Read my career planning for doctors's blog
or - why goal setting is hard
I speak to clients from time to time who appear to have a real problem with goal setting and it has prompted me to muse a tad on the topic.
I see it as absolutely critical to achieving progress in career planning.
It is a useful life skill to have.
So why would someone not wish to adopt it
A feeling that somehow it is not "nice" to set goals or to want or to achieved
Where might that come from - possibly parental attitudes, school experiences or religious influence inculcating that somehow it is not OK to earn a comfortable living or that one should not be motivated by money. I happen to disagree with the first point and agree with the latter but thats another blog post.
A dislike of the process of goal setting could on the one hand merely be a preference.
But given that it is a crucial part of career planning one has to question - why a dislike? It is perfectly acceptable to dislike things. I dislike the idea of jumping out of a plane - and I have reasons. I get very motion sick, I have a mild BPV which means that tumbling through the air might well cause me to become very unwell - not great if one has to recall to pull the parachute chord. Even if I didn't have a good reason I would still be entitled to not want to jump out of a plane - merely as preference. However if I wanted to get a certificate of skydiving - then one would need to examine in more detail the reasons to see if any of them could be overcome.
Similarly if a person dislikes making money - that is their choice. However in our society - most of us have to earn money and earning it in the best way for our particular blend of skills and wants from work will lead to a greater sense of satisfaction and enjoyment. This in turn increases our wellbeing outside work and facilitates work life balance and more. So it makes sense to like making money if it is a byproduct of a career one truly enjoys and feels well suited to in all aspects. Taking this a bit further - conversely not like making money could adversely affect ones ability to find the career that best matches as the attitude of "I don't want to make money - its bad to make money" could well be sabbotaging ones decision making regarding career choice or career planning or indeed setting career goals. Thus one possible cause of hating anything to do with goal setting is that it relates to achieving ( ie if achieving has been somehow programmed into you as something you should not aspire to)
I can think of many other reasons why a person might not want to set goals and whilst I am accepting that the whole world may not be motivated by goals - my own experience of setting them has been very positive, my experience of encouraging clients to do so has also been very positive too. Thus if a client appears to have some difficulty with or dislike of goal setting - I always feel I have to explore this further.
If there is resistance - there will be reasons for resistance as a person who is open to trying new things and learning new skills would normally accept that for their career path to be decided or to change direction - some goals are going to need to be set and that to attempt career planning or career change without addressing any rusty or vestigial goal setting skills is to court a very long drawn out career reevaluation and one that may easily drift off course.
One of many key techniques within goal setting is that of "writing them down". Rather simplistic you might think. However the process of actually writing them ( and I feel that handwriting them does more to imprint them than typing but each to their own - I also use a vision board app ) seems to do something interesting to the subconscious.
So why don't we all have our key life goals written down and refer to them daily? Probably because no one has suggested to you that it might be a useful thing to try. Or because you are someone who needs a bit of help with not only deciding what they should or could be but with the process of the setting them too ( there is a methodology).
Is there anything wrong with or painful about setting goals? Plenty. A whole separate article could be written on problems relating to goal setting. For example - one needs to know what goals to set and this can be a huge and anxiety provoking challenge for some people. Some people become obsessive about their goals - their choice - its probably what makes Olympian gold medalists. However there is so much more to career and life planning, feelings of contentment and happiness than merely setting goals and reaching them. This is why it is possibly to reach the pinnacle of ones career yet still feel empty and unsatisfied.
So my advice on goals is - learn how to set them - it is a skill - one of many that are needed for career planning but do not assume they are the be all and end all.
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