Career Success Comes From Sticking to Your Goals

David McMurtry is a friend who works for the Go For It! Institute, a non profit dedicated to helping young people build successful lives.  Every Monday, he sends out little pieces of wisdom and inspiration.

This Monday, David sent a little piece on setting and achieving your goals and career success using golf as a metaphor.  I think it contains some great career  advice.  Check it out…

I learned a few things about setting and achieving goals not too long ago during a golf lesson.

  1. Start by teeing up the ball…every goal starts with a first step.
  2. Look where your aiming – imagine it – picture it – visualize it – keep your eye on it, line up your stance, be confident and be ready to commit 100%.
  3. Don’t try and hit a hole-in-one on a par five, 578, yard hole.  It may take a few shots and that’s okay.
  4. On those times when you miss the ball and it only dribbles a few feet forward, that’s part of the game, that’s in the past, take the next shot – fresh and brand new.  Persistence is the key.
  5. Once you have putted the ball in the hole, don’t forget to tip your cap and show gratitude to all the fans that are cheering you on…wanting the best for you.

Imagine if every goal you set was as clear and defined as the game of golf.  Hit a 1.6 inch ball 500 plus yards into a hole 4.25 inches wide.  It sounds ridiculous to all but those who have played and love the game.  Same goes for your goals.  If they seem ridiculous to others so be it…it’s not their life…it’s yours!

I like a lot of things about what David has to say here – especially his last two sentences.  “Same goes for your goals.  If they seem ridiculous to others so be it…it’s not their life…it’s yours!”

Tweet 6 in my career advice book Success Tweets says, “Make sure your personal mission and vision are what you want – not what someone else wants for you.”  You need to be clear on your mission and vision in this life.  You mission is your purpose in life – why you are on this earth.  Your vision is the direction for the next three to five years of your life.  It should be a BHAG, a Big Hairy Audacious Goal.  It should be your goal – not anyone else’s goal for you.

Don’t let other people undermine your life and career success when they question your goals.  As David says, “If your goals seem ridiculous to others, so be it.”

This is really important career advice.  You need to live your own life and create your own career success.  Over the years, I have had way too many career success coach clients who felt as if they were trapped in careers that they didn’t really choose.  That’s not a good way to build career success.  You have to love what you do.  You have to be passionate about what you do.  This love and passion has to come from deep inside you.

This means that you need to choose the career you love – not what others want you to love.  Parents, friends and peers mean well when they try to steer you into a career they think is right for you.  But, parents, friends and peers are not you.  Only you know what’s best for you.

Many people apply to medical or law school because their parents want them to become a doctor or a lawyer.  However, after a year or two of school, or worse yet, a year or two of practice as a doctor or a lawyer, some of these people figure out that they aren’t living their life purpose, they’re living the life their parents want for them.  And, they have a mountain of student loan debt.  These folks become angry and bitter.  They spend a lifetime going through the motions, never really developing that sense of happiness and career success that comes from doing what they love and what they choose to do.

We all have to find our passion in life and pursue it.  I had a double major at Penn State, broadcast journalism and human development.  My senior year I had an internship at a television station in Scranton PA.  I did well in the internship.  As luck would have it, one of the reporters announced his plans to leave the station right about the time I was to graduate.  The News Director liked me and offered me a reporter job.  I was flattered and really tempted to take it.  This was a rare opportunity.  In those days, most people coming out of college had to spend a few years in radio news prior to moving to TV.  Yet, I was lucky enough to receive an offer at a TV station right out of school.

However, there was one small problem.  I had already committed to doing a year of service as a VISTA Volunteer.  I could have backed out of that commitment, but my personal ethics wouldn’t let me do so.  I turned down the TV news job.  The News Director and my Journalism advisor at Penn State did their best to convince me that this was a special opportunity and that there would be no guarantee that I would be able to secure a similar offer one year later.  They had my best interests in mind.  They wanted me to get off to a running start in the world of TV news.

I chose to stick to my commitment of a year of service.  And I’m glad I did.  That year of service opened my eyes to career success possibilities I didn’t know existed.  After my year of service, I took a job that helped me identify my purpose in life – helping others grow and succeed.  To paraphrase Tweet 6, I made sure that my personal mission and vision were what I wanted – not what my professor, boss, and parents for that matter – wanted for me.

These people were all well-meaning.  My professor saw some promise in me.  He liked my writing style.  He thought I would be a great TV news writer.  Besides that, he saw his students’ work in the broadcast journalism field as part of his legacy.  The News Director saw an opportunity to fill a vacancy with a proven commodity.  My parents thought a “real job,” as opposed to a year of service, was better for me.

However, I had to decide.  And, I made the correct decision.

The career success coach point here is simple common sense.  Successful people look deep inside themselves to discover their purpose and direction in life.  They listen to, even solicit, advice from people they respect and trust.  But when it comes to creating their personal mission and vision, they follow the advice in Tweet 6 in Success Tweets: “Make sure that your personal mission and vision are what you want – not what someone else wants for you.”  It’s your life and your career.  You have to live it.  That’s why you have to choose your personal mission and vision based on what’s right for you – not what other people think is right for you.  Other people, particularly those close to you, have your best interests at heart.  That’s why you should listen to what they have to say; but you need to make the final decision on your personal mission by yourself.  That’s the first step in taking personal responsibility for your life and career success.

That’s my career advice on identifying your purpose in life and pursuing it passionately.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my daily musings on life and career success.  I value you and I appreciate you.

Bud

PS: If you haven’t already done so, you can download a free copy of my latest career success book Success Tweets Explained.  It’s a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.

 

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Comments

  1. Great Article Bud! I recall a saying from my grandparents “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there”. I agree having a clear cut goal is important as well as fufulling your life’s purpose. I often tell others, do what gives you passion in life for though we all are alive not many of us begin to live until we walk in our purpose. Again great article!

  2. Thanks for your comment Bobby — as well as your kind words.
    You’re right –once you figure out your purpose, it’s a lot easier to move forward toward your life and career success.
    All the best,
    Bud

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