Where are you going? (Part 2)

Returning to the topic of goals and to an idea I often recommend: how about creating a “mood board” for your goals?

Interior designers create a collage of samples of materials and colours; they sketch details and plans to help them clarify and communicate their ideas.

A clear picture in your mind of how your life will look with the goal achieved is a powerful motivator and you can enhance it with a tangible version of your vision – your “mood board” for your future life.

Why? Well, apart from making your vision more real and graspable, it’s also fun – and, I repeat, working towards your goal has to be pleasurable wherever possible so that you don’t lose momentum.

Gather pictures that illustrate what you’re aiming to achieve. Let’s have an example….

Maybe your goal is to run your own restaurant: your board could include pictures of successful restaurants, the chefs who inspire you, the type of food that you want to create.

You could also include other people’s rave reviews to remind you of what success looks like and how other people will see you.

Your values are also key to the whole process so add a statement of the values that will underpin your venture. Service? Quality? Value for money? Sustainability? It’s up to you.

(Your goals and your values have to be aligned or you’ll be fighting yourself every step of the way: for instance, making a lot of money very quickly and being environmentally friendly may be hard to reconcile.)

Many companies these days have mission and vision statements to steer by and they’re just as appropriate for individuals.

Tip: If it’s all in your head – or even in words and pictures on your board – nothing’s going anywhere until you take action so remember to work out what step you need to take first and do it!

When it’s not all about you….

Part of the ecology of your goals is the people around you and this is something you need to think about very carefully when you’re planning.
Who are the important people in the situation and how will what you do affect them?

If you’re single and have no dependants, giving up your job to start your own business will only have consequences for you whereas, if you have a family to provide for, you’ll have to take their needs into account.

There’ll be the financial consequences to consider, of course, but will it also impact on your ability to, say, help your kids with their homework, ferry them to activities or simply spend time with them?

What about how you currently allocate your time? How will that have to change?

What support do you need to put in place to help things go as smoothly as possible?

And this is not only a practical point but a psychological one as well. If your family is used to having you fulfil certain functions in their lives, how will they react when this changes? If you were the one who cleaned up after them, how will they deal with doing it for themselves? Will you and they be able to accept lower standards - at least until they’ve mastered the skills needed? The upside of course will be their increased independence – is that something you’ll see as a positive?

Will your partner understand and support you? Will your success damage their estimation of themselves or will it increase their pride in your achievements?

Whatever reactions you get from everyone, you need to know how to deal with them and how you’ll get everyone onside.

This must be the time for getting everyone together, discussing all the pros and cons and negotiating as fair a distribution of tasks and rewards as possible. Not something you should do when you’re all tired and/or hungry!

Try to set aside a couple of hours when you can all be undisturbed and have an agenda that you can work through calmly.

Beyond the immediate family, who else will be affected by the changes you’re going to make? If you’re going to launch yourself on a new and better life, will this win the support of your friends or might they be envious of your success? And, if the worst happens, how will you deal with the loss of that friend?

It’s important to remember that the people closest to you have their own picture of who and how you are and how they relate to that. They believe, rightly or wrongly, that they know your capabilities and may have a vested interest in keeping the status quo. Keep in mind that when they seem to have reservations about your ability to do something, it’s often a reflection of their doubts about themselves and their own capabilities.

This may seem a touch pessimistic and I hope you won’t get that kind of reaction but, if it does come and you’re prepared to deal with it, it’ll lessen the pain and, if that person is important to you, you’ll be better equipped to help them come to terms with the new you.

To finish on a more positive note, seeing you take on challenges and succeed (whether it’s as you originally defined success or whether you’ve made necessary adjustments) will have a very liberating effect on those around you.

You’ll be a great role model, especially for your kids; you’ll demonstrate in the most compelling way that things can and do get better when you tackle what’s wrong in the right way.

And it’s more or less a given that when you’re happy, it rubs off onto other people. Spread a little joy and watch how everyone benefits!

Dos and don’ts of reinventing your career.

Do ignore the naysayers who’d have you believe that going for your dream job is unrealistic: they’re very keen for you to be “sensible” and “pragmatic”.

But if this is what you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life, you need to go after the biggest and the best that you can possibly get – settling for something “sensible” will leave you bored and frustrated.

Do take the time and make the effort to explore the critical factors that will help you find the work that fits you like a pair of handmade shoes.

You need to be very clear about what values are important to you, what your preferences are in terms of interests, locations, colleagues etc and what resources you have or need to acquire.

Do make the process of clarifying the critical factors as fun and creative as you can: use MindMaps with lots of colour and pictures. Create a mood board with pictures from magazines to illustrate what you’re aiming for so that you have concrete evidence of your goals to inspire you.

Do find yourself a buddy who can give you support and cheer you on: maybe someone who wants to change their life for the better, too, so you can help each other out. A word of warning, though – choose carefully! You need someone who can be objective and won’t just use the opportunity to tell you all about their experiences.

Do consider investing in professional help – then you know you’ll get the objectivity and support you need for as long as you need it.

Don’t assume that you’ve failed if you don’t get what you’re aiming for exactly as you want it or immediately. Put the idea of failure out of your mind – you’ve only “failed” if you’ve given up trying!

Don’t let other people put you off. If you’ve done your research and preparation carefully and thoroughly and you know it’s what you want, go for it.

Don’t forget the benefits of your success for other people – seeing someone else achieving their dream career is very inspiring and motivating for the people around you.

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