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Why Two People With Similar Abilities Can Have A Huge Difference In Their Achievements?

Why Two People With Similar Abilities Can Have A Huge Difference In Their Achievements?

Many of us have life goals whether it’s in our career or personal life; gaining new skills for a job, learning a new language, training for a marathon or simply personal goals for self-growth.

Isn’t it strange when two people with similar abilities and ambition can have a huge difference in their achievements? One may take much longer than the other, or one may fail altogether while the other excels. The success we gain from work or personal goals is dependent, not on how hard we work towards them, but on whether or not we have a good strategy for the achievement for these goals.

Developing a good strategy when setting goals is the most important and surefire way to achieve success. Here are three ways you can make sure your goals are on track to being fulfilled.

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1. Embrace Each Experience As Growth And Forward Movement

Achieving our goals is a journey and one that needs nurturing and developing. Our growth and onward progression towards our goals whether at work or personal development, is hugely based on the experiences we have. Positive and negative experiences are usually plentiful along the way and it can be hard to notice the ones that have taught us the most.

For example, someone might be aiming for a certain position at work and the next step towards that goal is a promotion. If a person doesn’t get that promotion they could see it as a failure or see it as an opportunity for more time to work on certain skills in order to get to that next step.

A person who is focused on the end goal will do what it takes and has the ability to recognise the worth in each experience they encounter. While positive steps are a win, some of the negative experiences can sometimes be where the most growth occurs. Embracing these experiences and realising that they are hard to replace and have generated growth towards your goal is a sign of forward achievement.

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2. Take Advantage of Both Vertical and Lateral Development

There are two types of growth and development when it comes to achieving our goals – lateral and vertical.

Lateral growth is when we exose ourselves to new ideas and experiences. This could be learning something new, travelling to a foreign country or reading up on a different subject but goal setting, drive and motivation are not the primary tools of this kind of growth. While lateral development is important, it is most important during the initial stages of goal achievement. It opens our mind up to new ideas and gets us used to thinking differently but where some people fail is using this type of focus as a way of achieving their goals in the long-term.

Vertical growth is the process of achieving, pushing ourselves and ambition. It is the negatively perceivable struggles, challenges and pressure that cause us to obtain our greatest achievements and victories. It’s about realising your potential and how far you can be pushed and in the process, gaining clarity to what you really want.

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If someone’s goal is to lose a certain amount of weight they may decide to take up running. One person could happily run with no real plan and lose the weight while someone else may go bigger and strive to run a marathon and go through the painful and challenging experience of marathon training. While both may achieve the goal of weight loss, one will most likely keep up the running and enter more and more races because they’ve experienced the pain and suffering and come out the other side – they are motivated to strive for bigger and better.

People who are stuck in lateral growth tend to take much longer to achieve their goals because they aren’t prepared to face challenges and grow from them. People who adopt the vertical development technique move along on their path much quicker even though the path may appear more rocky and dangerous.

3. Checking In With Where You’re Going

Is the road you’re walking on leading to a bright future? While we don’t always know exactly where we’ll end up or if we’ll change our minds along the way – something many of us face in our careers (we change and grow after all) – people who achieve their goals in life do more solid research into where their decisions and goals will lead them down the line. They take time to ask themselves if their path has potential.

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For some, it’s easy to choose a path and run as fast as they can to the end in order to achieve the goal much quicker. The problem with this is that they are running fast down a path they’re not actually sure is the right one.

That’s why it’s much better to spend time choosing the path first before you start running even if the path you eventually choose is a bit less smooth than the other one. By doing the ground work in the beginning, you are setting yourself up well even if, at some point, you decide to change course.

Setting goals is what life is all about – whether big or small, for your career or your personal life and development – the way in which you go about achieving these goals is paramount to your success. Check in with your mindset and make sure you are focused correctly. Remember to enjoy the journey towards your goals and realise the lessons you learn at every step.

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

Taking your work to the next level means setting and keeping career goals. A career goal is a targeted objective that explains what you want your ultimate profession to be.

