Goal-Setting: Developing a Vision & Goals for Your Career Plan

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Developing a Career Vision Statement

Having a clear vision of the end state we are trying to achieve before we take action to reach our goals is the key factor in accomplishing any goals that we set. Do you have a clear mental image of who you will be in the future? Your vision is a “picture” of what you aspire to – and what inspires you – in your work life. Articulating your vision statement for your career is the first step in helping you eventually reach your career goals.

Follow these steps, adapted from Randall S. Hansen of Quintessential Careers, and you’ll be on your way to creating a career vision statement that inspires and energizes you.

  1. Carve out a chunk of time. Career visioning cannot — and should not — be rushed. It’s also something that may take several efforts and false starts before things begin to clear and you start getting a grasp of your ideal future.
  2. Review your career goals and core work values. For help identifying your work values, consider attending UC Berkeley’s Understanding Your Work Related Values workshop and learn about setting career goals in our Taking Action workshop.
  3. Suspend logic and pragmatic thinking. Remember that with a career vision anything should be possible to accomplish, so find a way to turn off any negative thinking that will block you from thinking big. Don’t assume the future is limited to what is happening today.
  4. Try one or more of these visioning exercises to help get your creative juices flowing. Think deeply about the questions and answer each as authentically as you can:
    • How do you define career success?  Are you achieving some level of success in your current job? What job will help you achieve complete success?
    • What would you want to do today if all your bills were paid and you had relatively unlimited cash reserves?
    • What would your career be like if you had the power to make it any way you wanted?
    • What you would like your obituary to say about your career accomplishments and the types of impacts you left with the people you worked with?
    • If absolutely no obstacles stood in the way of your achieving it, what would you most like to attain in your career?
    • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or their careers that attract you to them? Is there something about what they have or do that you want for your career vision?
    • Imagine yourself in the future at a point in which you have achieved great career success. What is it that you have accomplished? What does your life look like?
    • Do you feel as though you have a gift or calling? How can you share this gift or best answer the call in a way that will fulfill you?
    • What’s the one activity you most love? Is it part of your career? If not, how can you make it part of your career?
    • Where would you like to be in your career in 5 years? In 10 years? In 15 years?
  5. Put it all together. Using one sentence or a concise paragraph, write your career vision. Consider writing a short vision statement along with a short description of how you currently see yourself accomplishing it – reaching your vision. Write everything in the present tense, as if you already have accomplished it. This creates the right frame of mind – confidence about your future – rather than keeping your vision in the distant future.
  6. Keep your vision visible. Once you’ve created your career vision statement, plaster it in various places and read it and say it aloud often. Imagine yourself achieving your career vision. Constantly reinforcing the image of you in your career vision will help you both consciously and subconsciously develop goals and action steps that will lead you to success.
  7. Review your career vision statement regularly. Your vision can – and most likely will – change as you move closer to it. As part of an annual career planning process, you should review your career vision statement and make any adjustments that you feel are necessary.

Setting Career Development Goals

Goal-setting techniques are used by successful people in all fields. By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure your progress and continuously motivate yourself to progress toward the vision you have for your ideal work life. You will be able to see forward movement in what might otherwise feel like a long, pointless grind. By setting and taking action toward your goals, you will raise your self-confidence.

The following are some tips for setting effective goals:

  • Express your goals positively, rather than framing them in terms of what you don’t want.
  • Be precise in setting dates, times, and amounts so that you know when you have achieved your goals.
  • Set priorities so that you know which of your goals to focus your attention toward and helps you avoid feeling overwhelmed by having too many goals.
  • Write your goals down so that you can visually be reminded of them and so that you can craft them to be precise and clear.
  • Break down your goals into small, achievable tasks so that you get frequent opportunities to accomplish them and feel motivated to take on other goals.
  • Set realistic goals that you can achieve and that are in your own control.

The Staff Learning and Development unit, in partnership with the Counseling and Psychological Services, offers a workshop that helps you take action in your career. For more information, follow the link to Career Development Workshops. Look for the workshop entitled Taking Action and Moving Forward In Your Career. Register through the UCB Learning Center at the blu Campus Portal.

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