Thursday, 02 September 2021
“A goal is a dream with a deadline,” says Associate Trainer Sara Parsons in the everywomanNetwork webinar What could be possible if you overcame your limiting beliefs? But putting a timescale on your big aspiration is just the start of your successful journey towards goal completion.
If you know what you want and when you want it by, but something still isn’t clicking, consider whether you might have fallen into one of these common traps, and follow our guide for getting yourself back on course to realising your dream.
So you’ve decided you want to make department head within three years or a directorship by your next milestone birthday. A solid and admirable goal to work towards. But before you can make a plan for how it will happen, you need to get the thinking right.
Do you really believe that goal is within your grasp? If you’re struggling to close the gap between daydreams and your daily reality, visualisation can help. What does being made departmental head really look like for you? How will you feel when it happens? What will it mean to you? What’s happening in the moment you step into that role? As you begin to develop a clearer mental image of success, keep adding layers of colour. Who will you celebrate with? Who’s around you on your first day in situ? How are you dressed? What is your body language saying? What’s feeling important to you in that moment?
There is scientifically backed evidence to suggest that your brain is unable to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined. So the more regularly you flex your imagi nation muscle, the easier it may be to follow that path towards success.
Further reading: Visualisation for career success: a beginner’s guide
So you know exactly what you want and have lived that moment of goal completion in your head a thousand times. The sticking point is how you get there from here. Our webinar poll revealed only 27% of attendees had a concrete plan for the journey, while 18% hadn’t thought about the path they’ll take at all.
Look at the end result you’ve crafted so perfectly in your mind’s eye and start working backwards to today. What’s happening six months before you achieve your goal, one year, 18 months? Flip that list on its head and you’ve a list of milestones to work towards.
If you’re chasing a global position, the final step before you bag that role might be volunteering on a project that exposes you to individuals and goings on in that department. To get accepted onto that project you may need basic language skills, so a night class could be on the cards. But to really understand if that’s necessary, perhaps you need to reach out to contacts in the international team who’ve been there, done that, and can advise you along the way. Break the goal down, then build up to smashing it.
Further reading: Career planning
Limiting self-beliefs are often cited as the reason for stalling on the journey to your dream job. Often your own perceptions bear no correlation to the reality of a situation. Why else do 33% of everywomanNetwork members find their first feeling on learning they’ve been chosen for a golden opportunity to be one of surprise, with fewer than half (44%) believing that the decision was justly deserved? Are you giving yourself the sort of support and encouragement you regularly give others?
Consider whether you need to press pause on your plans while you do some recalibration work on your mindset. And consider whether you’ve fallen into victim mode: if you find yourself blaming external factors or figures for your lack of movement, it’s time to look carefully at the balance of responsibility and ensure you’re living up to your end of the bargain. Ask yourself honestly if your own negative thoughts are truly the only thing hindering your progression.
Further reading: Smashing limiting beliefs
If you’re a sporty type, you’ll know there’s nothing like discovering your marathon application has been accepted to get you pounding that treadmill in anticipation of the big day. There’s nothing quite like making a goal public to spur you into action. So bite the bullet and put it out there. Share your plan with a partner, sponsor, colleague or mentor, and, if you know you’ve a tendency to let things slide as time passes, ask them to hold you accountable – regularly checking in with you to ensure you’re doing all the things you know you need to do in order to see your dream become reality.