We at Lansky Career Consultants are committed to your having the life of your day dreams and fantasies. However, in my work with clients I’ve noticed that some people expect this process to be easy. Achievable and easy aren’t the same thing. Some clients will carefully form a goal, only to quickly abandon it because they become overwhelmed by the process.
Often they give a reason that goes something like this: “Oh, I’m too old to start such a big project,” or, “I’m single and have to support myself, so I can’t do _________” (fill in the blank); or, “I don’t have the money;” or, “I don’t have the time.” These “I can’t” statements are often made when the project begins to look daunting.
On the other hand, I’ve watched many people overcome these same obstacles. Just recently, a woman in her 40′s finished a graduate degree which qualifies her to enter her dream career. This woman has a chronic physical condition that limited her for many years; part of the work to reach her goal involved seeking alternative treatments. Eventually, she found a way to manage this problem and was able to work around it. Yes, she also had to reduce her living expenses and cut back her social life while she was in school, but those were prices she was willing to pay to reach her goal.
More often than not, the ability to reach a goal comes down to answering a few simple questions. How badly do you want your dream to come to fruition? Do you want it enough to face and overcome each obstacle? Are you willing to accept sacrifices you’ll have to make?
We have seen the seemingly impossible become a reality. We’ve seen mid-life students receive scholar-ships precisely because they are “mature.” We’ve seen partners agree to short-term sacrifices in order to help their loved one reach a long desired goal. We’ve watched as clients made major life changes, such as relocating, leaving destructive relationships, overcoming psychological difficulties, and so forth, because their goals required these steps. These clients wanted their dream so much they’d endure any hardship to get it.
These “success story” clients are a diverse group, but they have one thing in common. They learned how to manage the process of reaching their goals much the same way that businesses manage their major projects. In other words, they don’t become paralyzed by obstacles, they don’t stop when it gets difficult and they don’t leave the details to chance.
If you find yourself tempted to give up because you see too many potential obstacles, then perhaps you’re expecting the process to be too easy. But don’t let obstacles shut you down. You can face the problems and work out solutions.
The following strategies work for all types of projects, large or small, and you’ll find that people who regularly reach their goals use them.
Big projects are actually a series of small tasks. Sometimes, however, we get stuck and we aren’t sure what to do next. This is the time to ask, “What is the very next action step?” Perhaps the next action step is making a key phone call, writing a list, talking to a colleague, or looking up addresses. Until your project is done, there is always a “very next action step.”
Pressed for time? What about the 15 minutes you have while you wait for an appointment, or the 30 minutes you spend on the bus or train? Make a list of tasks you can work on during these small chunks of time. One client studied for a foreign language exam during a few “stolen” moments each day.
Remember to bring “goal work” with you wherever you go. One of our clients invited key people to join his LinkedIn network when he found himself stranded in a hotel room in a blizzard.
Create effective lists. Consider the utility of different kinds of lists. The first is a list of tasks that should be done today. The second includes tasks for projects that you’re actively working on, but not necessarily today. The third list is a “someday maybe” list. Someday you might learn French, take piano lessons, or plan a trip to China. You might eventually drop these items if you lose interest, or they could end up on one of your immediate lists if they become true goals.
Find a time and organization system that works for you. Many of us use smart phones and computer calendars; others prefer a Day Timer type of system. One person we know puts post-its everywhere, and another client organizes her life on legal pads. The point is to find a system that supports you.
Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or to ask a colleague who has complementary skills to yours for help. Nobody is good at everything and there is no particular value in doing it by yourself if you’re not gifted at all the parts of the project. Do the parts you’re good at and don’t hesitate to ask someone for help if there are aspects you’re not so strong at. You can, of course, contact Lansky Career Consultants for help, too!
Implement one of these tips today – you can create a big difference in your life!