Mid Year Career Success Goals Check

It’s July 1.  2011 is officially half over.  How are you doing on your career success goals?  This is a great time to step back and take stock of your progress.

This post is more about goal achievement than goal setting.  You know that you need to set goals in all parts of your life.  You know you need to set S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Bound) goals.  You know that you need to break your goals into manageable milestones.  You know that you need to keep your goals with you.  You know that you need to write your goals and share them with others.  All of this is a great start.  However, it’s just the start.

Successful people do whatever it takes to achieve their career success goals.  This takes commitment and tenacity.  It means working towards your goals when you are tired.  It means not giving up in the face of problems and setbacks.  It means doing what needs to be done, not what you want to do, or feel like doing. How did you do on these fronts in the first half of 2011?

This discussion reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Malcolm Forbes…

“Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs.”

It takes thousands of years and tremendous amounts of pressure to turn coal into diamonds.  While you don’t need to spend thousands of years creating the life and career success you want and deserve, you do have to stick with it.  If you give up every time you run into a problem setback or roadblock, you’ll never become a diamond.  If you can’t take the pressure, you’ll never become a diamond — or a career success for that matter.  You have to stick to it and bear up under the pressure.  It doesn’t take a career success coach to tell you that you need to be persistent if you’re going to achieve your goals.

I am a fan of Lindsey Vonn, an Olympic gold medal-winning alpine skier, who makes her home in Vail; so she’s a local as far as I’m concerned.  She is the most successful American woman skier in World Cup history.

She’s 27 years old and has been skiing for 25 of those years.  She moved away from home and her family at a young age to pursue her dream of being a world class skier.  She started skiing competitively at seven and competing internationally when she was nine.  She is devoted to her sport.

Check out what Lindsay Vonn says about going for your goals…

“When you fall down, just get up again.  Get up stronger, hungrier, more ambitious.  Setbacks help you concentrate.  When success falls into your lap, you lose sight of your goals.”

Lindsay Vonn always gets back up.  I’ve seen her compete after falling and sustaining a terrible bone bruise on her arm.  She had a terrible injury just prior to the Olympics and still won the gold medal in the downhill – the most prestigious skiing event – in the 2010 Winter Games.

I tell my career success coach clients that Lindsey Vonn is someone who can be likened to a lump of coal that has turned into a diamond because she’s stuck to her job.  Remember her story the next time you feel like giving up on your goals and career success dreams.  Remember her story these last six months of 2011 when you run into a rough patch – or just feel like blowing off work to enjoy the summer weather.

You’ve probably heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – it’s a staple in undergraduate social psychology.  In case you haven’t, or need a refresher, here is a quick recap.

In 1943, Dr. Abraham Maslow wrote a paper called, “A Theory of Human Motivation” in which he described his ideas about what motivates humans.  He suggested that human beings have a series of needs which we strive to meet and that the best way to motivate someone is to appeal to the need most relevant to him or her at a given time.  He arranged these needs in a pyramid.

Physiological or survival needs like breathing, food, water and sleep are at the base of the pyramid.  Dr. Maslow suggested that until these basic survival needs are met, human beings will not be motivated by any other needs.

Safety and security needs are the next up on the pyramid.  Dr. Maslow suggests that once people feel that they will survive today, they will be motivated by the need to survive tomorrow, the next day and in the long term.

Love and belonging needs are next.  Dr. Maslow suggests that once human beings experience a reasonable level of security, their needs turn to developing friendship and family relations.

Esteem needs are next.  Once people feel secure and loved, Dr. Maslow says that they seek gratification that comes from achievement, self respect and the respect of others.

Self actualization needs are at the top of the pyramid.  Dr. Maslow often described self actualization as “being all that one can be.”  And therefore, one can never be truly self actualized.  Dr. Maslow suggested that self actualization is the pursuit of perfection.  In other words, once you accomplish something that you previously thought of as the pinnacle, you will find that there is more that you can accomplish.  This is in keeping with the advice in Tweet 30 in my career advice book Success Tweets which suggests that becoming self actualized is a process in which you set  a new and higher goal whenever you accomplish one of your goals.

That’s why I say that career success is a journey, not a destination.  Successful people see themselves as works in progress.  Successful people are never finished becoming all that they can be.  If you want the life and career success you deserve, you need to think of yourself this way.

I’m not suggesting that you take no time to celebrate your successes and look back at them with pride.  I am saying however, that if you want to build long-term career success, you will use your successes as springboards to bigger and better things.

This is true for the balance of 2011.  Set a new career success goal every time you accomplish one.  Develop plans for achieving your new goals.  Work your plans.  And then do it again.  Think of yourself as someone who is “becoming” not as someone who is “complete.”  Successful people realize that there are always new challenges and opportunities.  Some of the best career advice I ever received was from an early mentor who told me to see beyond the horizon, to keep actively looking for new ways to learn, grow and succeed.

The career success coach point here is simple common sense.  Successful people commit to taking personal responsibility for their lives and careers.  Aim high.  Set and achieve high goals – month after month, and year after year.  Do whatever it takes to achieve your career success goals.  You can begin achieving your career success goals by taking personal responsibility for your life and career success.  Do whatever it takes to succeed ethically.  Stick with it when the pressure gets strong.  Do whatever it takes to achieve the life and career success goals you set for yourself.  Respond positively to the negative people and events in your life.  Remember what Malcolm Forbes has to say about career success: “Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs.”  Become a diamond.  Stick with it.  Set high goals, achieve them.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Best of luck in achieving your goals in the second half of 2011.

That’s my career advice on goals and the second half of 2011.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always thanks for reading my daily musings on life and career success.  If you’re in the USA, enjoy your holiday weekend.  Have fun and be safe.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, you can download a free copy of my latest career success book Success Tweets Explained.  It’s a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.

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  1. Forbes got that quote from Minnie Smith (so it’s not really his): Diamonds are only chunks of coal,
    That stuck to their jobs, you see.–Minnie Richard Smith (“Stick to Your Job”)

  2. Thanks for the update. I have found that many quotes get misattributed. I do my best to be accurate when I attribute quotes, but sometimes I am in error.
    By the way, who is Minnie Richard Smith?

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