In our personal and professional lives, goals must be set in order to know where we are at on the road map of life. Goals can help us not only achieve what we value, but goals can also help us change our perspective, if the goals are set properly.
I have been fortunate to be employed by the same company for over a decade. When I was hired, I did not set goals for myself, as I wanted to please those around me, and I believed the manager knew best what my goals should be, and I knew he wanted me to succeed. Since my position was sales, the goals were simply a total amount of sales to be achieved each quarter. While education was given and calls were evenly distributed, I was not achieving the goals set for me by the manager, and neither of us could understand why. I had the knowledge. I had a pleasant personality. Customers commented on how well educated they were about the product and services available, but I could not close a sale. I did not know it at the time, but I had met my goal, though I had not met the goal assigned to me by my manager. My passion to objectively educate the consumer, without giving a sales pitch, was not congruent with the goals which I had been assigned. For many years, because I did not voice my discontent, my professional goals were left untouched by management, and my personal goals were similar to those of the unhappy workforce. My goal was to make it to the end of the work day and, hopefully, to the end of the work week. I allowed my personal goals to be negatively impacted by my negative feelings regarding my professional goals.
Ten years later, as my company and my position transitioned, management saw an opportunity to utilize my skill sets in a unique corporate position, which did not involve sales. Through discussing what my strengths, weaknesses, passions, and disinterests were, we were able to determine where my disconnect was with sales and how I could help strengthen the company without being directly involved in sales. My position changed to corporate product and “Green” expert, blog, content, and technical writer, director of social media and website updates, and general sales support for all brands. Each of these responsibilities was discussed and goals were set in tandem to ensure that both management and I agreed what was mutually beneficial. Though the goals were written by management, I suddenly had input and helped create my goals and my expectations of myself. I finally had a road map (err GPS, I’m starting to show my age). Since the change in responsibilities and goals, my professional and personal lives are much improved. Personal goals include finding ways to be more innovative and productive to increase my value in all aspects of life.
So how does this relate to you? How have you arrived at your professional and personal goals? Are you happy with your current job, or do you see room for improvement? When you are reviewed, are you assigned your goals, or are you given an opportunity to discuss how you would like to see your job evolve? How about your personal life? Do you and your partner/spouse discuss what is most important to each of you individually and as a couple? Have you created a plan to achieve those goals? A dream is a beautiful thing, but it cannot be achieved until it is a goal with an actionable plan.