Everyone has certain goals in life. Whether it is to pass an exam or get through recruiting season successfully, setting goals is an integral ingredient to a successful career. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t necessarily have to meet all of your goals in order to be “successful.” Thanks to Nidal’s suggestion, a follower on Twitter, this blog post will be about goal-setting and my personal take on how to set goals for yourself that will guarantee success. As always, I will not only share with you certain goals that I have set in my life that I have achieved/exceeded, but as importantly (if not more), I will discuss milestones that I have previously set that I was not able to achieve. Through my latter discussion, you will see that not achieving certain short-term goals can be extremely fruitful in the long-run!
“Goals are the fuel to the furnace of achievement.” – B.T.
Whether you are currently a student or a working professional, setting goals is truly imperative. Why set goals? Because goals help guide your thoughts and actions towards a certain path and without setting goals, you will not be able to hold yourself accountable down the road. A strong vision for a company is comparable to a strong goal for an individual. It provides direction, motivation and courage to achieve the aspiration in mind. If we do not specify what it is we want in a given period of time (one month, six months, one year, etc.), we have no reason to be upset if we are behind our peers in a certain area. That is one thing that I love about PwC (out of the many as you probably know by now)! It is mandatory for us to collaborate with our coaches and set goals for ourselves that we hope to accomplish by the end of one fiscal year. When done properly, goal-setting at PwC can guarantee you personal fulfilment and success!
Goals are very personal and tailored to each individual. Keep that in mind. What might seem like a realistic goal for you may be out of reach for another individual and vice versa. Through my vast experience riding the highs and lows of life, I have come to realize that the most successful goals encompass the following characteristics:
Desirable yet believable – Always set goals for yourself that are above what you personally think you can accomplish, yet not too far from reality. This makes your goals desirable yet believable because with hard-work, persistence and perseverance, nothing is impossible. Nothing good in life comes easy otherwise we would all suffice for the ordinary. Ensure that the goal that you set for yourself not only exceeds your own expectations, but also the expectation of others as this will truly motivate you to outperform everyone.
I remember when I was a summer student at PwC in 2010, everyone would always say that no summer student can get a rating of “exceeds expectations” on all jobs as this is just “not possible” and “not realistic.” What did I do? I took this as a challenge and set a goal for myself that by the end of the summer, I will not get a rating lower than “exceeds expectations” on any of my audit engagements. By working hard all summer and using the challenge as an underlying motivating factor to do well on all my clients, I have not looked back since. I proved to myself that once you put your mind towards achieving a certain goal in life, no matter how much one thinks of it to be “impossible,” you are in control via your efforts as to how achievable the end goal is.
Measurable yet flexible – Goals are not meant to be static and can actually change in form over time. The best goals are those that are flexible and responsive to real-life situations. Why? Simple. Take this example relating to the recruiting process. You might set a goal for yourself that by November, you will have secured a full-time/co-op/summer position with a public accounting firm. Now what happens if you do not achieve your goal? Do you just give up or do you adapt to the situation, learn from your mistakes and look forward to preparing for next year’s recruiting season where you know for a fact that you will land your dream job? I will let you answer that one for yourself.
Going through the UFE process, I initially set a goal for myself that I want to pass all my exams the first time around. As I will be writing the UFE next year, I had to re-evaluate my goals and further enhance them in a way that not only will I pass the exams next year, but I will do so with distinction and by getting on the honour roll. Is this the “best-case scenario” and “unrealistic?” Some might think so. Is this believable for me and am I allowed to be flexible with my goals? Most definitely.
10% reality yet 90% attitude – You define what “meeting a goal” means. To me, meeting a goal is 10% reality, (did I infact accomplish what I had set out for myself) and 90% attitude (did I give it my absolute everything). No one is perfect. If you read one of my previous blog posts, you will know that everyone is bound to face failure at some point in his/her career. I have not met many goals I have set out for myself, but what keeps me going is my attitude. My attitude to never let the past bring me down and knowing that in the long-run, not only will I just “meet” the goal but I will “exceed” it in every sense possible. That is the attitude that you should have when setting goals. Trust me, it works.
Going through the recruiting process for any position is very competitive. That is a known fact. But what might not be so obvious is that those that do land their dream jobs do two things that most of the competition does not do: dream big and look past short-term failure. By setting the right goals and embodying the right attitude to “achieve” those goals, I guarantee you that this recruiting season will be a memorable one for you!
As always, I hope you enjoyed this blog post and learned about the importance of goal-setting and what characterizes the best goals. Want to have a say as to what the topic of my next blog post should be about? Add me on Twitter (_fahadmeer), Facebook and/or LinkedIn and share your ideas with me! These blogs are all about you!