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How to Goal-Set for Your Future

Perhaps you’ve seen the reports that claim today’s students are preparing for jobs not even in existence yet. For an astonishing number of fields, this seems to be true. Who could have foreseen the development of jobs that deal with chatbots or virtual assistants who live halfway around the world?
How can you prepare for a career in a field you aren’t even aware of? What changes will happen in your industry you can’t imagine today? In that regard, how can you prepare for a future that seems to change by the moment?
Individuals who wish to further their career, who are looking to become a better professional, have been told that the road to advancement is marked with career goals. In today’s professional world, however, how can you plan for a career in a world that is constantly changing? Surprisingly, the answer is the same. Set career goals.
Despite the constant changes, setting career goals is still an important facet in furthering your career. Instead of thinking in terms of a specific job, however, it is important to frame your thinking in terms of a career.  How does one do this?
Your job is likely changing now. The rapid pace of technological change has made the workplace vastly different than it was even ten years ago.  Often times, we are resistant to change and grudgingly accept only the new methods that are absolutely necessary. Instead, adopt the new technology and methods with an open mind, and look for ways to expand your abilities. I’m sure you once rolled your eyes at cell phones and wondered if the internet was worth the hassle.
Embrace the new technology that is currently being used in your industry. Take a class, brush up on your skills and know that many times a 30-min lunchtime webinar can give you one new tip that can make the rest of your afternoon much easier.
The convergence of technology in the workplace has created a world where collaboration is a necessity.  Look for ways to work with people in other departments and fields. Studies show that individuals who have mastered the art of cross-collaboration are the most successful in the long run. Hone your collaboration skills by seeking opportunities to work with others.
Writing career goals down on paper is still vitally important to your professional development. Using both short and long term goals to guide your career can be an effective means of marking your progress, and can help keep you motivated.
Rewrite your short term goals in terms of your skill set.
Old goal:
Within five years, be the Managing Supervisor of the Production Department.
New goal:
Within five years, be in a supervisory capacity in the production department, overseeing the technical development of video content.
Framing your short term goals as skills rather than a title will ensure that you are prepared for the future, and can easily adapt to the changing marketplace. Some would argue that the difference is simply semantics.
However, the thought process to achieve these goals is vastly different. If you are focused on attaining a title, you will work on what you currently know is required to achieve that position. If your focus is on skills, however, you will take advantage of learning a variety of skills that you can use regardless of the position you are in.
Old goal:
Within ten years, become a partner in my company
New goal:
Within ten years, be in a position of ownership in my field
Again, your focus is now on the skill-set required to be in the position you see yourself in ten years. Instead of looking for a title, look for the skills that you need for that position. Do you want to be in management? Will your career simply be a tool that affords you to lead a life of travel?
Regardless of your career, you can plan for the future, and adjust your goals accordingly. Look for ways to position yourself so that you are prepared for whatever changes the future may bring to your career.
Changes in the workplace affect everyone. Instead of being caught off guard, set career goals that will change with the times, giving you both the freedom and the flexibility to be successful – no matter what the future holds.
Michele Bailey is president and CEO of Blazing THE Agency and My Big Idea™. These two lines of business work congruently to support her clients’ success.

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