#13 How to Set Career Goals and Actually make them Happen…For Real!

The 360 Leadhership Podcast, Episode 13, 23 March 2022 by Lucy Gernon

What are your career goals? What are your short-term and long-term goals? If that inner critic didn’t get in the way, what would be your biggest career aspiration? What do you want?

Many women get to a certain level in leadership and think that’s where they need to stay. They allow the boat to take them to their destination instead of being the driver of the boat. You can be anything you want to be, you’ve just got to decide and then, take strategic action. Whether you want to be CEO, SVP or stay at senior management level, you can absolutely have what you want.

Or if your career goals are to take a step back and you’re thinking Do you pack it all? Maybe you don’t need the money and you’re like “do I really want this? What’s it for?” you can make that happen too.

Anything you can visualize in your mind, you can manifest in reality.

In today’s episode you’ll learn:

  • The importance of planning and taking action

  • 3 questions to ask yourself to get clear on what you want in 2022

  • How to shift your mindset to believe anything is possible

  • 5 things you must do to make your dream career and life your reality

You must start with the end in mind and have a plan to get there. I wrote an article in the Sunday Business Post a while back. In the article, I discuss secrets to working smarter that will transform your life. One of these secrets is goal setting.A Harvard business study demonstrated that 83% of people don’t have goals. 14% have a plan in mind and only 3% have their goals written down! The study showed that the people who have their goals written down at 10x more successful than those who don’t.

Your goals must be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timebound. If you work in the corporate world, you definitely know about SMART Goals but do you apply them to your own personal development? The majority of people do not.

It’s the start of quarter 2, 2022 now. I want you to think about what you want to achieve or where you want to be by the end of 2022. If you don’t make a plan and commit to taking action to make it happen, you will stay where you are.

Set your goal and reverse engineer it. Start at the end and it’s much easier to figure out the steps.

Set goals:

  • Good goal,

  • Better (stretch goal)

  • Best – stretch out of your paradigm.

Get out of small thinking. You are capable of more than you’re giving yourself credit for. When you think bigger how much more is possible for you- if you decide to chose it.

If you are happy to stay in your current role, ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. How long have you been in your current role? If it’s more than 3 years, it’s likely you will start to get bored this year, maybe even subconsciously. I remember an amazing HR leader Lorraine Kenny, who is now a CPO in a big corporation once told me never to stay in any role for more than 3 years, and now, she’s CPO. If you have big career aspirations, you need to think about moving, maybe even laterally.

  2. Are you still motivated in your job or are you staying as you are is the easy option?


  3. How will you ensure you keep learning and growing? Your mind needs that in order to stay stimulated and healthy and to keep your motivation levels high.

If you want to move up a level, ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. What is it specifically about the actual role that attracts you? Is it the title you’re after or will you enjoy the work? Do some research and find out what a day in the life of this role looks like. If you have young kids or elderly parents to take care of and this role will require late night calls for example, this may not suit what you really want.

  2. Assuming you want to level up, you need to start positioning yourself for this role. Ask yourself: who do I need to network with? Make this a priority. Ask questions and listen more than you talk. Assess the competencies for the role and try to bridge any gaps.

  3. What is your real motivation for wanting a promotion? If you are run ragged now at your level, it will only get tougher. Sure, people often think senior leaders swan around and dictate, but having worked with many of them in my coaching program Powerhouse Revolution, I can assure you that late-night calls are the norm. Weekend phonecalls. Crisis to sort out every single day. And you think the politics are bad at your level? It gets worse as you go up the ranks, so I’m told.

Consider all of this before going for that job making sure it aligns with what you want.

If you are considering jumping ship and getting a new job ask yourself these 3 questions:

1. What are your real reasons for leaving? If it is because of your boss or the culture change since the pandemic, how do you know that it won’t be the same or worse in another company? Do your research. The grass isn’t always greener. I always tell my clients, if you find the industry you are in tough right now and you move to a different company in the same industry, it’s likely going to be the same.

2. Do you enjoy the actual work that you do now? If you do, then you need to look at what’s causing your unhappiness. If you don’t, then your gut will tell you what to do.

3. What if you had the tools to be more assertive, more productive, deal with challenging stakeholders? What if you felt more confident in your abilities and were able to stand your ground, set your boundaries, would you enjoy your current job then?

If the answer is yes, then that’s where you need to place your attention. I had an amazing client, Francheska, Global Head in a Tech company. She said: I was struggling with my confidence and questioning my ability to move forward in my career. A large part of this was down to the behaviour of some in my leadership team. Lucy helped me recentre on my values and gave me tools to see the situation from an impartial perspective and realise I was spending my energy on things that I couldn’t change. With this new perspective, I’ve been able to shift my focus to things that I really care about and move forward with purpose.”

We worked together on her career path and where to focus her energy so she could move forward. I’ve had other clients who are 99% sure leaving their job is the right decision, but through working with me, they realise they love their job but just needed the soft skills and tools to help them to find their professional joy again.

For others, of course, they choose to exit and I help them with that too. And some even go on to start a business. I did a full podcast episode on how to use your talents to start a profitable business. Check that out here. I believe we are all here for a reason & you need to align to that reason.