Advertising
Advertising

If You Cannot Explain Your Life Plans for More than 25 Seconds, You Have No Plans At All

If You Cannot Explain Your Life Plans for More than 25 Seconds, You Have No Plans At All

A recent study reported that most people can’t get through a mere 25 seconds of close reflection about their life plans. They may start off with some idea of what they want to achieve, but when questioned about the real aspects of how they will do it, like how they will pay for it, they lose focus and get confused, often falling into complete silence. It’s not that people lack ambition. It’s that their ideas are still in their infancy and most never get past that stage to having mature and solid goals or strategies.

The issue is that life plans can become so complicated and overwhelming that most people just end up settling. Instead of having clearly thought out and planned goals with strategies and tools to achieve them, they let the concrete reality slip through their grasp and surrender to an ambiguous notion of an unpredictable life. While we can’t control everything that happens in life and don’t know for sure what tomorrow will bring; while living mindfully in the moment and focusing on the present is valuable, that doesn’t mean we should abandon our goals and neglect the quest for tangible methods to assertively and actively succeed in achieving our desires.

Advertising

One method to making concrete goals and establishing solid strategies is to use the “5 whys” method. This basically refers to a technique for solving problems by simply asking why. The answer is the basis for the next question.

Here are six steps to establishing realistic goals and firm strategies to accomplishing them.

Goals

1.What makes you happy?

Make a list and be honest. What are the activities that make you happiest. Don’t limit your answers by thinking whether or not you are good at it, or if you have any qualifications or experience. Think broadly. It could be that you love cooking or sewing; playing an instrument, reading. Think about the things that motivate you. Although most people may say laying in the sun doing nothing is what makes them happy, soon you’ll be bored. Think about something you would be happy to do every single day of your life. Be realistic.

Advertising

2.What are your strengths?

What are you good at. Maybe ask others. You may not enjoy cleaning your house or car very much, but you might be really good at it and feel satisfied after the task is done. Someone may have complimented you on your ability to grow plants or care for pets. Try to think of examples of when you were accomplished at something and the pride you felt, knowing you could do it again. Often it is hard to admit what we are genuinely good at for fear of appearing conceited. It takes courage to give ourselves credit for a job well done.

3.What do you need to do this every day?

Once you have established your desires and attributes, think about the things you may need to allow you to do this every day and perhaps even to make a living from it. Do you need qualifications? Testimonials? More experience? Materials and a work space? Time? Narrow it down. Don’t be too complicated and think too far ahead. Just start at where you are now and where you want to be tomorrow. Do this every day and step by step you get closer to establishing a concrete goal.

Advertising

Strategies

1.How much time do you have?

Time is very important. If you have a full time job, are a parent or carer and have lots of responsibilities, you need to consider where this new goal will fit in and where you want it to take you. Time is very deceptive. It is easy to think we have no time, but when you prioritize your life, you can easily find it. If you dedicate only a few minutes a day to the one thing that makes you happy, slowly that time grows and eventually it takes precedence over other things that are no longer as important as you thought they were.

2.How much space do you need?

Sometimes having a work space dedicated to what you want to do is a good motivator. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it is a physical way to start to see a goal manifest. If you want to make clothes, establish a sewing corner. Buy fabrics and a machine. It doesn’t have to cost a lot either. Get things second hand, look for free stuff. Make it known what you want and soon people start giving you things, everyone has junk that to you is gold. Set up a permanent space. Maybe put up an ideas or inspiration board to be able to visualize the activity. Make associations. Anything that corresponds to your goals and life plans can be included in this physical space to build your reality.

Advertising

3.What materials are essential?

Life goals are only manifested when we start to see physical outcomes. Do you need a qualification – a framed certificate? Do you need tools and books or guides? Is a substantial investment required and do you need to start putting funds away, take out a personal loan or build the investment a little at a time? Can you get help or crowd funding? Can you partner up with someone or a group of people? Can you barter or swap, give and receive in return to start to make this goal a legitimate exchange? Soon you will have a burgeoning business.

Helpful Guide

Having a goal without good strategies cannot help you achieve what you want. However, with Lifehack Goal Setting System, in which every small progress counts, you can efficiently attain the best result of your desire. For every goal you add, you will receive practical and useful articles that guide you through the process and achieve remarkable outcomes.

To start with, you can try these health goals:

More by this author

Diane Koopman

Writer, Author, Novelist, Self-Publisher

How Mental Fatigue Eats You Slowly (And Ways to Regain Mental Energy) 10 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Taking a Bath 20 Dalai Lama Quotes To Change The Way You Think Small Things Parents Can Do to Effectively Reduce Sibling Jealousy Learning These 10 Tricks Can Help You Overcome Frustration in Communication

Trending in Communication

1 How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up 2 How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late 3 7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer 4 If You Think You’re in an Unhappy Marriage, Remember These 5 Things 5 7 Practical Ways to Change Your Thinking and Change Your Life

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

Advertising

How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

Advertising

A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

Advertising

Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

Advertising

How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

Read Next