“Begin with the end in mind.”
– Steven Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Few books are quoted more often than Steven Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He really captured something that resonates for many people. Notice that Covey didn’t entitle his book The 7 Habits of the Hardest-Working People. His work is more about making one’s efforts count.
This is just as true in developing your career as it is in running a business. It’s not just a person’s resume that’s enhanced by having a goal…making your career development efforts count is aided by the sense that you’re generally “marching in the right direction.”
This becomes especially important in the face of obstacles, when perseverance is called for. And career development certainly encounters obstacles: Changes happen in organizations, professions and economies. Priorities arise in personal life. And we human beings sometimes bring our own obstacles. (Have you ever procrastinated on a task because you might not do it up to your own standards? Or because it might lead to other challenges?) There are many types of “internal obstacles,” but improving one’s sense of self-efficacy, or working with a career counselor, is often helpful.
It is clear, however, that for most people, having direction or goals matters. Gail Matthews, Ph.D. (of Dominican University) published a study of goal attainment. She found that the people who wrote down their goals and action steps; sent them to a supportive friend; and regularly assessed and shared progress, achieved significantly more!
Owning your career includes owning your career goals, with all of their excitement and challenges. That means you can modify your goals as you gain information, and as circumstances change. Don’t wait to set goals until success is guaranteed. You just might miss out on a real boost.
The Goal-Setting section of the online Career Development resources is a good place to find tools and perspectives for setting action oriented career goals that incorporate your knowledge about yourself and the world of work. There, you will also find information about: the workshop Taking Action and Moving Forward in Your Career: other career development workshops, and individual career counseling.
Interested in a career development orientation session for your staff work-group or team? We’d like to hear from you. Contact us at 510-642-2367, or firstname.lastname@example.org.