Those who write their goals down are more likely to reach them. For me, writing down the main ones in a few categories on an annual basis is a good way to go. I use the time around my birthday each year to inventory goals achieved and set goals for the next year. I pick the most important ones to me and break them down into smaller steps to be accomplished each month or quarter along the way to my next birthday. I learned this technique by reading Maximum Achievement: Strategies and Skills That Will Unlock Your Hidden Powers to Succeed by Brian Tracy.

Goal setting is a very personal thing, though. We all have to take the time to learn what works best for us and stick to that. If a technique sounds good to you, try it for a month or so. Check your motivation and results at the end of the month to determine if that system is a keeper for you. Finding what works best is simply a trial and error exercise. Most importantly, keep trying.

When there is a goal you do not reach in by the deadline, it is time to reassess whether it’s still relevant to keep it on the list for the next year. If it is, no harm done, you just estimated wrong about when you could get it accomplished. So put it on the list again and spend time feeling what it will be like to reach that goal. Then try again. If it is no longer relevant to you, then let it go without worrying about it any further. Turns out it was just not important enough in the grander scheme of things.

Living in the moment and being fully present is also a critical idea to remember when goal setting. It can be easy to be distracted with anticipating a future goal or accomplishment that you must achieve before you can move on or allow happiness in your life. But, there is no need to be unhappy seeking a time in the future when all is will be accomplished. Even though it is important to outline goals and work towards accomplishments, it is also imperative to learn to enjoy the process.

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Choosing a career direction is a complex process involving many steps including exploring your interests, skills, values, and personality type, plus lots of time to learn and to strategize a career development plan. After the beginning steps of self-assessment, you choose a few of the career fields that seem to have the most promise and do more intense research.

Researching career fields begins with taking a look at the Occupational Outlook Handbook and the O*Net to learn more about specific career fields. Then, if a specific career field is still being considered, it is time to go out into the field to learn more. In fact, one of the most important aspects of choosing a career path is to get out in the real world and study real people. People who are doing the kind of job that you might want to do someday. One way to do this is through informational interviewing.

Typically, the informational interview process looks like this:

  • find people in the career of interest to talk to
  • schedule a time to meet with them for 30 minutes or so
  • ask questions about their career, and then
  • send a thank you note.

There are several ways to find people for an informational interview. The best method is to use your network of contacts to find people in the line of work that you want to learn more about. Begin asking family members, friends, and other people who they know working in the career. For example, you might approach your aunt and ask her, “Who do you know who works as a civil engineer?” Once a member of your network knows someone to refer you to, ask for that person’s name and phone number. You will be surprised how many people your contacts know and how easy it is to find people to talk to about all kinds of careers.

Next call the new contact. Give your name and how you know about them. Tell them that you are interested in learning more about their career field and that you were hoping they could help. Ask if you can schedule a time to speak with them for 30 minutes because you would like to ask them how they got into the field and about their recommendations for people who are considering entering the profession.

Following are some questions typically asked in an informational interview. Remember you most likely will not be able to ask them all since you want to keep the interview to only 30 minutes. Be sure to take a pen and paper for quick notes and recommendations and to assist you with writing a thank you note the following day. Be sure to note the correct spelling of their name and their address by asking them the information and writing it down in your notes or checking their business card.

SAMPLE INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

  • How did you develop your career path?
  • How did you get into this job?
  • What are your duties as a ____?
  • How long have you been in this position?
  • What do you like best about this career?
  • What do you like least about this career?
  • What would you do differently if you were starting over in this field?
  • What are the educational requirements of this field?
  • What is the typical salary range for this career field?
  • Can you recommend some professional associations for this career field?
  • What do you read to stay up-to-date in the field?
  • What further education do you participate in?
  • What are the advancement opportunities in this field?
  • What do you see as the future of this career field?
  • What is your career goal for the future?
  • What is happening in this industry?
  • What kinds of companies make up this industry?
  • Where has growth taken place in this field recently?
  • Who are your customers or clients?
  • How do you promote your products and/or services?
  • Who are some of your competitors?
  • What has helped to make companies successful in this industry?
  • What recommendations do you have for a person interested in this field?
  • Do you know others I should speak to about this career field?

