During your school years, you have achieved some significant things – goals if you will. You have learned reading, writing, mathematics, science, sports and many other things. This is indeed quite amazing. Imagine you would like to achieve something similar today, for example learning a new language. It would be much harder, would it not? Sure, you have other things going on right now, but this is not the only reason. What was it, that made you so successful (more or less) at school? Probably, it had to do with the following:
There was a clear goal about what you wanted to (or had to) achieve by the end of each term.
You had a clear, proven and chunked-down plan, even with accompanying textbooks.
You got support from your teachers and peers. Your classmates had the same goal so you basically worked as a team.
There were tests with feedback telling you where you stood, what already worked well and where to improve.
Rewards (and Punishment)
I guess you know what that means.
There is a downside as well. Although we get many valuable tools at school the bad news is that we learn little about goal setting itself. How does math help us to achieve our life goals or how can we use reading and writing to live a fulfilled life? These tools are important. No doubt about that. And, they can indeed help us to achieve goals and to live a fulfilled life. However, it feels a bit like giving a carpenter a hammer, wood and a plan to build a boat without telling him that he can cross the ocean with it. If you disagree now, you must have had very good teaches. You learn to read and now you can access the knowledge of the whole world. You learn science and you can reach the stars.
Honestly, a subject like goal setting, where you learn some basics about how to find and achieve your own goals and what it really (this “really” is important here) means to live a fulfilled life is worth considering. Of course, goal setting itself is also just a tool. You would need to learn how to use it and practice it like learning a new language. And, although this focuses very much on your own individual goals and personal happiness it will most likely have a positive impact on the society as a whole because happy people are more productive.
School in most of the cases today is designed to prepare you for a work life how it used to be 20 or more years ago. But the work life has changed, the professions have changed and if you start one job now it is likely that you will change the job (not only the company) several times in the course of your life.
The Good Again
Chances are it has been some time when you went to school. But, that does not mean you have to stop learning. Most likely, you already keep learning. Otherwise, you would not be reading this. You get this businesses training in your company, you read books and blogs, you listen to podcasts or you practice certain skills in a club. This is good of course. But, does this support your goals? Maybe, but maybe not quite. The business training is helpful for your job. It is good for your career and therefore it supports your goal – in a way. Most and foremost, however, it supports the goal of your company. Your readings, podcasts and clubs also might support your goals but it might also just be more a kind of edutainment.
If you have a clear goal with a clear vision, what skills do you need to obtain to achieve it? Are you learning these exact skills right now? If not, think about how you can learn them, reserve some time and make it a fundamental part of your weekly routine. The good thing is there are plenty good resources available, like blogs, podcasts or online classes. A lot of them are free.
Let us say your goal is to give a TEDx talk. Then you might want to learn more about public speaking. You can search for suitable podcasts or read the related book (or audio books). You can even do this during your commute. Or, you can join a Toastmasters club in your area i order to get more insights, practice and support.
When it comes to goal setting, think about what helped you most back in school. We have seen the list above already. Here it comes again:
- Clear goal
- Clear plan
Keep learning, learn on purpose and learn what is supporting your goals.