Category: Goal-setting


How to Avoid Taking the Wrong Career Risks

When making career decisions, risk is inevitable. And to be successful in a job search, you have to be willing to take some career risks. Especially during a tough job market like the one we’re in right now.

For the past four weeks, I’ve shared some unique, out-of-the-box job search strategies. Not all strategies will work for every job seeker or every situation. But, they provide examples of calculated risks you may want to consider so you can stand out above the tight competition, and therefore increase your chances of landing a job.

How to take calculated career risks

How do you take calculated risks in your job search and your career?

It all starts with knowing your goals, your personal mission, and the strengths and skills you’ve been gifted to help serve others.

These factors should be the foundation of your job search, and all your career decisions. If you don’t know these things, you’re taking a dangerous risk.

For example, if you have more than one job offer to choose from and you haven’t taken the time to determine your personal mission, you may make a choice based on superficial things.

I see so many people choosing a job offer based solely on how much it pays. They think they’re making a good, financially risk-free decision. But soon they find themselves in a soul-sucking job.

They realize, by only taking financial risk into consideration, they risked so much more. They risked their peace, their sanity, and even their family.

A year or two later, they’re looking for a new job again.

Doing the foundational work

The foundational work needs to be done before you’re faced with multiple job offers. This foundational work includes clarifying your goals, solidifying your personal mission and vision, and knowing how to best use your skills to serve others.

It’s a process, and it takes time and commitment.

Just yesterday I read a quote that says,

“Most people do not deliberately seek to build on a false or inferior foundation; instead, they just don’t think about their life’s purpose.”

Don’t be one of those people!

Having a foundation already in place will help you know what you should measure your decisions against. This way, you’ll take calculated risks, and make sound career decisions.

Map out your goals

To get started on this necessary foundational work, first find some time and a quiet place to map out your goals.

Using paNASH’s 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan can guide you through this process. It’s free when you subscribe to the paNASH newsletter.

Solidify your purpose and mission

Next, use paNASH’s Personal Branding program, in conjunction with the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan, to help you solidify your purpose and mission. This program will also help you determine your skills and who they best serve.

The Personal Branding program is available in a variety of forms:

The insights gleaned from this program give you leverage when determining which jobs to apply for and which calculated risks to take. This saves you time in your job search. Also, it helps you make the wisest career decisions when faced with multiple job offers.

Taking no career risks is a huge risk!

One thing to bear in mind. Your career cannot, nor should not, be confined or reduced to one particular model or program. Hence the suggestions for out-of-the-box job search strategies and one-on-one career coaching.

But often, models and programs, such as the ones listed above, give you a starting point to gain clarity to your unique situation, along with a foundation to build upon when different situations arise in your career.

I always recommend you use discernment, and consideration of more than just financial gains, when taking calculated risks in your career. But also understand, taking no risk at all in your career, is taking a huge risk. So start building your foundation today!

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How to Plot Your Escape From the Golden Handcuffs

So you’re thankful to still have a job in these current economic times, but you’re miserable in it. You’d love to escape the golden handcuffs to start your own thing.

Now could be a good time to start plotting your escape so your business idea can be ready when the economy opens back up.

But before you do, you need to evaluate your personal goals. And even if you’re not looking to start your own business, but instead want to change jobs or careers, I recommend you also evaluate your personal goals first.

If you don’t take into account your goals in other areas of your life before focusing on your new career goal, you could find yourself more miserable than you currently are.

This goal review should include a detailed plan outlining the kind of life you want for you and your family. Here’s how to start.

Evaluate your goals

1. Write down your goals

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It’s statistically proven you’re 50% more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down.

When plotting your golden handcuff escape, you want to write down more than just your career or financial goals.  You also want to write down your goals for all aspects of your life. This includes your spiritual, family, health, social, and personal development goals. Focusing only on career or financial goals can lead to burnout real fast!

For help with all types of goals, download my 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan. It’s free when you choose any of my subscription options.

2. Look for complementary goals

Once you’ve written down your goals, look for areas where the achievement of one goal will result in the achievement of another goal.

For example, you may have a goal to become healthier by exercising more, while your new business venture will require some regular physical work.

