Last week we discussed SMART GOALS, this week…
Cars and close ups
Have you ever noticed two cars heading towards each other when observed from a long distance? It often seems likely they will collide on the approach and seems somewhat impossible for both to pass unharmed. What if you were the driver or the passenger of the car? This tends to give you a clearer point of view than those observing from a distance. As someone in the car you also have the most to lose should your calculations be incorrect. This is a bit like the goals you set. To those observing from a distance, they can sometimes seem impossible, irrational, or unnecessarily risky due to the obscured perception. However, to those in the vehicle, they have a much clearer point of view, it is a much more realistic manoeuvre, and to move forward is a necessity to reaching the destination, and a calculated (but informed) risk to get to the next stage in your journey.
As someone in the vehicle, you notice that the once small impasse, now seems much larger as it comes into view -in fact, as you approach the juncture, you notice that not only would it fit, but there was also enough space to get a bus through! Goals and aspirations can often be like this. From afar they seem impossible, or often obscured by the distance needed to travel from point A to point B. As someone in the vehicle, you know as you travel that distance towards the approaching car, the point of view becomes clearer and the room to manoeuvre will come into view. This is the same with goals, both professional and personal. You need to start the journey, get closer to the goal and soon enough it will become clear that you must do to get past the impasse. Do you have to give way? Do you have the chance to plough straight through, or will the other car retreat allowing you to progress onward on your journey toward your destination? You won’t know until closer to the crossroad and you will also learn valuable lessons whilst reflecting in the rear-view mirror.
Have a vision and think big
So, we have discussed the need for ambitious goals and why they are an important aspect of defining goals that motivate you to make incremental decisions to move in a certain direction. However, with ambitious goals, there is also a need for a bigger picture and a vision. Goals are often a set of checkpoints that lead to a wider defining moment. For example, a vision could be to be – I want to be a pioneering surgeon. This is an admirable, noble, and somewhat realistic goal for some. To reach this goal, there needs to be a set of incremental goals that define the pathway to success. One of these goals could be – to get into Kent and Medway Medical School and become a Doctor of Medicine by September 2026. This would then likely lead to a further goal of – to become a resident doctor and pick my surgical speciality by December 2027. These goals are all leading to the bigger vision of a pioneering surgeon, but are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely enough to support you in knowing whether you are on the path to success. The vision can often be vaguer than the goals that you set to get you there, but the goals must be clear, concise, and succinct enough for you to reach that larger vision.
Always shoot past the line
Shooting past the line is a concept I learned from the one and only Matthew McConaughey. On January 7, 2016 Matthew McConaughey gave a classic motivational speech at the University of Houston to the graduating class of 2015. It is considered one of the best motivational speeches of all time and one of my personal favourites – if you fancy watching it (which I highly recommend), you can view it here.
Now, the concept of shooting past the line is based on the theory that we do our best when our destinations are beyond the measurement, when our reach continually exceeds our grasp, and when we have immortal finish lines. McConaughey goes on to discuss Bo Jackson (former American football player) and how he used to run over the goal line, through the end zone and up the tunnel. He talks about the greatest snipers and marksmen in the world, and how they don’t aim at the target. They aim on the other side of the target.
If you shoot for the stars, even if you fall short, you are still up in the clouds where you can get a much clearer view. Shooting past the line gives you the opportunity to shoot, miss, and still reach heights that you did not believe were possible before you ventured on the journey and I highly recommend this as a method to goal setting.
So, setting goals in both your personal and professional lives is not only necessary, but also a necessity. There are short terms goals that act as checkpoints in your journey to more long-term goals that I like to think of as visions, and whilst you cannot have one without the other, the foundation of SMART goals to facilitate those bigger dreams will give you the foundations to develop your vision into something achievable and make your dreams become a reality.
Want to find out more about jobs that suit your skills?
- Go on to the Careers & Enterprise Hub, and under ‘Resources’ click on ‘Labour Market Information’. There, you can ‘explore by skills’ – just click on at least 3 skills, and it’ll show you job roles that match!
- If you click on the job role, it’ll give you more information about average salary, what the role entails etc.