Discover Your Goals and Personal Mission Statement

By Pam Watson Korbel, Interim Executive and Corporate Director  and CWCC Member

“Here’s the truth: People who get what they want tend to be the ones who make the effort to know what they want.” – Martha Beck, author of Finding Your Way in a Wild New World (Free Press)

It’s the new year and you can’t miss seeing several articles about setting resolutions and goals for 2012.  (Makes you feel apprehensive just to read this, right?)  And, you won’t miss the media stories about people not living up to their resolutions.    Most will not offer this perspective however.

People and businesses don’t achieve their annual goals because they fail to tie their goals to the big picture.  Knowing what you want is more than a one-year journey; it spans ten or more years.  So I would alter Ms. Beck’s statement by saying, people who get what they want tend to make the effort to know what they want today and for the long-term future.

In my own case, for example, as a college student I set my sights on achieving the role of Director of Media Relations for my university.  It was a seven to ten-year goal to start with and I worked tirelessly on little tactics to position myself including working an internship with the Director and even joining a professional association with the Vice President.  Then, at age 25, the job came open and it was mine.  However, within four years, I felt stagnant.  I had not set my sights on the next dream job.

To ensure that you’ve got your 2012 goals hitched to your long-term star, consider each of these:

  1. What are you values?  Your guiding principles will shape you more than anything.  Check out Steven Covey’s exercises for clarifying your values in his work book 7 Habits of Highly Successful People.
  2. What is your mission?  Writing down your personal mission starts to define your path.  Why are you here and how will you contribute?  I found that Rick Warren’s work book Purpose Driven Life helped me to zero in on life purpose.
  3. What is your big hairy audacious goal (BHAG)?  This is all about your 10 to 15-year horizon.  What do you want to be?  Jim Collins originally coined the BHAG term and any of his books delve into this topic more.
  4. Now you’re ready to set short-term goals.  What do you want in three years? One year?  How will those smaller goals take you one step closer to living your purpose and achieving your big hairy audacious goal?

A friend of mine who is a corporate executive gave me great advice once…don’t start any task without asking “how does this get me one step closer to my big hairy audacious goal?”

Clarity and authenticity develop from being grounded for the long-term future.  Enjoy your journey.

Pam Watson Korbel is an Interim Executive and Corporate Director specializing in fast-growth companies.  She can be reached through her company SmartGrowth, Inc. at 303-906-4144 and pam@smartgrowth.com.