Your career is the single most important decision you will ever make in life. Why you may ask, this is because the average person spends their life working so it’s only right you make the right decision and define what it is that you want. You do not want to start your life with a vague idea, as you will end up going in circles. There is a massive difference in what you want and what you need. For example you may want money for now but need fulfilment in your job. Which one will you choose right here right now. The desire to fulfil your material needs i.e. paying the bill may outweigh the desire to wait on the career your heart desires. So what do you do? What will you choose? A career or a job?
The truth is you will always have bills, this is part of life, however you cannot live your life paying bills as you will deep within your heart know and want more fulfilment in your job. The average person spends around 40 hours a week at work. This means that the majority of your time and your life will be spent at work so you have to choose wisely and consciously. The need for fulfilment should outweigh the temporary need for basic needs. Your basic needs are part of life and as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs clearly highlight that those needs must be met in order to reach your highest self, we cannot deny this fact every day necessities comes first. By taking the time to define your career goals you set yourself up to a life of fulfilment and a smooth sailing in your journey. Let’s consider 3 ways in which you can define and get clear about your career goals.
1. Define what you love
See the difference between the summer job you take on temporarily and a career is, one is a means to an end and the other is the end. What do I mean? A summer job may just be a job, you take on during the summer to gain some extra, and it may not necessarily fulfil you but provide extra cash. It’s good but not good enough, you’re not excited about it but at the same time you need it so you show up get the job done and get your wages. You pray for Friday to come so you can get a break and get away from the job. A career on the other hand is the end, this means that there is nothing in the world you would rather do. You may even do it without pay and it fulfils you more than anything. There is no limit in what you invest in your career or passion. It is in fact your life’s purpose; you’re passionate about it and will enjoy it endlessly. The summer job doesn’t have to be your career, you can always change path as long as you are passionate for you goals.
2. Provide value
Think of your career as a way to provide value, how does it make you feel? Defining your career goal can be an emotional decision. Think about how your ideal career makes you feel, do you get excited when you think about it or is it just another means to make money. Are you excited about the job in mind or is money the target, because the truth is money is a by product of doing what you love. You will automatically make money doing what you love as long as you’re providing a service to others. People will pay you according to your value so providing value to others will ensure you’re paid for what you provide.
“People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine” – Brian Tracy
3. Get qualified
“There is no shortcuts to anywhere worth going” the same also applies to your career. Get qualified and be an expert in your field, invest in a course or training leading to your specific career goal. Use your time wisely and get work experience that will give you hands on experience in your chosen career. Strive to master your field, avoid being scattered in many areas or fields not leading to your career. Everyone’s learning style is different, some may be better off going into higher education; others are more practical and may decide to take on apprenticeships. Whichever directions you decide to embark ensure that you get the knowledge or skills needed to get into your chosen career.
You may get lost along your journey; this is why defining your goals ensures that you get back on track as soon as you find yourself getting lost in the career world. I found myself in this situation; I got lost on my journey because my need to fulfil my needs now outweighed the drive to pursue my career, this temporary detour felt safe for the moment. I was wasting time on a job I was not interested in and could feel the dissatisfaction, I was not valued no matter what I did and this woke me up to the fact that “when you settle for less you get even less than what you settled for” (dissatisfaction and feeling devalued). This realization prompted me to get in alignment and start focusing on my career. This realization would not have been possible if I did not already have my goals in place and my own definition of my career in mind. Defining your career goal ensures that you have a map that guides you through your career should you get lost this map will navigate you back on track
In conclusion defining your career goal is the key to attaining your career; it’s the map you need to navigate your way throughout your journey. The first step is defining what you love and differentiating your passion from a job. Your job is the means to an end and your career is the end, your career brings fulfilment and you derive joy and value from your passion. You provide value which ensures that you gain satisfaction in your work. In defining your career goals you have to get clear and distinguish your choice verses the choices of others so you can clearly identify what you love from what is being handed to you. Finally get qualified and becoming an expert in your chosen field this will set you apart from competition and get you closer to achieving and actualizing your goal.
Written By Shereena Badu