Welcome to the last installment of my series on creating an intentional career!
Congratulations! The amount of work and reflection you’ve taken on in the past several weeks is something to be proud of. Many people do not take the time, space or effort to do the kind of inner work that results in the kind of outer life and career that they desire (for many reasonable reasons, of course), but I find that two of the biggest reasons are: one, they, at some level, don’t deem themselves worthy of the investment; and two, they are scared. Scared, because sometimes the process of this work unearths realities, truths and dreams that are easier to keep buried. And once they are looking you in the face, your soul knows you must do something about them. And doing can be the hardest part.
With that, we are here at our last and final post, and, appropriately, it is the “doing” post – executing on these goals!
Below, we are going to take some simple steps to execute on a few of the five values-based goals you created in last week’s module.
As a reminder, values-based goal setting fits into an intentional career because it holds us accountable to the reality of how little intentional reflection we may have previously put into our career accomplishments and goals. Your previous goals may have been dictated by external needs like job arrival times, school schedules, social obligations, the shoulds, the expectations, the normal day-to-day stuff of living.
Now, after taking the time and space to learn what intentional goals are important to you, the work towards these goals will build a scaffold on which you can place your more intentional career.
So, let’s get to the executing!
Now, ideally you have a few values-based goals from last week that feel achievable, feasible and can be accomplished in a three- to six-month timeframe.
I want you to just pick two of them. These are the two we will create execution plans for.
You may wonder – why not all five, especially if you’ve gone to the trouble of articulating them?
Well, I think when it comes to goal setting, we can easily overwhelm ourselves and set too many and too big goals. When we eventually are not able to achieve or complete all of those goals, we get discouraged. We lose trust in our own abilities. We wonder, “What’s the point?” and we go back to our old ways.
That is the last thing I want for you.
Instead of falling into the fallacy of “more is better,” (a common limiting belief, that more goals and more effort = better), we are going to take it slow and steady with two of your goals. Once you accomplish them, you can return to the next two or three using the same process I’ll outline below. Those other goals aren’t going anywhere. More and faster is not necessary here.
Which two will you pick? That’s up to you. You could pick the ones that feel most exciting, scary or most achievable. I trust you to trust your choices.
For each goal, I want you to brainstorm at least five to ten (more if needed) “bridge steps” that you will need to accomplish that goal. The path between where I am right now and the accomplished goal is not just one step; it’s a path built out of dozens of bricks that I must lay down with attention, too.
Finally, the last step is the true execution: Put a deadline on the goal (it’s okay to guess here). Also include this: why that deadline? You just want to make sure the deadline you put down is not arbitrary because then there won’t honestly be any reason to meet it by that made-up point.
Next, working backwards, put a deadline on each and every step and sub-step.
Then, schedule 30-60 minutes a week (or more, if your deadline is sooner) which you dedicate towards completing the items in the goal.
Here is a very basic little worksheet for you to fill out for each goal.
And, that’s it.
You’re doing it.
You’re creating a career intentionally. You’re aiming for goals that came from your soul. You’re taking action, you’re taking risks.
This sort of living is hard, and, simultaneously, not hard. I find once you clear the space and decide to do it, and understand the path is not always easy, and that the goal is to try and take risks in order to live aligned with your intentions and values, rather than get everything done according to a very specific plan, that alone makes a major shift for you. You can’t really go back to living any other way.
Most of all, know this: you are worthy of every single career desire or goal you hold in your heart. And you are also so, so capable. The seeds of these goals and desires would not have been planted in you if you weren’t also equipped with the tools to make them happen. Stay the course in your intentional career, love yourself, and know that by honoring yourself in this work, you are, I truly believe, honoring the world.
Catherine Andrews is an author, teacher, coach and expert in intentional living who works with clients to mindfully and authentically design a life that reflects all of their potential, dreams, desires and capabilities. She is the author and host of The Sunday Soother, a newsletter, podcast and community dedicated to authentic living and compassionate personal growth. She lives in Washington, D.C., and holds a bachelor’s in English Literature from the University of Virginia and a Masters in Journalism from Northwestern University. Before becoming a teacher and coach, she spent nearly 20 years in communications and journalism, and she still believes the stories we tell about ourselves and others are our greatest assets. You can find her on Instagram here.