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Mapping the winding path to your personal success


Mapping the winding path to your personal success

As talent recruiters, we talk a lot about goals. How do we set them and measure them? Are they right for us? Your goals are the little steps on your way to success; you’ll set them incrementally, getting you closer brick by brick to your final destination - which is, of course, success, what we’re here to talk about today.

First you need to define what success means to you. Why set a goal to do one thing when success is something else? Believe it or not, this happens all the time - because you’ve either allowed your goals or your definition of success to be determined by someone else. Is success retiring when you’re forty or waking up with a smile every day? Your goals on the way to that may look very, very different.

List what you want to achieve - and then list why. If you can’t define it well or can’t explain why you want it, congratulations, you have one nuisance to cross of the list. That isn’t your expectation, it’s one someone made for you that got into your subconscious. Another reason this helps on your path is the navigation of the actual route. There are a hundred ways to get to that year 40 retirement. Some of them will make you happy, some of them will make you miserable - and be careful what you wish for because some could land you in prison! If you know all the small things you want to accomplish on the way to retirement at age 40, you can put them in an order that will get you there. And cross off the felonies.

Life is hard - celebrate it. You’ll have failures and they’ll hurt. Some will be humiliating and some will be hard to forgive, but do your best to shake them off and learn. One of the best ways to rise above your failures is to talk about them. You learn more, you find out you aren’t alone in them, and you’ll create accountability so that they are less likely to happen again. Not to mention the help you will be to others, and that creates a level of trust in others that means they can rely on you and vice versa. Failure can actually expand your support network if you learn from it instead of hiding.

Don’t mind the detours. Take the scenic route, stop for photos and a hearty meal! Get lost but ask for directions. You’ll find your way out eventually and get back to where you’re going - or let’s be honest, sometimes your destination changes. But change it for the right reasons. Don’t question what you’re doing unless you know it no longer feels right to you. The path to success is winding and it has mountains and valleys; it’s sunny but it floods. Sometimes there’s construction; sometimes you’re out of gas or need maintenance. You’ll get where you’re going one way or the other!


Failed Goals? Switch to the “IAA Method”


Failed Goals? Switch to the “IAA Method”

With the holidays and 2018 looming on the horizon, we are already turning inward and thinking through the year we had, the goals we set forth, and how we measured up.

I believe a good goal needs three things -  a perfect mixture of IAA - Inspiration, Accountability and Accessibility.

Early in my career I used a different acronym for judging my goals. You probably have heard the “SMART” formula: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. The idea is, if any of these attributes are missing from a goal you are less likely to achieve it. SMART is a solid formula - I like it, it has served me well. I admit to getting lost in the actual planning. When using the SMART system I found that I got distracted by not having the perfect answer for one of the SMART letters. This can lead to planning so much that you never get around to executing.

Sometime in the last couple years I found a better way to think about goals. This completely changed my personal ‘goal protocol’. Instead of laboriously going through (or half making it through) the whole SMART thing, I stopped to think about what really mattered to me in a goal. Why do we have them, and why are they the key to success? Now before any personal goal ratification I simply ask myself these three questions.

  • Inspiration: Does the goal inspire me to create a better version of myself or my business?
  • Accountability: Does the goal put something at stake to keep me accountable?
  • Accessibility: Do I have the resources (time, ability, etc.) in place to execute?

Once I get the go ahead to check those boxes, I use them to help me put together a “Goal Statement”. I shall share a personal example. :)

“Start my own executive search firm in the next five years”.

(Yup, that was my first serious IAA goal!)

Did it inspire me? Heck yeah it did. I was so excited about being able to figure out how to set up an actual business. I come from a family of small business owners and I was super-excited to personally develop as a business owner.

Think about a goal you have, or one that you have been toying with committing to. Are you inspired to be a better person? Will you be volunteering and helping others? Perhaps reading a book on a subject you love but have fallen out of touch with. If it is inspirational to your person, your business or your craft, you can check this box.

What was at stake? At the time I moved on to start my own business I was working at a super-exciting startup. I loved all of the startups I have worked at - truly. I just want to do it my way! Doesn’t that sound kind of terrible? I wouldn’t dare say that out loud in a team of 25; it sounds egotistical, aggressive, know it all-y. Change the scene to being in charge of  your own company, no matter the size or scope, the good or the bad, it is completely allowed! Not being able to have this creative freedom at work was demotivating me. I want to live a life I design and I love, and so being able to recruit with my style, and my approach was at stake.

If your goal is to take your parents to Italy for their anniversary and you don’t hit your goal, how will that make you feel? If your goal is to write a book and five years later you realize you haven’t even written a blog post are you ashamed, embarrassed, determined? (Or is it time to switch goals? Just saying…)

Can I do it? This one took some time. Bob, the CEO of my first startup, Quid, early on suggested, or never let me forget, the idea of starting my own recruitment firm. I had other backers and supporters as well. In any case, I ran the numbers, and decided I would give it a try. That past two years have been awesome. I love bending and flexing my network and creating meaningful connections.

Do you have enough savings to take away from your current job? Do you have enough time to volunteer in the cancer ward? How is your family workload at the moment?

Once I have put my goal through my Inspiration, Accountability, and Accessibility lens, I like to write it out and post it on the corkboard above my desk for double the inspiration.

The best time to start setting goals is today. Don’t wait until the New Year when you can go into it clean, prepped, planned and ready to execute!