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The Career Seeker’s Guide to Setting Tangible Goals

by Hallie Crawford, Career Coach, MA, CPCC

One of the most challenging aspects of making a career change is learning how to harness your dreams and make them happen. Bring your fantasy of “the perfect career for me” back down to earth and turn it into a workable plan that you can knock out step by step. I suggest you begin by setting tangible goals.

Let’s start with the goal. When your mind is feeling creative and unrestrained, you might write down a career objective that sounds something like this:

Quit my job, open flower shop.

This is a great starting point and indeed a goal to aspire to, but the problem is that this goal has no time frame. You can see that you still need a practical working plan to help carry out this goal, along with a time frame to make it happen. Does this mean the goal is no good? Not at all! The idea is to keep this as your Master Goal, but then create smaller, practical sub-goals with time frames that you can fulfill in order to reach this major milestone in your professional life.

When the time comes to set your personal goals… make sure they are tangible, measurable, realistic and include a time frame. Your goals should be achievable, yet also a stretch so you’re pushing yourself beyond what you’d normally do in order to move forward.

One thing that you will find when setting goals, is that the best plans will manifest themselves in outline form. Beneath the umbrella goal of “Quit my job, open flower shop,” you might list out a series of sub-goals. These could hypothetically be:

  1. Start a savings plan.
  2. Further business education.
  3. Look into real estate possibilities for future store.
  4. Do informational interviews – talk to others who own their own flower shop.

(There will be more goals on your list obviously).

Notice that these goals STILL are not meeting the requirement of being tangible, measurable, time-sensitive and so forth. Which is why you will then need to zoom in even closer on your list of goals to make them even more specific. Let’s look at Sub Goal 1:

“Start a Savings Plan.”

Here, you can break this down into still more stepping-stone goals, which could be:

a. Set up investment plan with financial advisor that will allow you to accumulate savings, of a specific amount, that you can dip into and use within a year. Deadline for goal: November 1, 2006.

b. Redesign household budget plan, making cuts in some areas and setting aside a surplus of $ xxxx amount to be invested in savings for future business. Deadline for goal: November 1, 2006.

As you can see, once you break down the larger goals into smaller goals which can then be feasibly achieved by a certain time, you can then determine how long it will take to achieve all the sub-goals, and then assign a long-term deadline to the major goal. This process will allow you to stick to your plan without feeling overwhelmed by a sense of vagueness and “how am I going to get there?!” If in the end, you figure out that all of your Savings Plan sub-goals could easily be completed by Dec. 31, 2006 then this could be the final deadline to have your savings plan in place. And when your savings plan is solid and attainable, it can better fulfill its purpose of helping further your dream of the flower shop along.

To learn more, read our library of career articles, or contact me, Career Coach Hallie Crawford, for a personal consultation today!

Copyright 2007 Hallie Crawford, Authentically Speaking. All rights reserved.

All the best for a rewarding and fulfilling career doing what you love!

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