Where Are Your Goals Taking You?

I’m going to fess up and admit that I have been lousy at managing my time and setting goals for much of my career; especially the short and mid-term goals. Early in my career I stumbled across a long term goals that sort of worked out for me. I was in my early 20’s, working at a small Microsoft focused consulting company and I and needed to do my annual review.  I had just written a SQL Server article that was published in Network Computing and I was feeling a bit cocky about that. I listed ‘become a world famous SQL Server expert’ as one of my stretch goals. My boss sort of chuckled. It felt a bit like a grown up patting a youngster on the head saying ‘that’s nice sonny’.  So, I decided to show him. Fast forward 20+ years and some folks would say that I’ve had some success in the SQL Server space.

This post isn’t designed to talk about me. But I wanted to use that story to illustrate a point. My career and life would have looked very different if I hadn’t set the goal of ‘become a world famous SQL Sever expert’ and I hadn’t worked hard towards it. Setting that goal changed my life for better or worse. But you know what? I didn’t really think about if that was the goal I wanted. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with a great life. I lucked out since I wasn’t very deliberate in my goal setting.  But I don’t think I want to place the next 20 years at risk by managing my life without goals.

Where are you going? What goals do you have? Will you be surprised at where you end up in a decade?

Here are some insights I’ve had over the last few years. I wish someone had shared them with me 20 years ago, but frankly, I doubt I would have taken the advice to heart back then.

* Intentional goal setting shapes your life.

* You will end up somewhere a decade from now. But it may not be where you want to be if you allow life to bounce you from one place to another with no idea of where you want to wind up.

* The best way to make God laugh is to tell him your plans. :)

Your life is truly like a rudderless ship on the ocean if you have no plans. But at the same time, the best captain can lose their rudder from time to time. Make goals. Be deliberate and intentional about  where you want to go. But recognize that life happens. You also need to be deliberate about taking stock of your plans, where you now, and where you want to be.

 This is a bit more touchy feely than most of my writing. But over the next few weeks and months I plan to devote some time and energy to exploring the topic if techniques and tools you can use to effectively manage and grow your career and I wanted to get some big picture thoughts on the blog that I could refer back to from time to time. I hope you enjoy the posts!

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