Defining career goals is a critical step to achieving success. You need to know where you’re going in order to get there. Knowing what your career goals are isn’t just important for you–it’s important for potential employers too. The relationship between an employer and an employee works best when your goals for the future and their goals align. Saying, “Oh, I don’t know. I’ll do anything,” makes you seem indecisive, and opens you up to taking on ill-fitting tasks that won’t lead you to your dream life.

Career goal templates’ one-size-fits-all approach won’t consider your unique goals and experiences. They won’t help you stand out, and they may not reflect your full potential.

In this article, I’ll help you to define your career goals with SMART goal framework, and will provide you with a list of examples goals for work and career.

How to Define Your Career Goal with SMART

Instead of relying on a generalized framework to explain your vision, use a tried-and-true goal-setting model. SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic with Timelines.”[1] The SMART framework demystifies goals by breaking them into smaller steps.

Helpful hints when setting SMART career goals:

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  • Start with short-term goals first. Work on your short-term goals, and then progress the long-term interests.[2] Short-term goals are those things which take 1-3 years to complete. Long-term goals take 3-5 years to do. As you succeed in your short-term goals, that success should feed into accomplishing your long-term goals.
  • Be specific, but don’t overdo it. You need to define your career goals, but if you make them too specific, then they become unattainable. Instead of saying, “I want to be the next CEO of Apple, where I’ll create a billion-dollar product,” try something like, “My goal is to be the CEO of a successful company.”
  • Get clear on how you’re going to reach your goals. You should be able to explain the actions you’ll take to advance your career. If you can’t explain the steps, then you need to break your goal down into more manageable chunks.
  • Don’t be self-centered. Your work should not only help you advance, but it should also support the goals of your employer. If your goals differ too much, then it might be a sign that the job you’ve taken isn’t a good fit.

If you want to learn more about setting SMART Goals, watch the video below to learn how you can set SMART career goals.

After you’re clear on how to set SMART goals, you can use this framework to tackle other aspects of your work. For instance, you might set SMART goals to improve your performance review, look for a new job, or shift your focus to a different career.

We’ll cover examples of ways to use SMART goals to meet short-term career goals in the next section.

Why You Need an Individual Development Plan

Setting goals is one part of the larger formula for success. You may know what you want to do, but you also have to figure out what skills you have, what you lack, and where your greatest strengths and weaknesses are.

One of the best ways to understand your capabilities is by using the Science Careers Individual Development Plan skills assessment. It’s free, and all you need to do is register an account and take a few assessments.

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These assessments will help you determine if your career goals are realistic. You’ll come away with a better understanding of your unique talents and skill-sets. You may decide to change some of your career goals or alter your timeline based on what you learn.

40 Examples of Goals for Work & Career

All this talk of goal-setting and self-assessment may sound great in theory, but perhaps you need some inspiration to figure out what your goals should be.

For Changing a Job

  1. Attend more networking events and make new contacts.
  2. Achieve a promotion to __________ position.
  3. Get a raise.
  4. Plan and take a vacation this year.
  5. Agree to take on new responsibilities.
  6. Develop meaningful relationships with your coworkers and clients.
  7. Ask for feedback on a regular basis.
  8. Learn how to say, “No,” when you are asked to take on too much.
  9. Delegate tasks that you no longer need to be responsible for.
  10. Strive to be in a leadership role in __ number of years.

For Switching Career Path

  1. Pick up and learn a new skill.
  2. Find a mentor.
  3. Become a volunteer in the field that interests you.
  4. Commit to getting training or going back to school.
  5. Read the most recent books related to your field.
  6. Decide whether you are happy with your work-life balance and make changes if necessary. [3]
  7. Plan what steps you need to take to change careers.[4]
  8. Compile a list of people who could be character references or submit recommendations.
  9. Commit to making __ number of new contacts in the field this year.
  10. Create a financial plan.

