Setting Goals With Grace

Questions to ask before embarking on your life’s next big challenge

Did you know fashion designer Vera Wang started her label at the age of 40? However you define success, getting there is never a guarantee, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try. Any of us, whether parenting, going back to school, climbing a corporate ladder, or starting a business of their own, can speak of challenges and discouraging moments, but that is what makes the journey all the more interesting. What’s more, your success doesn’t necessarily happen right out school or at an early age, it can happen any time. Reaching your personal state of success is far less about what you’ve accomplished than it is about what you’ve learned along the way, and the skills and strategies you can share with others in your field.

I have found that those who think there is a shortcut or head-start option are usually spinning their wheels, but not getting where they want to be any faster. Persistence pays off, and the harder you strive toward your goal, the more you’ll see doors begin to open. No matter what stage of life you’re in or level of financial security you’ve reached, there’s no time restriction on going after big opportunities. My own journey hasn’t been easy, and I’m still constantly seeking out new challenges. But adversity taught me that giving up wasn’t an option, and that I could, in fact, make amazing things happen – even when the cards weren’t always stacked in my favor. Having the vision that kept me going, even when circumstances weren’t ideal.

Take a few moments to contemplate where you’d like to be in a few years’ time. Once you’ve envisioned that place, that position, or that state, you can begin to think about the steps it will take to get there. Here’s how you can draw on your natural strengths to continue growing, no matter what phase of life you’re in. Ask yourself these questions:

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What excites me?

Think about that one thing in your world that makes you feel excited and nervous at the same time, or that sparks your curiosity. Are you currently following that passion? If not, what are two things you can do right now to start? This could be as simple as reading an article, or as big as signing up for a course.

What compliment stands out about my professional development?

As hard as you might try, it’s natural to remember criticism over compliments. As valuable as constructive feedback can be in your career, the compliments are just as important to take in. What is a common compliment you receive or one that stands out in your mind as a special-to-you trait? Focus on this strength as you go forward and make it your superpower.

What greater purpose have I always wanted to explore?

They say you get what you put in, and that applies to positivity, beauty, and goodwill as well. How do you want to contribute to the greater good? By dedicating time to causes in your community, whether on a small or large scale, you can make lasting connections and find purpose and a renewed sense of pride in your work.

Who’s my mentor?

No matter your age or professional status, having a mentor or coach as a guide can help you reach your goals faster, while providing valuable insight into the possibilities. Even if your goals aren’t entirely aligned with your mentor’s expertise, their story might inspire you in ways you’d never expect. Don't’ have a mentor? Find someone who you admire and reach out to them.

When you consider where you are today, and look at how far you’ve come, there can be an element of fear. Fear that you’ve “peaked” and that this is all there is Fear that you don’t have what it takes. Fear that you you’ve lost sight of your passions. But, best not let these feelings can’t stand in the way. Take what excites you and emboldens you to do better. Embrace what you’ve learned about yourself. And find wisdom in people who can show you a new way.