3. Pay attention to competing goals

Don’t ignore where you may have competing goals.

For instance, you may want to have more time with your family, but your career goal will require a lot of business travel.

I’m currently working with a client who, when we first began working together, had a short-term goal of starting her own consulting business. But, after working with her on her goals, she realized this goal was in competition with her new family dynamic. She recently gained custody of her 13-year-old nephew and wants to provide a solid, stable home for him for the next five years.

Her goal for her consulting business hasn’t been dashed. It’s just been changed to a long-term goal. Her new short-term goal is to find a stable job that will put her in front of future clients and strategic partners for her long-term goal.

Author Pamela Slim says in her book, Escape From Cubicle Nation:

“Over time, as your life changes, you can adjust the plan. The important thing is to think about your ideal life before you make any serious decisions.”

4. Include your family’s input

For this reason, you’ll need to include your family in your goal-setting and goal review process. Their input is essential because your choices will significantly impact them as well.

Consideration needs to be made not only for your spouse, but also for your children and/or aging parents under your care. Each member of the family should weigh in on what an ideal life would look like.

You won’t all agree on everything, but there should be agreement on some major areas. Creating a family mission statement (or personal mission statement if you’re single) can help you in making big decisions and coming to agreement in those decisions.

Once you have a personal or family mission statement, you can use it to weigh important decisions. You do this by observing which decisions best support your mission statement.

My Personal Branding program works in conjunction with the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan, and can be adapted to families as well. You can also use it to help you flesh out your business idea or next career move.

5. Find room for your life

You’re original reason for trying to escape the golden handcuffs, likely had something to do with wanting more work-life balance.

Use your evaluation of your personal goals to find creative ways of making room for the life part of your work-life balance goals. Do this before you get so wrapped up in your new career goal you have no time for life. You’ll be glad you did.

Things that will thwart your escape from the golden handcuffs

1. Not trusting the process

Some clients who come to me wanting to break out of their current job to start their own thing, often want to jump ahead of the process listed above. This is usually because they’ve waited so long to start making such plans, either because of fear or lack of confidence. Which leads to a desperation to jump into something new without doing the necessary research and prep work. As a career adviser, I have to say this is a dangerous reason to start something new.

If you’ve overstayed in your current job and you’re now anxious to get out, resist the temptation to:

  • Skip the goal evaluation process all together.
  • Get impatient with the process and quit before you’ve completed it.
  • Forgo your due diligence and research
  • Become inflexible about your business idea.

While passion is important, your business idea should also be something people need and can benefit from. This is why the Personal Branding program includes the process of figuring out if there’s a market for your idea, who your market is, and how you help solve your market’s need or problem.

2. Unwillingness to make necessary financial sacrifices

Other clients who come to me wanting to leave their current job for something new, such as starting their own business, will often say they’re ready to make the transition. However, they attach a condition to it. They say they must immediately earn the same amount of money they’ve been making, or more. This is an unrealistic expectation.

Therefore, it’s important to do the goal evaluation first and to include your family in the process, as suggested above. You must look at your finances to make sure you can afford to start something new. But, you need to be realistic about this as well.

If you say you need to earn the same amount because you’re putting your children through college or have some large medical bills, that’s one thing. But if it’s because you think you can’t live without your current lifestyle of a fancy car or the latest big screen TV, that’s another thing. Working for such things is what’s keeping you in your golden handcuffs, and keeping you from a more fulfilled life.

Speaking from personal experience, when I left my job to start my own business, I had to cut out A LOT of things I thought I couldn’t live without. This included both big things and little things. And guess what? Not only do I not miss those things, I feel freer without them.

My life has become more simplified, allowing me time for more important things in life. Plus, making short-term financial sacrifices has led to a more secure financial future. I’ve been able to pay off my debt and put myself on a more solid financial footing.

Serving others

Don’t get so enamored with financial success and making more money that you can’t see a new career move as a means to a great life. Sometimes you have to sacrifice more in the short-run to have more in the long-run. But if your goal is only to serve your bank account, you won’t find fulfillment in your current job, your next job, or your own business.

Although no one starts a company or changes careers without the goal of making money, the ultimate goal should always be, first and foremost, to serve others. As you do, you’ll find the fulfillment you’re seeking, even if you’re making less or more than you currently are.

