Where do you want to be in a year from now? How about in three years time or five years time? This week I listened to a particularly thought provoking podcast which questioned if my goals are big enough. Sadly, I think I was underestimating my own potential!
When it comes to setting goals for yourself we are often limited by what we already know - whether this is a subconscious decision or not, we are heavily influenced by our upbringing and environment. What city do you live in? What political party do you support or religion you follow (if you're so inclined)? These are often not exclusively your decisions. There is nothing wrong with this but it’s important to realise when it comes to setting your own ambitions.
The older we get the more we cement in our own belief system. We build communities (groups of friends) with people who have similar values and with the algorithms on the internet we can ignore other points of view entirely. Most of us have worked hard to get where we are so being ‘comfortable’ is the reward.
This is when we relax the goal setting. It is very easy to coast along when things are going well. What tends to happen is that as time passes we forget we had goals in the first place. Or once you’ve achieved your goal, like getting the promotion you wanted, we forget to set another one.
When we set goals for ourselves we should make them big. Not just to pass the few people ahead of us but to be the best in your division. Why? Because when you set a big goal you are resetting your life compass. The goal should become your new north.
A goal is a dream with a plan.
We worry about setting goals that are too big because we don’t want to fail. We are limited by our belief in ourselves. But what if we set goals that seem so big that we are quite likely to fail?
Hear me out.
Imagine you’re a freshly graduated Design student. You have your first entry level job as a Desktop operator. You now have two choices (well three if you include not setting any goals at all).
The first is to set a totally realistic goal of becoming a ‘graphic designer’ in the company in 2 years time.
The second is to become the CEO of the company.
The second goal seems pretty unrealistic at this stage but if you think of goal as aligning your compass to a new north then this goal has just changed the person's life forever.
From that point on every decision they make can be in support of that goal. Your objectives change. It's not just to get ahead but it's to learn as much as possible from every situation you are in. You’ll look for leaders and study what makes them great. You will be a diligent student. You would ask questions and listen to the answers constantly building on your knowledge to become a CEO.
The chances are that with “becoming the CEO” as your goal you’ll probably be a ‘graphic’ designer’ within 12 months rather than 24. I’m not suggesting that having a big goal will eliminate the steps that need to be taken to get there but it will certainly make you stand out as an ambitious person who wants to learn.
In order to set big goals three things need to happen. First you need to be able to visualise your goal. This is very important otherwise you're aiming for a moving target in the dark. You need to be able to close your eyes and see yourself successfully living your goal. We need to be brave and push past our limited expectations of ourselves. Imagine big.
Secondly we have to be able to articulate that goal. We have to give it structure, like a time frame or amount of money or level of expertise. We have to be able to articulate it because the third step is to share your goal.
Sharing your goal is the key to its success. We are less likely to let down others than we are ourselves so by sharing we create accountability. Having someone ask you every couple of months how things are going is a great way to keep you motivated and moving north.
I’ve been inspired to write my goals down for The Design Dept and am going to share them today as a way to create accountability.
12 months from now.
I want the Design Dept to be a $100K+ design studio that specialises in personal branding for individuals and experts who are leaders in their fields.
I want to create two more video tutorials that help my clients take more control of their design assets and build on my YouTube community thus making me a more valuable expert.
3 years from now.
I want to be the number one agency specialising in Personal Branding in Victoria.
I want my content creation to be making me $50K+ a year.
I want to be a paid expert that educates others on the value of design for individuals and business leaders.
Now that these have been immortalised in the internet I’m more likely to achieve them than if I kept them to myself. I have no doubt that these goals will change as my life does but today I’m feeling pretty good about my audacious plan.
Remember, if you’re not afraid of your own potential then your goals aren’t big enough.
The font of the week has been inspired by big goals. Rob Stolte from Autobahn (a design studio in the Netherlands) has teamed up with master Perfumer Mark Buxton to create the scent of the alphabet. Three unique scents (A, B and C) have been created using the origins of the letters as inspiration. The first ‘letters’ carved into stone some 4000 years ago in the Sinai desert still echo in the letter forms of today. The project has been cleverly named “GLYPHS'' which means ‘to engrave, to crave’ and they have a kickstarter going if you're interested in supporting them. The fonts are available for free for personal use and are super fascinating for anyone interested in the history of typeface design.