No matter your background in life, if you are reading this, it’s clear that you have a mind and capabilities to work toward success. You can make a choice to take ownership of your career and be proactive to build a track record of achievement. As you progress, you will find great benefit in strategic planning. Start with your dreams, clarify these with vision, craft your mission statement to define your calling, and set goals to stay on track. What is the best way to approach this process?
Radio host and personal finance guru Dave Ramsey wrote a book for small business owners called EntreLeadership. His third chapter, “Start with a Dream, End with a Goal,” contains some helpful insights on each step, which I summarize below:
Dreaming – This is great because it demonstrates you have hope and the energy to win, but you don’t want to stop with merely being a “dreamer” who can’t deliver.
Vision – Being able to see a path forward provides clarity to eventually translate your dreams into action for yourself and/or your team. Constantly communicate and reinforce your vision to yourself and the people with whom you work.
Mission statement – Further clarify and define your dreams and vision so that you know what you are about. This helps creates your organizational culture (or in the case of an individual, your “personal brand”) and defines the value for every role or task. This helps you prioritize, focus, and decide when to say “no” to opportunities that are outside the bounds of your calling. The mission statement includes the following:
- What – your skills and abilities
- How – your personality traits
- Why – values, dreams, and passions
Goals – This is where the dreams, vision, and mission become practical and down to earth. There is a “wheel of life,” which includes the following spokes or areas in which to set goals (be intentional and don’t neglect any one of these, even the areas in which you are weak):
Furthermore, there are five necessary attributes for goal-making success:
- Specific – not vague (e.g., “I want to lose ten pounds” rather than “I want to lose weight”)
- Measurable – this leads to measurable progress, or traction
- Time limit – this helps you stay focused and on track so that your goal is not merely something you want to “eventually” (i.e., never) accomplish
- Your goals – you must own the goal, and it must be derived from your dream in order for you to have the motivation to overcome many inevitable challenges
- In writing – many people fail at this point, but the successful ones almost invariably have written goals
Consider these helpful tips as you formulate a career development plan: Dream big dreams. Then clarify your dreams with vision. Define your vision in terms of a mission. Finally, make your mission a reality with goals.