I love serving my clients and people like you who want to have more balance in their lives and career. This includes not only providing you one-on-one career coaching services, but also online resources available on-demand.

Resources to help you escape the golden handcuffs

You can start with the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan, free with any paNASH subscription option. In addition, you can purchase the Personal Branding book for as little as $9.99. Or, you can get it free with your purchase of the Personal Branding on-demand course.

In addition, I’ve listed below some books and classes helpful in escaping the golden handcuffs and starting your own thing.

  • Book – Escape From Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur, by Pamela Slim
  • Book – Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time or Money, by Pat Flynn
  • Nashville Community Education Commission virtual class: Start Your Own Business
  • Nashville Community Education Commission virtual class: How to Write a Business Plan

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How to Stop Procrastinating During and After the Quarantine

As I sit down to write this post, I’m procrastinating. I don’t feel like writing it because it’s a beautiful day and I’d rather be paddleboarding. It’s one of the few things I was able to continue doing during the quarantine.

While I don’t usually procrastinate, there are times when I do. And this is one of them.

Another time was when I was a junior in high school. I had an English class assignment to read a book entitled, A Walk Across America, and write a journal entry for each chapter of the book.

I did read the book. But I was procrastinating on the journal entries. I told myself I’d go back and do them after reading through the entire book first. This was not a good idea.

After reading the book, the journal entry portion of the assignment now seemed too daunting. I never did finish the full assignment. I only turned in three or four journal entries and therefore did not get a good grade. Thirty years later I still remember this.

Better late than never

About five or six years ago, I decided to re-read the book and even journal the rest of the chapters.

In doing so, I learned the author, Peter Jenkins, now lives near me just outside of Nashville. I contacted Peter and told him the story above. He got a good laugh out of it and of course said, “Better late than never!”

I often wonder to myself, “What if Peter had procrastinated and never took his walk across America?” He surely wouldn’t have high school English instructors using his book to teach young minds about the importance of pursuing goals and adventures.

How to stop procrastinating during the quarantine: get to the root of the problem

Procrastination isn’t a good thing. But it’s easy to do, both when you have more time on your hands, like during a quarantine. And, when you’re busy getting back in to the swing of life post-quarantine.

Because so much has been put on hold due to the pandemic, it can be tempting to also put your dreams and goals for your life on hold.

How many years have gone by where you never did what you said you wanted to do? How many more years do you want this to continue happening once we’re past this crisis?

Make this crappy year of 2020 the last year you say next year.

Here’s how:  you first have to get to the root of what causes you to procrastinate, especially if you’re a chronic procrastinator. So let’s first figure out your reason for procrastinating.

1. Is your goal not urgent enough?

If you don’t think your goal is urgent, then ask yourself if you’ll be disappointed again if you haven’t completed it by the end of the pandemic. If the answer is yes, then your goal has now become urgent.

Look at some of the other goals you have for yourself and ask the same question. Then choose the most urgent of those you said yes to, and commit to beginning it now.

2. Do you feel like you don’t know where to start?

Well, whether you realize it or not, you’ve already started just by reading this post and determining which of these reasons are causing you to delay your goals.

And if you’ve read last week’s post (“How to Stay Focused on Your Goals During the Remainder of the Pandemic“), you should’ve already started with the first few steps in the complimentary 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan. If not, go back and do so.

Now you have a place to start, so you can no longer use this as an excuse.

3. Are you afraid of failing?

You won’t be considered a failure if you at least give your goals a try. It’s when you don’t try at all you’ll be seen as a failure.

I’ve written a lot in my blog about the fear of failure. If this is your reason for procrastinating, I suggest you type the word “failure” in the search box of this blog and read what pops up!

4. Do you work better under pressure?

This might be about the only legitimate reason to procrastinate, but be honest with yourself about it. Is this really true about you? Or are you just saying this because you don’t want to admit any of the other reasons?

If you know this is true for you, and you honestly produce your best work having a tight deadline, then keep doing this (since it seems to work for you!). But go ahead and set your deadline for your goal.

