Take Two: Reset Goals & Take Ownership of Self

It is tempting to crawl under a blanket and stew in your own anxiety right now. 

But who wants to live like that?

Remember, the only thing you have control over is yourself and the actions you take. Now is the time to act and implement the steps that will get you to where you want to be. As with many things in life, you must start from within.

Take Ownership of Your Future Self
Most people tend to believe that the person they are today is the person they will always be. It is as if we are under an illusion that we are at the fullest stage of our development right now, that we are fully “baked.” This is simply not true. 

Most people are not the same person they were 10 years ago. A person’s personality, likes and dislikes change over time. Whether these changes are intentional or not, they are inevitable. 

But, while change is inevitable, change is not completely out of your control. If there are changes you want to make in your life, use the following strategies to get to your desired future self:

•    Think beyond your current labels. Generally, people tend to label themselves and think little beyond those labels i.e. “I’m an introvert”, “I’m terrible at public speaking” etc. These are self-limiting beliefs that leave little room for development and growth.
•    Focus on the growth and not the gap.  Look at the progress you have made on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. Tally the small wins and it will be easier to view your future self as a different person from who you are right now.
•    Envision your future self. Research has shown that human beings are not only driven towards progress solely by their pasts but also by their own views of the future. In other words, if you have a clear view of your future that excites you and that you believe you can create, then your present behavior will reflect this vision. 

Okay, now that you have a clear vision of where you want to be, how will you get there?

Time for a Reset
Take some time to “reset” yourself and your career trajectory. Utilize these five strategies to jump start your reset:
1.    Reset your goals. Think of short-term, action-oriented goals that will help you get to your long-term goals. For example, if your goal is to be a director in three years, think of small steps you can take in the near-term like “I will take an online leadership class” or “I will network with three people this week who are in director positions.” 

2.    Advocate for yourself. No one will be your biggest cheerleader than you. It’s easy to think that your work will speak for itself, but it does not. You need to speak for yourself and the quality of your work. 

3.    Connect with others. Networking is something you should be doing regardless of whether or not you are actively looking for another job. Expand your network by not only connecting with those on your current professional level but also with colleagues from different teams and senior leadership.

4.    Hold yourself accountable. Create a “Mentor Board of Directors” who can hold you accountable and support you during your career journey. Reach out to a few trusted friends and colleagues and tell them about your plans. Ask them to check in with you periodically about your progress. This will give you an incentive to make progress towards your goals that you can report. 

5.    Think like an entrepreneur.
Think of yourself as a Company of One. Who is your target audience? What problems can you help them solve? Being on the lookout for how you can help others can lead to new opportunities and will help you build a reputation as a problem-solver.  

Remember, you are not “done” yet. Think beyond your current labels. Create a vision for future self. Reverse-engineer this vision into small, actionable steps.  

Yes, these are uncertain times. But life has always been uncertain. 

The only thing that is certain in this world is yourself and a belief that you can make progress, one small win at a time.