As the new year approaches, ideas turn to goals for 2006. Often times these are personal goals. But what if you want to get ahead at work or what if you want to put into motion the steps for a promotion or raise?
How do you determine what goals to set at the office?
Jim Afremow, a sports psychologist in Tempe, works with athletes and other clients on setting “dreams” not goals, he said.
“I think it’s important to set dreams which inspire us rather than goals which are more the outcomes of those dreams,” Afremow said. “Most of us think in terms of goals – I want more money, more external types of things. The dreams are the feelings you want to have day in and day out.”
If you want to set dreams for your professional life, trying to determine how exceptional a job you can do each day can do this, Afremow suggests. By trying to meet perfection in your duties at the office, it moves the motions beyond a daily duty to a challenge.
“If you have a project at work … if you make it a game, it becomes fun,” he said. “Say to yourself, ‘How well can I do this? How fast can I do this?” Almost compete against yourself. That’s a lot better than asking yourself, “Why do I have to do this?”
Valley-based career coach George Fleming suggests trying to find out what it is you need to increase your status at work and then going after it. It may be education, training or learning more about other aspects of the company to help you get ahead.
Another goal to set in 2006 may be to be more visible and make your accomplishments known.
“One of the things I ask my transition client is, “What’s the stuff you’ve done that you’re most proud of?” The second question is, ‘How many people are aware of it?’”
All employees in any field would benefit from finding a mentor during the new year, Fleming said.
A mentor can help direct you, motivate you, and help you track your steps to achieving a goal.
“You may need to sit down with someone and say, ‘What do I need to get a promotion this year?’ It may be hard skills or soft skills, learning how to work more productively in teams or problem solving,” he said.
Finding a mentor may take some homework. It may be seeking out a supervisor other than your boss at the office. It may mean finding someone outside your company, but who is in a position you desire to be in sometime in the future.
Most people are flattered to be asked to be mentor, Fleming said, and they take the task to heart. The holidays may be a good time to find a mentor since many people stick close to home.
A mentor may also guide you, especially if you’re hoping to move up to a more executive level.
“The people who become executives are good at resolving conflicts, motivating others, sharing a vision,” Fleming said. “I might find somebody in my company who is at the level I want to get at, as opposed to my own boss.”
Any of these paths may lead to an increased presence at work in 2006.
“I think the whole idea of setting goals for 2006 is based upon, ‘How do I crease my value to the company?” Fleming said.
And that may go back to setting a dream.
“The whole dream thing is finding something that gives meaning to your life and trying to create that feeling everyday. When we do have that dream, we’re more productive,” Afremow said. “I think the big thing is most people sell themselves short. A lot of times we use the word realistic,” and that can be more negative than positive because you’re not thinking beyond the obvious.
“That’s the whole point of dreams. How can you have a dream come true unless you have a dream?”