5 Steps to Achieving Your Goals at Work, From a Career Expert

Originally Published 12/14/18

Worker in front of computer smiling with fists clenched in euphoria

What has stopped you in the past from reaching your career goals? There are a variety of things that can get in the way and derail your plans. Many life science professionals would say aspects such as not knowing how to achieve their goals, not having the appropriate resources, and a lack of support have hindered them. How has not achieving your goals affected you? Perhaps you’ve been passed over for promotions, not been recognized for your performance with a raise, or failed to land your dream job. 

According to Stephanie Moore, author of The Gifted Journey, you should have a “personal board of directors” to bounce ideas off of and discuss your goals with. You could include trusted colleagues, mentors, and career coaches as part of your personal board. Think of these board members as a support system of trusted advisors to help you navigate your career growth and development. Now take a moment to think about your top career goals. The Gifted Journey outlines five steps to achieving your goals at work.

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Discover - Do you really know what your strengths are? Are you aware of how others perceive your personality? Have you considered how your blind spots and weaknesses might prevent you from being your best? Take some time to discover what makes you unique with personality assessments and surveys. Many professionals fail in their endeavors because they are actually working against their natural preferences. It is a misconception to believe that you are great at everything. Discover what your strengths are and focus on those areas.

Discern – After compiling a lot of information about what distinguishes you from others, it's time to review and evaluate the details. What have you learned about yourself that is meaningful for career planning? Consider aspects that have been difficult for you in the past. Is there a way to avoid those common stumbling blocks in the future? It might be helpful to list out any pros and cons that would result from achieving specific career goals.   

Dream – Do you consciously set aside time to dream or brainstorm about future possibilities? Many people don’t and instead have moments of frustration at work where they simply wish things were different. They don’t have a clear picture of what they want in their career, so they find themselves in the same situations and nothing really changes. Schedule a short amount of time in the evening or on the weekend to visualize exactly what career you want, where you want to be working, and the overall compensation you’d like.

Design – Record the important parts of your ideal career situation and goals. Do you currently have the time, energy, and resources to make these things a reality? If not, figure out how you can acquire what you need. Create an action plan that breaks down what you’d like to achieve into manageable parts. It could be a good idea to share your plan with your personal board of directors. They might be able to help you in some way or serve as an accountability partner to keep you on track.

Do – Now that you have done research on yourself and what’s necessary to reach your goals, take action. A lot of professionals never actually get started with the implementation aspect of their plans. They stay “in their head” and let fear, doubt, and worry prevent them from being successful. They are caught up in what other people might think of them for trying to attempt ambitious goals. Decide on your first step and go for it.  Staying in consistent motion will be beneficial over the long term.

Reaching career goals can be challenging for many people. They have the best intentions to achieve certain milestones, but they never really happen. First, complete self-discovery assessments and surveys to thoroughly understand what makes you unique. Second, take some time to discern what aspects of the discovery process are meaningful to your goals. Third, dream and visualize what you want in your life, being as detailed as possible. After that, design the action plan necessary to get started. Finally, take action by doing what is required to make your dream a reality. What is one simple thing you can do today achieve your goals?

Porschia Parker is a Certified Coach, Professional Resume Writer, and Founder of Fly High Coaching. She empowers ambitious professionals and motivated executives to add $10K on average to their salaries.

Stephanie Moore is a Gallup-certified strengths coach with more than two decades of experience in leadership development, career consulting, and executive coaching.  She is also the author of The Gifted Journey: Five Transformative Steps to Uncovering Your Unique Path.

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