5. Do you just not want to do the work?

If the amount of work it takes to accomplish your goal feels overwhelming, choose some other goals you’re excited about. Ones you won’t easily get bored or overwhelmed with. Start with those.

Once you see how you’re able to accomplish these goals, you’ll find it easier to accomplish your other goals.

How to stop procrastinating after the quarantine: take action

Now that you’ve figured out which reason or reasons for your procrastination, it’s time to set and prioritize your goals. Again, use the free 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan I gave you in last week’s post.

Then, find an accountability partner. Someone who you can report to periodically on your progress (but not someone who’s going to nag you about it). Someone who wants to see you succeed, but doesn’t necessarily have a personal stake in the results of your goals.

Also, write down dates in your calendar and set alarms on your phone for check-in points (either every month or every 90 days).

I recommend using a Passion Planner since it’s specifically designed to help you accomplish the goals you’re most excited and passionate about. I’ve used one every year for the past five years. I honestly don’t think I would’ve accomplished as many things as I have without my Passion Planner.

Finally, at the end of each quarter, look back over what all you’ve accomplished thus far. This will give you the confidence and the momentum you need to finish out the remaining steps and tasks for your goals.

The truth is, post-quarantine won’t be any different than pre-quarantine if you don’t make the choice to change.

By the end of this pandemic, instead of saying, “I’ll do it later,” you’ll be saying, “What’s next?!”

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How to Stay Focused on Your Goals During the Remainder of the Pandemic

“Focus precedes success.” Bobb Biehl

Last week I shared with you a goal-setting method for those who hate goal-setting. It appeals more to people who like problem-solving.

But whether you prefer problem-solving over traditional goal-setting methods, or vice versa, it’s important to stay focused.

So how do you stay focused on your goals and solutions, especially during a pandemic?

Taking stock during a pandemic

At the beginning of 2020, I set some goals for myself like I do every year. But then the pandemic occurred which threw a wrench into my plans.

However, instead of letting the mandatory quarantine totally derail my goals, I chose to focus on those I could work on during the extended lockdown.

One of the things I did to stay focused on those goals was to follow what I teach my clients. I help them not just set goals but achieve them so they can pursue their passions in life.

I have an 8-step method to achieving goals which has always worked for me, and also works for many of my clients.

The method has helped me achieve several short-term objectives over the past few years that have added up to the achievement of some long-term and ongoing goals.

The goals I continually focus on include:
  • Improving my career coaching business.
  • Paying off any and all debts.
  • Saving more money.
  • Learning new things.
  • Having fun and adventurous experiences.
  • Growing spiritually.
For example, in the past 12 months I…
  • released my 3rd book
  • took a writing class
  • completed a six-month jiu-jitsu fitness class
  • increased my business’s revenue by 47% and profit by 33%
  • spent more time traveling to see family
  • took a vacation to Florida
  • went on a silent retreat
  • paid off my car
  • and got on track to pay off my home two years early

…all while running a business, recovering from a shoulder injury, helping my uncle in Knoxville who’s ill, and having to undergo surgery this past January.

I’m not special. Anyone can accomplish similar goals, as long as they stay focused and follow through on their goals.

4 things that keep me focused on my goals

When I look at the above list considering all I had on my plate, I wonder how in the world I’d accomplished so much in such a short time.

But I know there were four things that helped me stay focused and achieve all of the above:

#1. Writing down my goals

The simple act of writing down my goals made it more likely for me to achieve them.

I noticed most of the things I wrote down got accomplished, while most of the things I didn’t write down, didn’t get accomplished.

In fact, statistics indicate that people who write down their goals are 50% more likely to achieve their goals than those who don’t.

So even if the pandemic is preventing you from accomplishing some of your goals, you can use this time to put them in writing or update the ones you’ve already written down.

#2. Following a plan

I practiced what I preach by following the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan I’ve developed for my clients.

You don’t have to be a paNASH client to utilize this plan. It’s available for free when you subscribe to my basic, advanced, or premium subscription services. (Click here to see what’s included in each subscription level.)

Now may be a good time to start planning some future goals, even if you don’t yet know the full impact of the pandemic on your future plans. You can start planning now, and then you’ll already have something to tweak if necessary in the near future.

#3. Tracking my goals

I kept track of my goals and the steps to achieving them in my Passion Planner.

