If you’ve never been one to set yourself specific goals, but want to be successful I have, what I believe, is a better way for you.
Today I was on LinkedIn and there was an influencer post about ‘not wasting mentors time’. It said in order to get the most out of your mentor you need to have set your personal goals first. I’ve always heard it banded around that you should set goals. But this particular post ruffled my feathers because as a mentor I had never once set myself personal goals or demanded it of my students. I also have a particular disdain for the interview question “Where do you see yourself in 1,5 and 10 years time” for the same reasons.
I’ve seen people set goals and doggedly work to achieve those, without a hope of ever achieving them. Sure some might, but none I’ve anecdotally observed. Yet I’ve seen many people succeed, they are winning at life. These people had no idea they would make it or how they were going to get there. But that didn’t mean they weren’t motivated. Many people put down failing at your life goals as a lack of motivations, I see it as a problem of stubbornness.
Setting the goal first and working back from there is waterfall, you spec out what you need to do in order to achieve your goal and every single detail cascades down. What is particularly painful to observe is having studied, or climbed a ladder for X number of years doing stuff you probably hated in order to get there you realise actually this isn’t what you wanted.
Set your objectives like great organisations write vision statements, the ones that can never be fully realised. Google wanted to organise the world’s data, CareerBuilder wanted to organise the worlds human capital data and Addidas they want to organise the… Nah they just want to be the best, but writing good mission statements I’ll save for another time.
If you set good objectives that are infinite you will forever be motivated to strive onwards and your path is never articulated by the goal.
The goal, once it is done it’s over, then what?
The bad objective, once you are at the top you have no more motivation.
The good objective is a never-ending mission, often some sort of social justice/good is associated with it. The reward for working towards it is a personal inward sacrament.
I’m cross-functional, it’s not a coincidence but Agile dictates that you deliver working software, or in a career context valuable outputs for the organisation. My role merely informed people of my specialty but my goal was always to be effective in the teams I worked within to deliver the optimum outcomes.
It’s about being motivated even if you don’t know exactly where you are going, by applying yourself all the time opportunities will eventually present themselves and you need to know when to take them.