For Getting a Promotion

  1. Reduce business expenses by a certain percentage.
  2. Stop micromanaging your team members.
  3. Become a mentor.
  4. Brainstorm ways that you could improve your productivity and efficiency at work
  5. Seek a new training opportunity to address a weakness.[5]
  6. Find a way to organize your work space.[6]
  7. Seek feedback from a boss or trusted coworker every week/ month/ quarter.
  8. Become a better communicator.
  9. Find new ways to be a team player.
  10. Learn how to reduce work hours without compromising productivity.

For Acing a Job Interview

  1. Identify personal boundaries at work and know what you should do to make your day more productive and manageable.
  2. Identify steps to create a professional image for yourself.
  3. Go after the career of your dreams to find work that does not feel like a job.
  4. Look for a place to pursue your interest and apply your knowledge and skills.
  5. Find a new way to collaborate with experts in your field.
  6. Identify opportunities to observe others working in the career you want.
  7. Become more creative and break out of your comfort zone.
  8. Ask to be trained more relevant skills for your work.
  9. Ask for opportunities to explore the field and widen your horizon
  10. Set your eye on a specific award at work and go for it.

Career Goal Setting FAQs

I’m sure you still have some questions about setting your own career goals, so here I’m listing out the most commonly asked questions about career goals.

1. What if I’m not sure what I want my career to be?

If you’re uncertain, be honest about it. Let the employer know as much as you know about what you want to do. Express your willingness to use your strengths to contribute to the company. When you take this approach, back up your claim with some examples.

If you’re not even sure where to begin with your career, check out this guide:

How to Find Your Ideal Career Path Without Wasting Time on Jobs Not Suitable for You

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2. Is it okay to lie about my career goals?

Lying to potential employers is bound to end in disaster. In the interview, a lie can make you look foolish because you won’t know how to answer follow up questions.

Even if you think your career goal may not precisely align with the employer’s expectations for a long-term hire, be open and honest. There’s probably more common ground than they realize, and it’s up to you to bridge any gaps in expectations.

Being honest and explaining these connections shows your employer that you’ve put a lot of thought into this application. You aren’t just telling them what they want to hear.

3. Is it better to have an ambitious goal, or should I play it safe?

You should have a goal that challenges you, but SMART goals are always reasonable. If you put forth a goal that is way beyond your capabilities, you will seem naive. Making your goals too easy shows a lack of motivation.

Employers want new hires who are able to self-reflect and are willing to take on challenges.

4. Can I have several career goals?

It’s best to have one clearly-defined career goal and stick with it. (Of course, you can still have goals in other areas of your life.) Having a single career goal shows that you’re capable of focusing, and it shows that you like to accomplish what you set out to do.

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On the other hand, you might have multiple related career goals. This could mean that you have short-term goals that dovetail into your ultimate long-term career goal. You might also have several smaller goals that feed into a single purpose.

For example, if you want to become a lawyer, you might become a paralegal and attend law school at the same time. If you want to be a school administrator, you might have initial goals of being a classroom teacher and studying education policy. In both cases, these temporary jobs and the extra education help you reach your ultimate goal.

Summary

You’ll have to devote some time to setting career goals, but you’ll be so much more successful with some direction. Remember to:

  • Set SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, and Realistic with Timelines. When you set goals with these things in mind, you are likely to achieve the outcomes you want.
  • Have short-term and long-term goals. Short-term career goals can be completed in 1-3 years, while long-term goals will take 3-5 years to finish. Your short-term goals should set you up to accomplish your long-term goals.
  • Assess your capabilities by coming up with an Individual Development Plan. Knowing how to set goals won’t help you if you don’t know yourself. Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are by taking some self-assessments.
  • Choose goals that are appropriate to your ultimate aims. Your career goals should be relevant to one another. If they aren’t, then you may need to narrow your focus. Your goals should match the type of job that you want and the quality of life that you want to lead.
  • Be clear about your goals with potential employers. Always be honest with potential employers about what you want to do with your life. If your goals differ from the company’s objectives, find a way bridge the gap between what you want for yourself and what your employer expects.

By doing goal-setting work now, you’ll be able to make conscious choices on your career path. You can always adjust your plan if things change for you, but the key is to give yourself a road map for success.

More Tips About Setting Work Goals

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

Reference

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