Defining Your Goal: The "What" and The "Why"

Over the next three weeks, I’ll be discussing some of the best practices for achieving success in your professional careers. While I don’t think that incorporating your passions into your career is necessary, I know that a lot of us (myself included) do want to do just that. So to that end, I’m going to share some of the key elements to make that happen, preparing you to reach your goals, whatever they may be.

 Photo via  Flickr

Photo via Flickr

Success. It's what we’re all supposed to strive for, and yet there are countless definitions of what that means. It could be related to financial, status, impact, happiness, or any number of other goals. Even if you ask two people what financial success looks like, one might say a million dollars in the bank and another might say a billion. There’s no one definition and there shouldn’t be.

Regardless of what you consider being successful means, the truth is we all want to reach it. We all want our lives to have meant something and to have moved at least some version of our dreams outside of our heads and into the real world. But if we want to do that, to bring our dreams to fruition, to build our careers to new heights, it’s incredibly important to ask yourself this question: “What does success mean to me?”

Is success working with your favorite businessman/celebrity/artist/etc.? Is it building a company with a global reach and impacting millions of people around the world? Or is it something closer to home with a focus on just a few? 

However you think of success, the first thing we to do is to define it, or else we’ll always feel just shy of reaching it, which is a terrible feeling. There are many steps to defining a goal, especially one that is achievable, but I’ll focus on what I think is the most important, and that is the Why?” 

Determining why a goal is important to you is a critical step and one that shouldn’t be taken too lightly. The process of working towards success is not easy, and you’ll find numerous roadblocks and moments that test your resolve. People will doubt your abilities, plans won’t work out the way they were supposed to, and just plain bad luck will arise. If you’re at all unsure of why you’re trying to accomplish your goal, it becomes incredibly more difficult to maintain your effort and enthusiasm. And as shown by countless studies of successful people, persistence is one of the key indicators of achieving large goals. Without persistence, even the most accomplished, most intelligent, and most well-meaning people fail, because they give up before they’ve succeeded.

As you look towards your defining what your dream is, write it down. And also write down why it’s your dream. Because looking at both the “what” and the “why” will keep you motivated, and motivation and determination will get you to where you need to be.

In the next post, I’ll be going into some of the strategies you can use to learn from other people who have already traveled the road ahead of you. Leveraging their experience will be instrumental in hastening your journey towards achieving your success.

- Ryan

Ryan BonaparteSuccess, Career, Goals