By Steve Duke, LCSW, CPRP, Director of Employment Services, Baltic Street AEH
Step 3: Goal Setting
"'Tis the set of the sail that decides the goal, and not the storm of life." -Ella Wheeler Wilcox
So let me ask you a question, What is it that you would like to do for a living?
Ever since we were first asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We have all pondered this question at least a million times at different points of our lives. Being a grown-up does not mean that you can no longer have dreams, or “occupational day-dreams” as they have been called in the “biz”. It is never too late to find ways to earn money and be personally satisfied at the same time. So take some time and ask yourself what your dream job is. (Remember, keep it clean, legal and realistic!) Start there and you are ready to begin the Goal Setting Process.
Setting a first rate and high quality goal takes a lot of time, patience, and thought. It can seem overwhelming and confusing at times and you may find yourself procrastinating about making important decisions because of uncertainty, conflicting values, negative past experiences, and feeling that you lack the skills, supports and resources you need to be confident.
There will always be times when we need to make important decisions and making these important life decisions will always begin with a goal. The decisions you make will determine the course or direction your life will take. Sometimes, circumstances that are not in our control force us to make decisions that we would not necessarily make if we had a choice. For the most part, however, we are usually afforded the opportunity to make decisions that are born out of a desire to move forward, improve ourselves, and achieve greater satisfaction in our lives.
Setting a realistic employment goal is the most crucial phase of employment planning. A well thought-out goal will steer you true and set you in the right direction. It will help you stay focused on what you want despite the many turns and challenges that may arise along the way.
If you are currently seeking employment, regardless of whether you have a clear goal or not, it is at this point that I highly recommend you contact an employment program to assist you with professional support and guidance. That support will help you stay focused and structured, and assess and organize your thoughts and feelings in a way that will enable you make well informed decisions and begin working on your goals with planned strategies for taking action.
Although I do understand how dreams can sometimes be seen as goals, without a realistic action plan and a lot of hard work, they will simply amount to wishful thinking. "A goal without a plan is just a wish."—Larry Elder.
Remember that when you set a goal, set it based on your preferences and not on your skills. Once you decide what it is you want to accomplish, you can begin planning and getting the essential skills needed to achieve your goal as you go along. Getting to the end zone and attaining your goal will depend a lot more on planning and developing than it will on luck. People who set goals that are specific and realistic are usually the ones who succeed.
A professional employment specialist can guide you through a systematized process of making a goal decision and once you learn this major life-skill, the benefit will be that you can use this method whenever you have to make other important decisions in your life. This process involves exploration into the following areas:
Clarifying Values: Understanding and prioritizing what is most important to you;
Analyzing Past Experiences: Understanding the positive and negative aspects of your past work experiences;
Developing Personal Preferences: Identifying and prioritizing the main factors that will contribute to success and satisfaction;
Exploring Alternative Environments: Finding the best match for you; and
Formulating Your Goal Statement: Knowing what you intend to do, where you intend to do it and, when you intend to do it.
Let me end with some choice words from a Chinese fortune cookie: “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” So follow your dreams and start setting goals that can make them come true.
Note: If you need referral assistance or if you have questions or comments about employment that you would like to discuss, contact us at Network Plus (718) 377-8568 and we will assess your situation and help you get the assistance you need.