Moving up the corporate ladder does not happen in an instant. You need to have a vision for yourself in your workplace, and work towards its realization. Professional development begins with setting your goals. Career goal setting, as in archery, entails good focus, follow through, and timing to hit the bull’s eye. Both require clarity of mind and determined action in order to get your arrow head into your desired aim. Here are 6 ways that can help you keep your career goals on focus.
Know where you want to be.
The initial step to get to where you want to be is know where you are. Assess your current standing–your work performance, attitude, and values. Next would be deciding where you want to be. How do you see yourself in terms of professional development after three, five, or ten years?
After locking in on an aim, determine how to get there. Founder of Quintessential Careers, Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D. recommends career mapping. He suggests setting aside some time to map out career path, and reflect on the trail you have made for your professional growth.
Be organized. Make lists.
The easiest way to not reach your goal is get distracted. Too many things on your work table, literally and figuratively, make it difficult for you to focus on one thing and work on getting it accomplished. Organize your thoughts, your files, your deliverables. Make lists, if you feel like it, but trim your lists to just three major tasks.
The reason for setting down what needs to be achieved is to maximize one’s productivity. The University of California, Berkeley Human Resource notes prioritizing as a technique to setting effective goals. According to them, “Set priorities so that you know which of your goals to focus your attention toward and helps you avoid feeling overwhelmed by having too many goals.”
Keep a positive mindset.
In archery, there are good and bad shots; there are hits and misses. In career development, there are setbacks and hurdles as well. These happen, no big deal. Do not be bothered about these, lest your focus gets swayed.
Do not give in to pressure or fear of bad performance. Keep your sight on the aim, and find motivation. Think back to your accomplishments, no matter how small. Mary Grace Orilly, a professional writer says, “Listing down your achievements in the past can make you feel good about yourself. You can regain confidence from seeing that you have accomplished things, and can do so again at present and in the future.”
Enrich yourself with new skills.
Follow through in archery refers to the action after the arrow’s release, where the energy of the bow and the drawing arm are carried to the full finish. An arrow released may not necessarily hit the aim without a good follow through.
Likewise, a good follow through is needed in career planning and development. One way is to have an expanded skill set. Be open to knowing and learning more. Actively look for opportunities where you can enhance your abilities or develop new ones. Take up a new class or training. It does good not only for your career, but for your personal enrichment as well.
Connect and network.
Aside from engaging in skills development, it is also important to grow one’s professional network. You get to forge relationships as you meet new people in your industry. Consequently, you gain different perspectives and knowledge from the new connections you have made. Networking can also open up chances and opportunities–be it for personal development, skills enhancement, or career advancement.
Take your time.
Shots in archery should never be rushed, and so do career decisions. Do not panic when you feel like you’re stuck in your career path. Relax, breathe, and take a new look at your situation and goal. The saying “Patience is a virtue” holds a grain of truth in the course of professional development. It can take time. Perhaps you’re anxious or stressed or pressured. Take a little time out to recharge and re-focus. Once you feel like you can get at your aim again, get back on track.
One of the biggest tension-triggers in archery is stressing on the score. In the same way, being too preoccupied with getting to where you want to be in the corporate ladder can sidetrack you from achieving it. Shift your focus to the tasks at hand, if you must, and work on it, while also working on enhancing yourself. Career planning and professional growth is a process. Take it one shot at a time.