“What are you dreaming of?”
To many this may sound like a soft question but to me it’s one of the hardest and most important questions you’ll ever ask yourself. Why? Well it is deep, meaningful and inspirational when you really think about it, so not that daft a question after all!
What is the one thing that will make you truly happy in the world? The one thing that would motivate you to run through walls for? That keeps you going even when the chips are down or gives you the creativity to try new things when the recruitment gods aren’t working in your favour? This is the most important question that we as professionals and consultants should be asking ourselves; the answer dictates every action and thought process of your day, even if you don’t realise it.
If you’re a natural communicator, influencer or achiever then providing yourself with a genuinely motivating goal enables you to naturally start to make decisions and influence situations in order to achieve it. It’s not just something that I believe as science also backs this up. Google ‘memory models’ to see how the brain chooses what information to store and what to act on. I am certainly not the best goal setter or biggest achiever that there is! Some of the people I have met are way better – my current CEO, MD and a previous MD are a couple of examples of far superior goal setters and I’ve learnt a lot from them.
Setting clear personal goals will help you work out if the business you’re in aligns with helping you achieve them alongside your career development plans as the two go hand in hand. If you’re struggling for a bit of motivation here are a few steps to create yourself some clear goals.
What is it that you are dreaming of?
In the past I’ve had many honest conversations with myself as to what will make me truly happy. In the past it was fairly short-termist, self-centered and probably revolved around things that I shouldn’t have been doing. It wasn’t until I’d met my wife that goals started to have some true clarity and meaning. I remember the date (8th June 2012) I wrote down some goals I truly believed in. At the time it was to marry my then girlfriend and buy a house together; we’ve achieved both of those things.
This is totally individual and has to come from you so be honest with yourself. Don’t take into account what other people want or think (unless you’re in a partnership because communication with them is really important), they’ll only skew your dreams and ideals to match theirs.
Professor Steve Peters of British cycling fame, Psychologist to multiple Olympic champions and mega dreamers, calls this your “Life Force”. He suggests you get to this answer by pretending you’re 100 years old on your death bed and your Great-Great-Great Grandchild asks you “Before you die, tell me what I should do with my life?” Wow. I know that’s deep but the answer (once you’ve really thought about it) is an indication of how you should be living your life. If you’re nowhere near living that then I’d suggest (as does Prof. Steve Peters) that you’re not dreaming big enough.
Communicate your goals
If you’re going to achieve something life changing then it’s fair to say you’ll need the help and support of others. Your boss, partner, parents, friends or family. It’s important to consider the ramifications and benefits to other people and get their “buy in” as they’ll become allies along the way. At Adam we look to understand our consultants’ ambitions and tie their targets and business plans towards achieving those goals.
We find it’s far more motivating to have a chat about how you’re doing against your goals as opposed to how you’re doing against your target or pointless KPI’s. I remember chatting to my wife about doing my first triathlon (which was a bet by the way!) telling her about how much time I’d need to train and the sacrifice we’d both make. But the benefit would be that I’d be happy having been miserable for a long time as I was so out of shape. Conversely the most confident I’d ever been was when I’d been in best shape.
That was 4 years ago and I’m now about to represent GB. Set a goal, communicate it, be passionate about it and you never know what might happen. I rely on my wife for support and advice when the chips are down; on cold wet mornings when I want to chill out it’s generally her that tips me out of bed! Or when I confide that I’m nervous about a situation it’s her that brings me back to reality. The same applies in your professional career; mentors, managers and colleagues should be aware of what your personal ambitions are to help you strive to achieve them.
How are you going to achieve them?
Some people set massive goals that to outsiders sound utterly ridiculous or arrogant. Ask Bill Gates what his goals are -I doubt they’re as simple as buying a house, or getting those shoes he’s always wanted!
Take your massive, life-changing goal and work that back into manageable conceivable chunks and plans you can measure yourself against. Some people say that this is “holding yourself accountable” however that sounds a little too officious to me. I think if you’re really bought into achieving something for yourself, you’ll naturally monitor how you’re progressing. Speak to your manager to help you convert your aspirations into a bespoke plan aimed at achieving these goals. This becomes ‘the plan’, your bible to helping you achieve the things that you want to achieve.
Once you have a plan you have something to measure your progress against. Are you on track to succeed? If not, why not? Is that through skill or execution of the plan? Does the plan need to be tweaked to bring you back on track? Your support network of managers, mentors and colleagues are the people that can help you. If you’re really bought into achieving something, the creativity to do something different will come to the fore.
Whatever you do, don’t settle!
Rolling your goals and ambitions back if your plan isn’t on track suggests that you’re not motivated enough to really achieve it. You might be the person that needs a nudge from their manager or firmer KPI’s such as call times to keep you motivated. Sometimes, in fact often, I haven’t achieved the things I wanted within the right time scales; my goal didn’t change, the plan did.
Write them down
A past MD fastidiously wrote down his goals with his wife, turning their fledgling business into a multi-million pound empire within 10yrs. He was adamant that you had to hand write your goals to truly believe them. I’m not too sure why this is; all I am certain of is that it works.
I write my goals down as a story, including the date, time, where I am, what I’m surrounded by, what I feel like when it happens and who is there with me. Check out the book – “An introduction to NLP”- by Jeremy Lazarus – this really helped me and broke down goal setting to be particularly easy.
Reflect and celebrate…
When you’ve achieved what you want, it’s time for reflection – what went well, what didn’t go so well, did you set your goal well enough? Asking yourself important questions will help you learn valuable lessons for the next things you want to achieve.
As always, when you achieve something it’s important to celebrate accordingly. If you’ve knocked it out of the park then reward yourself with an out of this world celebration. It’s these memories that will stay with you for a lifetime (some of them may perhaps be a little hazy if our high flyers lunches are anything to go by!). Similarly if you scraped by with a narrow win then don’t go overboard on your reward.
For example I know someone who bought themselves a Ferrari then upon reflection thought it was a bit over the top so they didn’t drive it until they’d got things right. Me? I rewarded myself with a new bike as a celebration and pat on the back for getting into the GB team for Triathlon. A Ferrari it is not, but it means just as much to me as the Ferrari did to him.
If you’d like to work for a company that cares more about you than they do the money you make, be sure to speak to Shayne about how we do things differently here at Adam Recruitment. Check out our video about the changing face of recruitment on our Join Us page!