What do you want? It’s a seemingly simple question, right? Yet, it’s often very difficult to answer, isn’t it? Whenever we decide to go out for dinner, my wife will ask where and I’ll tell her to pick whatever she likes, then she’ll tell me to pick, and we’ll go back and forth. If it’s so difficult to answer a question as seemingly simple as where to go for dinner, how do we answer the bigger picture questions, like what do we want out of our careers? Out of our lives? What can make us happy, fulfilled individuals?
Many people use the start of a new year to reflect and assess where they are and where they want to be, both professionally and personally. It’s about answering that most basic of questions and determining what it is we desire. That’s often what sparks a New Year’s resolution. We identify something we want and set our mind to getting it or achieving it. Yet, New Year’s resolutions have become a joke to some people because they habitually make them and never keep them. It’s often easy to identify what we want to achieve and what makes us happy, yet it’s harder to make that achievement or happiness our reality. What’s the challenge?
I think the challenge lies in perception. Sometimes, we can falsely view quick wins as the ultimate win when, in fact, they are stepping stones toward achieving that big picture goal. If your goal is to lose weight, getting a gym membership is that first quick win. You will feel some instant satisfaction in having achieved something, but to reach what it is you actually desire, you have to then go to the gym, work out regularly and maintain a healthy diet. If you want to advance in your career, talking to your manager about your aspirations is the first quick win, but it’s not the ticket to a promotion.
Or, the challenge can be the opposite. Accomplishing goals, whether professional or personal, is often difficult. If home ownership is what you desire, the fact that it could take a few years to save for a down payment can’t derail you, as an example. Often it takes patience and persistence to reach goals and get what we want, and frustration or fear of failure can, in fact, set us up for failure. The greater the aspiration, the more time and effort it can take to make it happen and a greater sense of satisfaction will be felt when you finally get what you desired. While identifying that long term goal(s) is the first critical step, staying focused and working towards achieving the desired result can be equally – or more – challenging. Seeking guidance from a mentor often helps you take the right action and understand the relevancy of your desires/goals. Also, looking at what you are good at, and what you’re not the greatest at, can help clarify a path forward. Our Talent & Organizational Development team developed several tools and resources to help employees achieve their professional goals here at D&Z.
Besides the challenges I’ve noted, what do you see as being road blocks? Also, how do you keep focused on your big picture goals, desires and aspirations?
I welcome your thoughts in the comments below, because identifying possible barriers can help us plan to overcome them and be more successful in reaching our goals.