“The first step to achieving your goal is to take a moment and respect your goal. Know what it means to you to achieve it” – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

As the 2015 winds down I am looking at how to apply the principles of centered leadership to accelerate your career in 2016 by diving deeper on an earlier post.   To do this I am considering three steps:

  1. Know yourself –> Mindfulness of self
  2. Know your goal –> Mindfulness of others
  3. Don’t go it alone –>Extending

In the first article we discussed the importance of knowing yourself and what you want to accomplish before starting out on your journey. It was about being mindful of you. In this post we examine the second step of knowing your goal and how to be mindful of others who have gone before you.

Know your goal

Beyond knowing yourself and why you are embarking on this new chapter in your career, having a clearly defined goal is equally important. This is where the concept of being mindful of others comes into play because most likely there are others who have already accomplished your goal and they could help you learn how to get there. However, first you need a substantive goal. If your goal is simply to make more money, while nice, it is weak because once you get it you will want more – it’s a never ending game. Your goal should have meaning to you and upon achieving it you should gain a sense of pride and not simply be thinking “thank God that’s over”. The growth that occurs along the way to achieving your goal often leads to even greater things. So think about your goal, make it big and meaningful to you. There are lots of sources out there to help you define career goals. Here is a couple:

One thing I often tell my clients is given the modern age and how quickly things change, the classic way of developing a multi-decade career plan, with five-year objectives and annual goals simply does not work anymore. I encourage my clients to think about it in terms of what do you want to do next versus what you want to do. The latter has a much greater sense of permanence and can feel more daunting. Thinking about what you want to do next is just that, which may be different than what you do after that. This provides flexibility as interests come and go and allows you to concentrate on the here and now which will lead to a greater probability of follow-through.

Once you have clarity on your goal the next step is to understand what’s required to be successful. Look at those who have gone before you and have already achieved your goal. Start with those who are top in their field – if you are going to benchmark yourself, mid-as-well do it against the best. So if you are looking to be promoted to the next level, go speak to some folks who were recently promoted to that level and ask them about their journey. If you want to work for a new company, go meet folks at the company you are interested in. Buy them a cup of coffee, speak to them on the phone or see if there is a way you can help them in exchange for some guidance. This is less about looking for a job and more about getting clarity on what it will take to achieve your goal.

Learning from those who have been-there and done-that is always a great place to start. This is how you understand what knowledge, skills and abilities helped them be successful. Compare what they did to your self-assessment. How do you stack up? If there are gaps, how can you fill them? There are lots of on-line courses available any more to help with this. Here are two sources to get you going: Coursera and edX .

In the next and last article in this series we’ll look at the third step which involves actually starting out on your journey.

What is your career goal for 2016 and how will you apply centered leadership to achieve it?