A Passion Planner is a wonderful calendar resource letting you map out your goals for the year and then showing you how to prioritize the steps to achieving those goals.

“The key to balance is scheduling your priorities a year in advance.” Bobb Biehl (executive coach and author)

The other great thing about the Passion Planner is it has wonderful reflection questions at the end of each month, such as:

  • What were the three biggest lessons you learned this past month?
  • How are you different between this past month and the month before it?
  • What three things can you improve on this upcoming month?

Also, the Passion Planner comes in an academic version starting in August and going to July 2021. And it comes in an undated version, letting you start anytime. These calendar options are especially helpful if you feel like chucking the awful first half of 2020 and starting again with a do-over!

#4. Staying disciplined

Staying disciplined is the most important key to keeping myself focused on my goals!

Like I said earlier, I’m not special. It just takes commitment to sit down and plan what I want to accomplish, diligence to complete the necessary steps, and discipline to follow through on what I tell myself I’m going to do.

And when life throws a curve ball like a pandemic, I remain flexible to revisit, rethink, and retweak my original goals and solutions.

You can do this too!

Stay focused during the remainder of the pandemic

Without these four things, I never, ever would’ve been able to achieve all I have in the past 12 months.

While other methods work better for some people, this is what works best for me in staying focused on my goals.

I’ve also seen it work well for many of my clients. Perhaps it could work for you too!

Just imagine what you can accomplish this summer as you continue during this pandemic to find more time for what’s most important in life.

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How to Set Post-Quarantine Goals When You Hate Goal-Setting

Last week I talked about how it’s time for a 2020 do-over. Although our first quarter goals got chucked out the window due to the coronavirus, we now have the opportunity for a do-over as we slowly enter post-quarantine.

But maybe the method I shared last week for having a successful do-over doesn’t resonate for you. Maybe you’re less of a visionary or planner, and instead are more of a problem solver.

If this is the case, there’s also a method available to problem solvers like you to help you achieve your post-quarantine goals.

Goal-setting for those who hate goal-setting

There are all kinds of ways to set goals and several resources available for goal-setting as outlined below. I personally have used various ways such as vision boards, mind mapping, lists, and my Passion Planner calendar.

But if problem solving is more your thing than goal-setting, listen up! There’s a simple way to set goals from a problem-solver’s perspective according to Bobb Biehl. It’s a great method for those who cringe at the thought of setting goals but light up at opportunities for troubleshooting.

Here’s how it works:  create a chart first listing 2-3 problems in your life you want to solve. Then think about what goals would help solve those problems. Finally, list the opportunities you have surrounding those problems and goals. The opportunities are the steps you would take to solving your problems and, as a result, will achieve your goals.

Here’s what the chart looks like:

By starting with a focus on the problems first, you’ll be more motivated to set goals since this approach matches your skills and your preferred method of working.

Even though I’m not one who gets excited about problem-solving, I decided in this post-quarantine time to use the above method. It’s actually helped me think of some goals I may not have considered having not followed this approach. It’s even flexible enough to allow me to incorporate some of the other goal-setting tools I’ve used in the past.

The best resources for post-quarantine goal-setting

No matter how you prefer to set your post-quarantine goals, I encourage you to utilize the resources I’ve provided over the years that have also helped me achieve my own goals.

These resources include the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan, a 15-page resource designed to help you get out of a rut, free with any subscription option, including the free basic option.

This free basic plan also includes:

  • Weekly blog post alerts, letting you know the minute I’ve posted my most recent blog and audio posts on topics such as career change, career etiquette, pursuing your passions, interviewing, and more.
  • Bi-weekly “Sunday Inspiration” posts which are full of encouragement and motivation.

You also have the option to upgrade your subscription and receive the following:

  • One complimentary résumé critique
  • Earned credits for one-on-one career coaching
  • A “fast pass” for priority scheduling
  • 5 e-books on various job search topics
  • 8 career success video courses (save an additional $200 off the regular price for the on-demand bundle)

For more details or to subscribe, click here.

By using the above methods and resources, you’ll be able to look back one day and see just how much you’ve accomplished in your life and your career.

Happy post-quarantine, and stay well!

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