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Posted by on Jun 14, 2016 in Personal Growth |

4 Steps That Will Help You Set Your Ultimate Professional Goal

4 Steps That Will Help You Set Your Ultimate Professional Goal

At some point or the other, I’m certain you’ve been asked this cliché interview question about your professional goal:

“Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?”

For decades it’s the most overused interview question, yet it catches interviewees off guard. It makes you stop and think.

In retrospect, it should be the question that you’re already well prepared to answer. A question that if you’re asked, should give you an opportunity to showcase your professional desires and aspiration. This should be where you highlight your “swan song”.

It’s not easy to set your professional goal, but if you think it through you’ll find its closer than you imagine. Here’s how to start off setting your professional goal

Your Ultimate Professional Goal

Think about your journey so far. What has gotten you to this point? Why you made the choices you did to get here? Were they beneficial or were some of the choices opportunities to learn?

What will be your ultimate professional goal? Your career’s ‘Big Picture’. You could ask yourself what will people remember you by and that could form the basis of what your career’s big picture is. Or you could ask yourself what you want to look back at as your accomplishments. Who will be the people you impact?

If you’re able to answer these important questions you’ll be able to see what the end result of all your efforts are aimed towards.

Your Milestones Along the Way

To get to your ultimate professional goal, what are your smaller targets? These are the achievements you can proudly say are contributing to your bigger picture. To score you need to come up with a strategy that are steps to the final professional goal. Make a to-do list of all the things you want to achieve.

Also think about your current hurdles and how do you plan to overcome them to achieve your milestones? It’s important to realize that there will be roadblocks along the way. More importantly, you need to be prepared for them. And for that you’ll need to identify what steps you’ll take to overcome these hurdles. You may even want to identify individuals who will play a key role in helping you surpass them. Chances are your ultimate professional goal will interlink with theirs. Share with them your bigger picture and you’ll see how their willingness to help you will increase.

Chalk Out Your Plan

When planning, define “how” you’re going to achieve your targets and by “when”. Prioritize your milestones and achievements so that you’re focusing on the key ones first. The higher priority achievements will score more towards your ultimate professional goal. Hence you want to focus your efforts on these more. Without timelines you’ll find that your 5 year plan will end up taking too long and you’re still nowhere close to your ultimate professional goal. That itself can be highly demotivating.

Stop, Evaluate, Amend and Then Proceed

While planning is important, everything doesn’t necessarily always go as planned. Your professional career will have its share of twists and turns impacted by external (and sometimes internal) forces. That’s fine and natural so don’t worry too much about it. A well-crafted plan will factor these challenges so that even if you’re made to stray away from your plan, you’ll find your way back on track.

Similarly, certain changes in you may also raise the need to alter or amend your ultimate professional goal. It could be a change in career or a new desire to enhance the goal even more. Hence, stop and evaluate your goal. Amend your milestones and your plan. And then proceed to follow that plan.

The sum of everything you do should equal your professional goal. Irrespective of how big or small your tasks are. And even if they seem insignificant today, everything you’re doing should add up to your final professional goal. Look at it as the overarching strategy that you’re aiming for.

The stage is set. All possible props and tools are available for you. Now it’s just a matter of what you do when you get on stage. Remember the spotlight of your career is already shining on you. How bright or dim it’ll illuminate depends on how well you plan your professional goals. Irrespective of what your professional goals are or when you achieve them, you will always be a star on the stage of your career!

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