As a career coach I am asked a wide range of questions. Some are very specific but others are broad. One of my career coaching clients, Billie, on a 6 monthly career review session asked me how can she be successful?
As Billie’s career coach I’ve got some great rapport with her, and I asked her what she meant by success. Good question, she said.
It is a good question; we need to be clear what we mean by success. Was it going to be around the highest possible salary, about having status and a job to impress her friends. Was it using her talents to the full, or having more balance to pursue other aspects of her life.
Billie wasn’t sure, so looking at her values was going to be a good option. Understanding our values can help to drive our career choices, but also helps with our wider life too.
Too many people think of their career in isolation from their wider life. But our career is just part of who we are. We also need to consider our health, relationships, family, interests, spirituality and more. I’ve got a great series you can sign up for on my website, the 14 day Loving My Life programme.
This article is less about Billie and more about you.
I’d like you to take some time to think about what success means to you.
You don’t have to get hung up on having perfect long term goals, As a career coach I want you to make some choices for who you are today and where you want to go next. Not all of us want to look 5 years into the future, sometimes thinking of the next career move, or a personal goal is the right area to focus.
And don’t create too many goals. Less is more and will allow you time to focus.
I created the Loving My Life programme as I wanted more people than just my career coaching clients to take a broader view of their life. I wanted them to rate themselves in different areas and to look for small changes that can make large improvements. So for example if you have put on a few pounds over the summer and rate yourself as a 4/10 as you could do with losing 10 pounds, focus on how to increase yourself to a 5/10 by, perhaps, cutting out sugar.
Then in another area, if you feel like your job only rates 3/10 think about how to make a minor change to get it to a 4 – perhaps by having a better focus on the job, not allowing yourself to get distracted and thus being able to have a proper lunch break, leave on time or both!
Focus on bigger goals takes a more structure approach
There are the bigger goals that you have, perhaps to successfully complete your studies to gain your professional qualification or to lose a significant amount of weight. Or it could be connected with your hobby, and you want to reach a decent enough standard as a dancer that you are happy to get up on the dance floor.
These are goals that can take time, perhaps 2 years or more. In this case you need a focused plan and it is helpful to remind you of the need for SMART goals.
- Is your goal SPECIFIC? Do you know what it is that you want to do?
- Can you MONITOR progress – you need to know where you are now and where you are going and how you are doing.
- Is your goal ACHIEVABLE? We must ensure it is something we can achieve if we put our focus there. We can study to gain the qualification or lose 20 pounds, but don’t let others take away your enthusiasm, they may, from their perspective think that you won’t get the brilliant new job you want, but they don’t know how much you are willing to do and how focused you can be.
- Is it REALISTIC? With weight loss, a goal of 2lb a week weight loss is achievable, but to aim for 5lb a week is not – better to take a bit longer and get there then be disappointed as you fail to reach an unrealistic goal.
- Finally, is it TIME BOUND – when do you want to achieve it by. You need to have an end goal to focus on and a time to complete not a vague I want to lose 30lb with no clear reason when.
Billie wants to get ahead in her job, and now accepts that a professional qualification will enhance her experience. Other people have told her that she should study, but it took a conversation with me as a career coach to help her realise why this will be helpful. She did wonder how she would find the time. But there is always time available we just need to prioritise things. So less watching TV, more focus to completing household chores (and perhaps delegating them) and getting up 30 minutes earlier.
What can help is to think of all the reasons why you really want to achieve something, all the benefits you can gain and keep focused on that rather than the 10+ hours of study each week.