Building Your Roadmap for Career and Life Success

The thing about success is that the same, simple rules and principles always work. You set clear goals, you measure your progress, you adjust and you press through to the finish line.

Now that being said…how many of you started the year off with a clear list of career goals?

  • Going into the final quarter of 2017, how are you designing success?
  • Do you have a roadmap that you refer to frequently?

To win, you must set yourself up and prepare to win.

What I am sharing in this article is nothing new and you may have heard it a million times, but how often are you following this advice?

Be honest. While there is always room to grow and we should be striving for new goals, are you really where you want to be in your life, business or career in 2017?

1) Write down your clear goals.

Sure, you may have it in your head or have a general idea, but if it’s written and you can refer to it every day or every week, your success rate increases by about 75%

Writing it down solidifies your self-commitment and clarifies what you need to do to reach the desired career goals. It’s never too late, go ahead and write it down.

2) Determine the “why” benefits behind your goals.

What is the biggest motivation for achieving your goals? How will your life improve? How will the lives of those connected to improve?

Make sure that what is on the other side of your goals is enough to keep you pushing. If not, go back and really clarify what you want and what you are striving for.

3) Identify your supportive system.

Take a close look at every leader and every winner. He or she did not achieve success as a lone ranger regardless of their background and obstacles they faced in life.

The road to success is paved with hills and valleys and we all need someone or people to give us that extra push or boost when we get discouraged on the way.

Who is in your corner? Do you have access to a good coach, inspirational leader, mentor or buddy that will not let you quit on yourself?

You can also find tons of books, videos, blogs and events that can keep you in right mind and perspective.

4) Develop an action plan.

Don’t just write it down and file it away. Break down each goal into mini goals and then have deadlines on when and how you will get it done.

If you want to go back to school and get your degree. That’s a great goal, but break it down like this:

Life goal: Complete my bachelor’s degree

Mini goal: Research university and adult degree programs to decide which one is best for me (complete by October 5th)

Mini goal: Attend an informational session in person or online to learn more about specific course requirements and admission qualifications (complete by October 15th)

Mini goal: Determine whether the Winter Session or Spring Session is best time to start given my work schedule and personal obligations (complete by November 1)

I think you get the idea now…give yourself progress steps, so you always feel good moving forward.

5) Make a public commitment.

We can all relate to this one. It’s one thing to think in your head that you are going to do something, it’s another thing when you make a bold, public declaration.

Don’t think of this as putting pressure on yourself. There is something powerful about writing and speaking into existence the things you want to achieve in life.

If appropriate, share your goals with someone who encourages you to go the extra mile. This will increase your sense of responsibility.

6) Be realistic about what you cannot control.

Don’t set yourself up for failure. If you want a job as a program manager and the positions you are focused on require a PMP certification, then aiming to get that job in a month is not realistic.

Instead, focus on steps you can take now, today, this week and this month that can move forward. It means learning more about the certification, taking a prep course, passing the exam and then launching a new job search.

Nothing is wrong with creating stretch goals, but make sure you are taking into consideration other variables that can impact your success.

7) Check your progress and adjust as needed.

There is no better feeling than checking on your progress and seeing where how far you have come along the way. It’s easy to be so far into the work and the grind that you can feel like your goals are so far away.

Every week and every month, stop and evaluate your progress. Determine if you need to make changes or adjust your strategies for getting results and more importantly, make sure that you celebrate and reward yourself.

8) Create a visual to keep your goals top of mind.

We always have a clear picture in our head about what the finish line looks like…sometimes a vision board or graphics or bright pictures around your desk can remind you about your goals.

  • If your goal is getting that degree, have a picture of someone at a college graduation
  • If your goal is a promotion on the job, keep of picture of a leader you admire nearby
  • If your goal is losing weight, make a visual list of outfits you will buy to fit your new shape

Again, you get the idea here…whatever it takes to keep you motivated and pull you forward is what you keep in arms length.

Whether it’s the coach who is a phone call away or that friend who will remind you of how you shine or that accountability buddy, reach out for what you need on your journey to new success.

What are your stretch goals for the last few weeks in 2017? What are your motivators for achieving them?