Who Needs Goals?

A while back, while working for a former employer, I was called into my manager’s office. It was “annual review time” and my manager had decided one-on-ones were the order of the day.

The review itself went well. I had great input from my teammates and had a green light for a promotion in the next six months (awesome, right?). Unfortunately, there was a problem.

My manager looked me in the eye and asked: “What are your career goals?”

I honestly did not know. The truth is, I had no career goals. And to both of our horror, I even expressed this thought out loud.

I was working there because it seemed the logical thing to do. I was learning a lot, had interesting challenges to work on, and was part of a team that got things done. Now my manager was telling me that I also needed to manage my “career”?

This was a pivotal moment for me. It helped me realize that I was on the wrong path. Quite frankly, I wasn’t on any path at all. I had my head down and was only focused on the day-to-day.

In life, we are often presented with a baseline of blessings. Things like: generally good-health, hopefully a steady paycheck, and in my case, stunningly good looks. It’s a head start.

The next step is to dream about what you want your life to look like in the next X years (5 years? 10 years? 50 years?). To be honest, I typically have a tough time with this step but! it’s incredibly important.

There are a bunch of directions you can go with goals. They don’t always have to be career focused but focusing on a career can be a great start. What are you looking to achieve? Technical competence? Financial security? Weight loss? Launch a business?

While it is good to dream big; it’s also important to remember that goals will remain unrealized until action is taken to achieve them. Wandering through life, waiting for life to happen to you lacks purpose and typically results in unfulfilled goals. This would be a waste of your incredibly good looks incredible blessings.