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“There are two things which will make us happy in this life if we attend to them. The first is never to vex ourselves about what we cannot help; and the second is never to vex ourselves about what we can help.” –Anonymous

“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” –Ovid

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” –Sir John Lubbock

“A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow.” – Charlotte Brontë

“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” –Etty Hillesum

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one light bulb on, rest offOnce captured, an idea is available to you for future reference and further reflection, and to combine with other appealing ideas.

You capture an idea by bookmarking it, putting it in your social media streams, journaling it, sending yourself an email or voicemail, or using your digital recorder. However you decide to capture ideas, establish your system and use it religiously. Then be sure to review and revise your ideas regularly.

My favorite way to capture ideas is Evernote.com. With it, you can mingle audio recording, web page links, photos, and your written words together in an organized and searchable way that is fully digital. What I do is keep a pen and notebook handy for quick notes when I’m not at my computer then transfer to Evernote and mark off the journal pages once the content has been entered. I also have the Android App on my phone so I can get to my notes anytime. I love the new Moleskine notebook made to be used with Evernote. It is called the Moleskine Evernote Smart Notebook.

You will not believe the increased effectiveness of your self-development endeavors as a result of getting clear on how to capture your ideas.

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Take Ownership

  • Your career is yours and yours alone. You have the power to create it and live it as an expression of your unique talents and energy.
  • Forget what other people think of your choices. Even though people often mean well, you will be the one putting in the hours so be selfish enough to do something you enjoy and to have fun with it!
  • Being yourself in your work gives power, creativity, and freedom. You are off track if you feel insecure or like a pretender at work.

Look Inside Yourself, You Know the Answers

  • Take note when you find yourself fully engaged in a work activity. If it feels as if you are in the zone, or plugged in and energized, or connected to something larger than yourself: Pay special attention.
  • Then describe it further…what are you liking about what you are doing? Is it this? Is it that? Keep asking yourself and you’ll know when you hit the answer that feels right.
  • Start general then get more specific in your description of what you like about what you are doing. For example, is it the communication or connection? Is it the performing or beautifying? Is it the helping or healing? Is it the organizing or administrating? Then add more detail by asking why.

Respect the Career Development Process

  • The beauty of a great career is in the way it unfolds.
  • Enjoy the present moment. Each small step adds up until you are absolutely ready for more.
  • Appreciate then forget when you felt lost or frustrated in your career. Through those times, you learned more about what you DO want.

Understand the Power of People

  • People can be powerful and brilliant in sharing their connections with others. Cherish and maintain your connections to tap into the power.
  • People can be dark, egotistical, and negative, but this is nothing compared to an individual in harmony with self. Recognize the negative as the weaker power and stay beyond it.
  • See and applaud the strengths of others as you do for yourself. Be a builder-upper who is generous with knowledge, info, and positive energy.

Be an Opportunity Bulldog

  • Take your individual strengths and mesh them into your public identity, and no one can take your place.
  • Research and understand the opportunities that exist because of the challenges in your field of expertise.
  • Present a passion for being or finding the solution and be unafraid of asking for the opportunity.

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“Superior men and women trust themselves at a deep level. They are very sensitive to what feels right.” –Brian Tracy

“We move toward a kind of defining presence because, through our passions we are utterly present.” –Greg Levoy

There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love; there’s only a scarcity of resolve to make it happen.” –Wayne Dyer

“Acknowledging the good that is already in your life is the foundation of all abundance.” –Eckhart Tolle

“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” –Julia Child

“Just as the master musician may cause the most beautiful strains of music to flow forth from the strings of a violin, so may you arouse the genius which lies asleep in your brain.” –Napoleon Hill

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement nothing can be done without hope or confidence.” –Helen Keller

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing you will be successful.” –Herman Cain

“A career is born in public, talent in privacy.” –Marilyn Monroe

“Life is a process. Enjoy it.” –Stevie Puckett

“Burnout doesn’t happen when you are working long hours on invigorating activities.” –Marcus Buckingham

“As you become more clear about who you really are, you’ll be better able to decide what is best for you the first time around.” –Oprah Winfrey

“Follow your bliss.” –Joseph Campbell

“And as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” –Marianne Williamson

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The Four-Letter Word That Makes You and Your Work Irresistible by Mark Sanborn.

Just right click on image below and choose “save link as” to read the pdf file on your computer. Enjoy!

irresistible-you

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