Career Goals: Don’t Sell Yourself Short!

I have said in the past that it is extremely important to have career goals, which act as a destination for where you are taking your career. It is important when setting your goals, to take the time to figure out exactly what you want, nothing more, and nothing less.

Clearly defining your goal is extremely important. Use an analogy of driving to a destination. Is it easier to get somewhere if you only know the city or state or if you know the exact street address? Your goals act as that street address that constantly tells you where you are going.

Career Goals
Career Goals

In setting these clearly defined goals, you really need to figure out what you want. Many people will water down their goals during this process because they believe they are too lofty. By doing this, you are giving up on your goal before you even attempt to achieve it. Why? You have the ability to achieve absolutely anything you want to in your career. When you are setting your goals, just think about your current situation as scenario “A” and the goal you are seeking as scenario “B” AND DO NOT TRY TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET FROM A TO B AT THIS POINT. When people think about the route they will have to take, that is when they often start the “watering-down” process. You can worry about action plans and steps you may take later, but when you are setting your goals focus on your desires, regardless of how unattainable you may think they are.

For example, let’s say you have a clearly defined goal of being promoted to Project Manager in the next 18 months. Attached to this goal is a rule that you set for yourself to work no more than 45 hours per week so that you can maintain your work-family balance. In reviewing that goal, you might say to yourself, there is no way I can get that promotion if I only work 45 hours per week, so you change it to 50. You have now altered your true goal and compromised your values by giving up your work-family balance. This decision was based on a LIMITING BELIEF.

In coaching, we help people with limited beliefs on a regular basis. A limiting belief is exactly what it sounds like; it’s a belief that you hold, that limits you in some way, shape or form. Limiting beliefs typically stem from your past. They may have developed from interaction with someone specific or a certain situation that deeply influenced you. In the above example, the limiting belief is that you cannot become a project manager by working 45 hours per week. Why not? Couldn’t you work more efficiently and delegate more? Limiting beliefs often prevent us from not only achieving our goals, but from setting true goals. When you run into a limiting belief, the best way to beat it is to question it!

Where does that belief come from?

How can I let go of that belief?

Now that you are aware of limiting beliefs start to identify, question and overcome yours today. Doing this will help you tremendously in achieving your lofty career goals!

What limiting beliefs are currently holding you back from achieving your career goals as a civil engineering professional?

Anthony Fasano, P.E., LEED AP, CPESC, CPSWQ, CPC

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  1. Goals are overrated. If they worked, everyone would be thin, healthy, and rich. Instead use your time and energy to find work you enjoy, you’re good at, and the market needs. (I know the first two seem the same, but they’re not.) You likely won’t be able to plan this out entirely either. It may take a heuristic or trial and error approach. Be on the look out for odd opportunites, and don’t be afraid to take a chance. The biggest strides I’ve made in my career so far have been due to, what seemed at the time like, the riskiest opportunities. I remember being scared, but I jumped anyway, and it’s made all the difference.

    1. I personally wouldn’t necessarily say that creating goals is an overrated exercise, but I do agree with you that we should focus more energy on the successful implementation of what it is that makes us happy.
      I do believe that goals are necessary in at least giving you a course and a direction. Remember what they day about setting your ship to sail without a preset destination?

    2. I know this is more than a year old but I just came across this article. I find it funny and ironic what you said, Matt. “Goals are overrated. If they worked, everyone would be thin, healthy, and rich.”

      Its funny because often the thin, healthy and rich people are the ones who set and reached their goals. You find fault with goal making but its not goal making that lacks results, its the follow up that people don’t know how to do. We give in because of the “limiting beliefs” or other lack of motivation. Ask the President of the United States if he got there without making goals. haha. You made me laugh out loud at your comment. Goals do in deed work!

      I do agree with the rest of your comment. I think combining our two thoughts would result in the idea of making realistic goals. Not everyone is cut out to be the President.

    3. After reading Bryan’s comment I too, I am taking a second look at Matt’s argumentl. You know that famous proverb, if you fail to plan you plan to fail. Without planning then we are look purposeless being living in this world with not sense of direction. If that is the case, then we also fail to

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