If you are in a love and hate relationship with your career goals right now struggling to figure out what to focus on this year, today’s article may help. Goal setting is not new to me. Accept using it in finance for over a decade, I used goal setting as a helpful technique for my own personal growth, career jumps and when working with my clients to help them make successful career shifts.
I developed the following 3 step process:
Reflect how IMPORTANT your career is to you right now (this year).
Discover which PHASE of your dream job JOURNEY you’re going through right now.
Set HOLISTIC career goals to achieve more balanced and fulfilling goals.
There is a lot written about goal setting on the Internet and you may be wondering “Adriana, why are you including these first two additional steps?”
It’s simple – from my own experience (mild burn out, mid-career crises, 2 redundancies in just 18 months just to name a few) as well as from my reseach and experiences of my tribe I made two realisations:
- Career may feel like the centre of the Universe to you right now, yet it is fairly possible that your struggles in working life may be caused by other life areas that are not working well e.g. health challenges showing up in your career, relationship problems impacting your performance at work etc.
- Pushing harder and focusing on goals that are not aligned with your dream job journey can have a negative impact and leave you feel more confused, overwhelmed and discouraged from following your career aspirations.
In next 3 blogs I will focus on each of these steps and use some real-life examples to demonstrate why this process can work for you actually well.
Let’s start with STEP 1:
How important is your career to you right now – this year?
So how do you find out what is best to focus on this year?
Simple. Use Wheel of Life technique.
This exercise can empower you to gain focus and direction.
Wheel of life is a simple technique that can help you assess how balanced and fulfilling your life appears to you right now. It looks at 8-10 important areas of your life. You will assign a score from 0 to 10 to show how satisfied you are in each area.
The outcome is to help you raise awareness and determine which areas of your life need your attention to experience more balanced life.
Here is a list of categories:
- Health & Fitness: Emotional and physical
- Relationships – Family
- Love life and relationships
- Career – an alternative could be”Career-Maternity leave” while taking care of your baby
- Money, Finance
- Social & friends
- Fun & Leisure
- Self-Development – personal growth & resources
- Spirituality / Purpose
- Feel free to pick area that is significant to you
Examples – cases studies:
Miss Confused and Mrs Stressed decided that 2020 is the year to make a positive change in their career.
Miss Confused was in her early thirties. Career was always among her top life priorities. She invested loads of time, money and energy into becoming a chartered accountant. She found her ideal job as Financial Controller and for a number of years was very happy and good at it. But lately she started to feel her work was no longer fulfilling her. She was constantly overanalysing and asking herself loads of questions (Have I chosen the right career path? Is this what I want to do for the rest of my life?).
Her ability to focus reduced and that started to show up in her performance. She was worried, and started to feel bad about herself – her performance and mainly her decision. She started to pull back, withdraw from the conversations with her partner (who unlike her was doing well in his job), hoping she can hide how she feels. After all, she doesn’t want to be questioned – she doesn’t know what is going on with her. Her personal relationship has particularly suffered as a result of her lost confidence and unworthiness linked to her work.
Using the Wheel of Life technique Miss Confused rated how satisfied she felt with these areas of her life.
Miss Confused picked the following as her most important areas – Love, Family and Kids, Health, Career, Hobbies and Fun, Money, Personal growth. She excluded Spiritual as not relevant for her. As she’s scored Social & Friends, Health and Money as highest and as fairly satisfied, it would make sense for her to focus on the remaining areas: Fun & Leisure, Love & Family, Personal growth and Career.
Mrs Stressed Nurse is a thirty nine year old successful nurse. She has a busy schedule, regularly works overtime while taking care of her 3 children and husband. She noticed that she was unable to detach from her work while being home with her partner and family. She just couldn’t switch off and felt stressed. Having realised that this had an impact on her life, she already decided that she needs to change that. She wants to reduce her hours and find less-stressful/more fulfilling job.
What made a difference to Mrs Stressed Nurse was to acknowledge what was occupying her mind – what exactly about work was stressing her out? The first worry was that she felt invisible and not rewarded enough for her work and dedication (after all she was able to fit in extra overtime hours instead of being with her family). She also wanted to contribute more and feel that she’s not recognised for making a difference.
Mrs Stressed was surprised when she saw her Wheel of Life. She changed the category Spirituality for Purpose/Making a difference. Areas that she picked as important ones for her where she wasn’t satisfied were – love & family, work, money, purpose and personal growth. It became clear to her that she wants to have better work and life balance (spend more time with family), earn more while reducing working hours and get paid for doing what she loves – she just wasn’t sure what that would be as yet.
And if you are curious to try this exercise out, create your own Wheel of Life. You can either access it online and draw a circle on a paper in your own journal.
More about this technique and online exercise without the need to subscribe – I find this website very helpful – https://goal-life.com/en/wheel-of-life.
One thing to mention at the end, career change or development is a very UNIQUE personal experience. It maybe easy to make quick judgements about others and yourself. When dealing with your own career challenges and goals right now, remember it’s your own experience – process of learning and discovery. Try to be KIND to yourself (and others) and if you can avoid comparing yourself with others or with the expecation how should your career look like by now.
If you have any questions or experience with this method feel free to share in the comments.
ps: Finding your dream job is more fun when you’re in a community of like-minded people, I invite you to join our Facebook group – ZERO TO DREAM JOB CLUB.
Author: AdriAna Kosovska
Professional and certified coach & founder of ZERO TO DREAM JOB ACADEMY
I work with employees, couples and organisations that care about
Stress reduction | Talents and strengths development | Dream job