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Last Updated on January 2, 2020

Pave Your Road to Success with These 7 Golden Rules

Pave Your Road to Success with These 7 Golden Rules

At some point in our lives, we’ll question whether we are successful. But what is success, and can you really pave your road to success without knowing what you’re striving for?

The reality is, success means different things to different people. For many, it’s financial wealth and freedom. As an entrepreneur, I’m able to choose where and when I work as well as whom I work with—that’s what’s really important to me. But to others, success might be working in a career that brings joy, ensures the bills are paid, and guarantees security.

It’s essential that you don’t compare where you are now to others because that’s not what success looks like. Think about this: You can be a multi-millionaire and miserable. If you’re working 16-hour a day, never see your family, and can’t remember what it feels like to take a vacation, are you really successful?

Personally, my road to success took too long. I spent way too many years trying to scale my first startup. I wasted thousands of dollars on advertising that didn’t connect with my audience. I spent many sleepless nights worrying about making payroll and keeping the lights on, and that negatively impacted my personal life and my health.

I don’t want this for you, and that’s why I’m going to share the 7 golden rules which I’ve found to be crucial in paving my road to success. Let’s dive in.

1. Change Your Mindset

Often what’s holding us back on our road to success has nothing to do with skillset or financial backing, and everything to do with mindset.

Take entrepreneurship, for example. The biggest barrier to success for most business owners is thinking you’re in the business of selling a service or product. You put all your energy into perfecting it, but if your prospect has never heard of you, why would they buy from you? Where’s the proof that what you’re offering is the gold standard?

You see, you’re not in the business of selling the thing you do, you’re in the business of marketing a service or product. You need to make this shift in your thinking if you want to be successful.

The same can be applied to professionals seeking a promotion or those who are looking to change jobs. What’s going to differentiate you from your competition? Why should you be hired? Don’t focus on your skills or how many years of experience you have. What have you achieved that would be attractive to another company?

In both instances, it’s about understanding what the pain points of your target market are, and how you can be the relief they’re searching for.

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So you have to change your mindset: How to Change Your Mindset for a Happy And Successful Life

2. Ask for Help

There is no shame in recognizing that you need help. The road to success is not meant to be lonely.

Unfortunately, school conditions us to work alone. We have to rely on our intellect to figure out a solution, and when we apply this thinking to a work scenario, well, that’s when we cease to achieve.

To be successful in business, you need to be able to rely on your colleagues or mentors to help you achieve your goals. A study by Olivet Nazarene University found that 76 percent of people who have mentors view those individuals as critical to their success in life.[1]

Mentors provide clarity and a roadmap to success. But, you need to find someone who’s right for you. This is a person who will challenge your ways of thinking. They’ll provide actionable advice and hold you accountable.

More importantly, they’ll celebrate your wins because they’re invested in your success. It’s a reflection of their mentorship.

So don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Take a look at this article if you’re still not sure how to ask for help: How to Ask for Help When You Feel Silly to Do So

3. Learn to Delegate

The world’s most successful people all have one thing in common: They recognize where their strength lies, and that’s where they focus their energies. Everything else gets delegated.

Richard Branson once said,

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“The art of delegation is one of the key skills that any entrepreneur must master.”

This couldn’t be more relevant to our lives than now. A report by Xero found that 77 percent of business owners experience burnout,[2] and Gallup’s 2018 report stated that 44 percent of employees feel burned out sometimes.[3]

How can you do what you do best when you’re physically and mentally at your worst?

Learning to let go is tough, but 80 percent out the drawer is better than 100 percent in the drawer. It takes a team to build a profitable business. Whether you’re the owner or an aspiring leader, you need to understand that your team will help you to achieve your goals far quicker than you could ever do on your own.

That’s why you need to surround yourself with people you trust, and those who can work autonomously.

Here’s a guide to help you learn how to delegate: How to Delegate Work Effectively (Step-By-Step Guide)

4. Embrace Failure

Don’t be fearful of making mistakes. The truth is, you will fail at some point on your road to success. In fact, you might fail many times. But failure is not an indicator of your capabilities, it’s just another learning experience.

No one likes to fail. But if we never experienced the lows that come with losing or making a mistake, would we really appreciate and celebrate our successes?

The most successful people are risk-takers, and with that, comes failure. But this doesn’t stop them from chasing their goals.

When things go wrong, don’t try to sweep it under the rug and act like it never happened. Ask questions and figure out what was missing and what you could’ve done differently. This type of thinking leads to success.

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So, embrace your mistakes. Own them, but more importantly, learn from them: 13 Reasons Why You Should Fail Fast to Learn Fast

5. Invest in Yourself

Always strive to be a better version of yourself. That’s why you should never stop learning.

Be tenacious. Say yes to opportunities that come your way, whether it’s a free online course, a networking event, a webinar, or a chance to engage with a well-known mentor, jump at these opportunities.

You’ll meet people who can help to further your career or grow your business. Remember, they’ve been where you are. Some have achieved success, and some are still on the road to success, but they can all help you.

Here’re some tips for you: How to Invest in Yourself: 3 Valuable Ways to Change Your Life

6. Formulate a Plan of Action

Now that you know what success looks like to you, how are you going to achieve it? What’s your plan of action?

Write it down. A study found that people who wrote down their goals were 33 percent more successful in achieving them.[4]

Once you’ve clearly defined what your roadmap to success looks like, put it up on your wall. Take a moment each day to review your goals and tick off those you’ve already achieved. This will help to motivate you and keep you committed to the dream.

Don’t be afraid to alter your plan. You may decide after a few months that your goals have changed. That’s okay. Just make sure that you adapt your plan to reflect these changes.

7. Never Give Up

How badly do you want it?

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Yes, the road to success is paved with failure. You will experience setbacks. This is completely normal. If it were smooth sailing, everyone would be highly successful. And then, who would we have to aspire to be?

I’ve found that persistence and consistency are the keys to achieving success. I’ve watched brilliant individuals fail because they gave up too soon. I’ve also known people with little to no talent achieve massive success because they had grit. They were determined to make it work, and every setback was just another lesson on their path to success.

If you really want to be successful, then you need to be relentless in your pursuit of success. Celebrate every win. They all matter.

Learn more about how to stay motivated during difficult times here: Giving up Is Not an Option! How to Not Give up and Stay Motivated

The Bottom Line

You can’t begin to chart your road to success without knowing what it is you’re chasing. Define this first. Write it down and review it. Be clear about what you believe it will take to achieve your goals. Then ask yourself,

What am I capable of achieving on my own? Where do I need help? Am I willing to make sacrifices? Am I willing to fail? Do I need to invest in a mentorship program?

When you have clarity about where you’re going, and what you need to do to get there, you have a clear plan of action. Be consistent in taking actionable steps each day, and you will be well on your way to success.

More About Achieving Success

Featured photo credit: Bruno Bergher via unsplash.com

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More by this author

Allan Dib

Rebellious Marketer, Serial Entrepreneur, Business Coach, and #1 Bestselling Author

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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

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