a goal or a long-range challenge has been gnawing at you, don’t keep tamping it down. It won’t go away. Acknowledge the challenge by writing it down and putting it somewhere visible. A visible, everyday reminder of what you want to accomplish is Step One. But reminders, without a plan you can and will follow, will lead to frustration. Step Two is to make a plan.
2) Plan: Begin a Technical Journal
Some folks keep a personal journal. Most are lovely stream-of-consciousness romps combining experiences, thoughts, and aspirations. Don’t stop writing in this journal! These thoughts and dreams are the seeds that grow into goals.
A Technical Journal is different. It has one purpose – to capture your thoughts and ideas related ONLY to your career goals and ambitions.
It’s in this space that you can;
- Identify your challenge or goal
- Prepare a GOAL SWOT and sketch out the;
Strength of your idea –
why this goal is worth pursing
Weakness of your idea –
why this goal may not be worth pursuing
What’s working in your favor
to help you achieve your goal
Threats that stand in your way
To quickly get the information out of your head and organize your thoughts, write your ideas in each section as bullet points.
-Next, find some “white space” and, analyze what you wrote in each of the four fields.
Here are some questions to think about:
- What’s important about this bullet point?
- What steps can I take to move ahead?
- Who can help me?
- How much time do I want to I spend against this?
- Is there anything else I should consider?
At the end, each bullet point in your SWOT will have its own written explanation and include action steps.
Keep going-you’re on your way to achieving your goal!
3) Organize: Your Action Steps on Timelines
By now, all the notes in your SWOT are getting messy; so organize them on a timeline. A timeline is a sequential calendar of the actions you’ll take. It’s an easy to read visual tool that forces you to make decisions and prioritize what to do to reach your goal.
But because life and work are anything but predictable, use your journal to create two timelines.
The first is your most optimistic, best-case scenario for achieving your goal, assuming all of your activities go according to plan.
The second is your dark cloud, worst-case scenario, assuming nothing goes as planned. Your actual timeline will probably end up somewhere in the middle.
Here‘s the benefit of a timeline;
- You’ll be able to “see” how long it will take to achieve your goal
- You’ll know what to do when
- You’ll build flexibility into your thinking to stay positive and focused when you hit bumps in the road
Now you’re organized and ready for Step Four – sharing your plan with the world.
4) Implement: Assemble Your Team
One of the reasons your goal or challenge exists is that it’s big and complicated and you probably haven’t asked for any help.
In the SWOT, one of the prompts was to identify people who can help you along the way. Now that you know who they are, it’s time to ask them to help. Trust me, people ALWAYS want to help, especially when they are helping carry out a plan that’s in place.
Be sure to share the ideas and timelines from your Technical Journal. Don’t be afraid to show off what you’ve done and what you are thinking. Be as specific as you can about what you need. The more specific you are, the more willing people will be to help.
5) Assess: Be Patient
Now that your goal or challenge is public and you are working toward solutions, be patient! Doing something new is hard.
And, your solutions may not work the at first time. Ideas may need to be reworked or redirected.
Keep trying. Fred will be with you every step of the way nudging you to keep going.
Because this is your goal and it’s worth fighting for.