A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of participating in a panel discussion and leading a conversation for employees at Cree around personal brand and self-promotion. In preparing for this conversation, I thought about how personal planning is a lot like organizational planning. We need to assess where we are, get feedback from others, and put a plan in place to move us in the direction of where we want to go.
If you are interested in taking an honest look at where you are and where you want to be, you might consider taking these few steps to put your personal goals in place.
Create a Personal SWOT
Yup, do it. Write it down.
What are your strengths? What do people compliment you about? How do people introduce you? Those are all hints into what makes you uniquely you. Be proud of your strengths; they are what make you uniquely YOU!
Write down your weaknesses. What depletes your energy? What do you need to get better at? Where do you struggle? Hold the mirror up to yourself and reflect. And remind yourself that it is OKAY to not be perfect!
What are the opportunities outside of yourself that you could take advantage of? Are there things happening in your personal life or career that are changing that could create an opportunity for you? Opportunities are typically things outside of your control but that impact your ability to meet your goals.
What are the threats? These are the potentially negative things happening around you. Maybe it’s a career move for your spouse that could mean a geographical move, or maybe it’s unstable grant funding for your organization that may mean a shift in your staffing structure. Again, you likely don’t have a ton of control over these areas, but they can have a direct impact on you.
WRITE IT DOWN. Take an honest look at yourself and your environment and then go ask others.
Whose opinion do you care about? Whose perspective do you value? Make sure to get a variety of different perspectives (spouse, co-workers, kids, leaders of your organization, community connections). Invite these folks for a cup of coffee and ask for their honest feedback about how they perceive you. People LOVE the opportunity to give advice and people love to help others! Ask each person what they see as your strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats. Share your vision/big goal/dream job or whatever you are working towards and ask what steps they would recommend you take to achieve that goal. Ask if they would recommend other people you should talk to as you create your plan. Thank them and let them know you will follow up on your progress (and then make sure to follow up!).
Put It Together
Once you have talked with others, look at your personal SWOT and adjust the information based on what you learned. Now it is time to put this information into action.
What are the 2-4 areas that you want to focus on to reach your goals? Break each of those areas into small steps and WRITE IT DOWN.
To effectively achieve our goals, whether it is a personal goal or an organizational goal, we must get really clear on where we ARE, then create a VISON about where we WANT to be, and then identify the small steps we need to take to bridge that gap.
Keep it simple: Where are you? Where do you want to be? How can you manage the gap in between?
According to a study by Harvard University, people who write down their goals are 50% more likely to achieve those goals, and those who share their goals with another person experience a 75% success rate in achieving those goals.
Plan, and then get out in the world and #DoGreatThings!