One of the greatest disappointments in life is to spend it pursuing a goal only to realize that achieving it wasn’t what you truly wanted, that it didn’t bring the fulfillment you expected, or that you sacrificed too much to get there. When it comes to your career choices, pursuing the wrong goals is like a heavyweight boxer fighting a lightweight — you may win, but it won’t count.
How do you ensure that the goals you’re pursuing are based on what you really want, and not just what you think you should do or be? Pull out those goals and ask yourself the following questions:
1. Do my vision and goals line up?
Take a step back and look at the big picture. What do you want your life to look like five years from now? Ten years? What impact do you want to make in the world? If you accomplished all of your goals, would they deliver the life you’ve described in your vision? If not, it may be time to create a new set of goals. Don’t let short-term desires derail your long-term aspirations.
2. What sacrifices are required to achieve my goals?
Whatever the goal, it’s going to cost you something – time, money, sleep, complacency, etc. Know exactly what you need to stop doing and what you need to start doing to be successful.
3. Do potential benefits outweigh the sacrifices?
In her book, “Lean In –Women, Work and the Will to Lead,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg talks about the ambition gap between women and men when it comes to pursuing the top rungs of corporate leadership. For many of us, I don’t think it’s a lack of ambition, but rather the recognition of the sacrifices necessary to get there and a calculated decision that it’s not worth it. There is a price to be paid for greatness. Make sure the greatness you choose to pursue is worth the sacrifice.
There is a price to be paid for greatness. Tweet this
4. How will others benefit from my success?
The answer to this is closely tied to the previous question. Don’t just think about what’s in it for you and your loved ones. Who wins when you win? I think about my first coach, Valorie Burton, who played an instrumental role in helping me clarify my purpose. What if she hadn’t been obedient to God’s call on her life to write the book that connected me to her? I might be wasting away in a career I despised instead of equipping and inspiring people like you to walk in their callings. If the only benefit you’re focusing on is your personal happiness or financial gain, take a step back and look at the big picture.
The bottom line? If it’s worth it, pursue it. If the cost is too high, perhaps you need to postpone your efforts or focus on taking baby steps towards reaching your goals – delayed doesn’t mean denied. But if the goals you’re chasing don’t line up, it’s time to recalibrate.
People are counting on you…