The why, what, how approach. Ever wonder why those New Years Resolutions never seem to make it past January? Don’t let that happen to your career goals this year. It’s never too late to start changing direction to what you want. Here’s a setup that has worked for me.
Before diving into your list of goals, understand the ‘why’. Why do you want to be ________? Why do you get up in the morning? When you look out into the world, what are the things that you find interesting or disturbing? Maybe your thought is, “someone should do something about that!” Maybe it’s you. Often times the things that irk us are the very things we are drawn to help. Sometimes you get the ‘why’ in reflection of a life long dream. What did you want to be when you grew up? Start there. Understanding the ‘why’ helps with the persistence needed, when inevitably, things get tough. For example, Starbucks doesn’t just sell coffee, they sell belonging. So what do you believe in? Equality? Justice? Love? Find your ‘why’.
Hopefully you now have an idea of your ‘why’. Now what are you going to do to about it? This is where your natural talents come in to play. What are you good at? There are many people who have the same why, but the execution is very different. That’s the ‘what’. For example, if your ‘why’ is belonging, you may sell over priced coffee… wait. Or you might open a nonprofit for dyslexia. Or you might change the policy at your work to include more recipients to take college classes. The idea here is what do you do about the ‘why’. I would suggest at this point, an assessment may be helpful. Usually we are more motivated by the things we may naturally have a talent for, than not. So reflect on what you are good at doing and develop your ‘what’ out of a core strength.
The ‘how’ is where you can put down those concrete steps. For example, fill out the loan application for a new business or sign up for an intro to accounting course. I find that I’m more motivated to accomplish the concrete steps that align with my ‘why’ and ‘what’. It turns the task into the next step towards reaching my ultimate goal. Many times our big career goals happen one task at a time. Actually they ALL do!