There have been a few blogs recently written about setting goals for 2010. I realize all of us are looking forward to 2010 as an alternative to a grim and realistic 2009. Lessons learned. Goals set, for us and by us.
I have 10 suggestions you may want to consider when goal setting in any year.
1.Establish your horizon. I’m not talking short term goals vs. strategic goals. Find your personal horizon. As you advance yourself and your career, I certainly hope you are taking the steps to grow yourself as an individual by making contributions to society as well as your company’s – and your own – bottom line. If not, think about it.
2.Relax your timeline. I’m finding many Gen Y’s have a 3 year timeline that includes spec-ing out who they are going to marry (including pedigree!), the type of car they are going to drive, the home they are going to live in, and just what their life is going to look like. Wow. Sounds prescriptive. Talk about coloring within the lines. What if life doesn’t quite happen that way?
3.Revisit your priorities. Constantly. What’s important to “them” may not really be important to you. Do you run your life by committee? What’s important to you may be relative to your personal experience and the curves that may or may not have been thrown at you up until now. If you get tied to where you are now, you may never end up where you truly are supposed to be, down the road.
4.Be impeccable with your word. This one item is inflexible and immutable. You need to be true to what you say – and what you say you will do. Your word is not the currency of your career advancement, saying one thing to one person and another thing to another person, all for personal gain. All for achieving your personal timeline. Your word is your bond. For life.
5.Develop a sense of stewardship. What do you give back to others? Selflessly? It’s not just a matter of dropping a donation in the mail. Or occasionally volunteering for something. What are you actively involved with, hands-on? What could you be more actively involved in?
6.Always take the high road. The low road is never an option. Never. Regardless of tactics used by your peers and managers. Reacting to their methods reinforces their success, not yours. They can’t control a person who refuses to fight back using their tactics. Take the high road. It forces them to follow along that path… or at least recognize your path.
7.Taking the high road means finding your personal high road. What does the high road look like to you? It’s great to have a timeline and set goals. Achieving goals doesn’t just happen. You must choreograph and respond (not react) and have latitude for pursuing optional pathways to achieve your endpoints. You are the constant in all this. Constancy implies a core set of values that are immutable, regardless of circumstances. Your core values make you trustworthy. Are you?
8.Leave room for the epiphany that your personal high road may not be the high road at all. While we all have a sense of immediacy for achieving goals, allow some room for personal growth. You may find that your idea of the high road was merely one rung higher than the low road. Hint: you may not be the one responsible for identifying the high road for yourself. No kidding.
9.Be honest with yourself and with others. Some folks make value judgments based on what they feel is “fair” at the time. Fair is an over-used word based on a personal sliding scale of what we feel needs to happen in order for us to benefit. Hmmm… fair doesn’t sound fair at all, does it? Being straight forward and communicating honestly with others as to why you feel compelled to make the decisions you have made is a good habit to develop. Plus you never have to remember what you tell everyone since you tell everyone the same thing. Which makes you not only honest, but trustworthy. I think these days this is called “transparency.” Something to consider. Regardless of semantics.
10. Take the road less traveled. You’ll find you are not alone. You’ll find that the folks you meet on this road are honest, trustworthy, ethical and have high personal integrity. You will teach them and learn from them. You will serve and be served by them. And you will be rewarded in ways that are beyond the limits of your personal goal setting.
The low road is never an option for achieving anything. Don’t even consider it. You short-change yourself …. and others.