How to achieving career success: Dr. Sher Weber's story
Part 1: Setting Goals
I have had the pleasure of coaching Sheri off and on for the past several years. Her laser focus and ability to stay in action to meet her career goals have been incredible to witness. We spoke a few weeks ago and decided to co-write a blog series – but with a twist. There is so much information available about achieving career success, yet it can be challenging to figure out how to apply it to your specific situation. What does it look like in “real life”? That’s what this blog series is all about! Each installment will give you specific coaching tips and strategies as well as insight into Sheri’s story of incorporating them on her path to career success.
Let’s start at the beginning,
The first step to achieving career success and happiness is being able to clearly articulate where you want to go. Most people don't walk around thinking about what they really want and creating a plan to get there. If you want to achieve your goals, you actually do need to do the thinking and planning about what you truly want. Otherwise, your life is lived by default. Thinking and writing out your goals is the first step to making them happen. Your dreams and goals are your internal picture of the future. Everyone has them yet many are unconscious and based on personal history versus deliberately created.
Dr. Sheri Weber’s Story
When I was in my early 20’s, I lost my husband to cancer and found myself at an unexpected crossroads. As I looked ahead at the wide-open space in front of me, I decided I wanted to go to college and earn a degree. I needed a degree to move from the administrative position I held into a management role. That is really all the detailed my plan was at the time. So, I enrolled in a women's college to earn a business degree. One of my key motivators was simply to earn more money, but I also knew I wanted to advance into a position of more responsibility. I wanted to build my resume with experience and education.
During my first year of college, a class assignment required me to define my goals and create an action plan. This was the first time I really thought about what I wanted for my career beyond more money or being a “boss”. I realized I had to do some research In order to create my plan, so I set up a meeting with the company’s human resource manager. She gave me insight on what a path of growth would look like within the company. I also looked at job descriptions to understand what interested me and what skills and education were required.
Once I put the time and effort into writing out my career plan, it was clear I wanted to be more than a manager. I wanted to be a leader. I wanted to help others achieve their dreams and develop top performing teams. I created a career plan that would take me from my administrative position to supervisory and management positions. Ultimately I dreamed of becoming the plant manager!
This was a very important exercise that helped me clarify and visualize what I wanted to do and how I would get there. I had big dreams and a long way to go but I had just taken the first step on achieving my career dreams.
Christine Young’s Coaches Corner
Here are 5 tips for designing your goals and creating a career plan:
Your goals should be a stretch for you but achievable. Many times we go from one extreme to the other when setting goals. If you think too small, you probably won’t be excited to go for those dreams. On the other hand, if you design goals that aren’t realistic, most likely you will feel like it’s too much and set yourself up to fail.
Put aside the “shoulds” and other people’s opinions. Often we set goals based on something we think we “should” do but either aren’t ready to do or it’s not truly what YOU want. Don’t set your goals based on someone else’s opinions or desires. Either of these scenarios will result in you having no real connection to the goal or why you’re even putting in the effort to achieve it.
Focus on the positive versus limiting yourself a negative mindset. You don’t want to create goals based on what you don’t want. It is easier to envision change from a mindset of positivity of what already exists. This calls for you to be imaginative and push aside the limitations you may have created based on where you are right now.
Watch out for the mediocrity mindset. Settling for mediocrity is tempting. It’s easier and more comfortable to sit in “it’s not great but it’s not terrible”. We tolerate, justify and have a list of reasons why it’s OK to not reach for our greatest potential. I promise you weren’t put on this earth to be mediocre or live an “it’s just OK” life. Challenge the human tendency to just settle!
Share your goals with people in your life and who will be supportive. Steer clear of talking about your dreams with those who are prone to focus on the negative. Having positive people in your corner helps with accountability and support. Also the more you talk about your goals, the more likely you are to stay connected to them and follow through.
Take some time to think about what you really want and why. Take the time to research and investigate what you would need to do to get there. Let go of the negative and limiting internal chatter that may tell you it’s not realistic, too hard or you’re not good enough. Focus on deliberately designing goals that reflect what success looks like for YOU.
Stay tuned for part 2 of the series - Taking Action!
Dr. Sheri Weber's Bio
Sheri currently teaches various undergraduate and graduate courses specializing in business leadership. Sheri also works in the private medical device industry focusing on customer relationships. Dr. Weber has been a leader in private, public and non-profit organizations, in the fields of operations and supply chain management. She loves to mentor others seeking leadership or career development. You can visit Sheri’s LinkedIn page: www.linkedin.com/in/sherijweber