The power of setting goals and taking action

If you listened to the Jeremy Vine show on Radio 2 recently, you may have heard the story about Reggie Nelson – a young college student from East London eager to improve his prospects and carve a successful career for himself. He decided to knock on the doors of houses in a wealthy area of London and ask the occupants what skills and qualities they had that enabled them to become so wealthy, so that he could apply this information to himself. At only the second door he visited he was invited in for a chat; the owner worked for a large City equity firm and after meeting Reggie, he offering to mentor him and provide him with work experience within the company. Following this, Reggie secured an internship with the company (one of 115 from 9000 applicants) and went on to study and graduate from university. He is now working his way up the career ladder in the finance sector and also supports others looking to break into the industry.

This is such an inspirational story showing the power of setting motivational career goals and taking a proactive approach rather than accepting your current situation. Just the simple act of getting out and talking to people completely changed Reggie’s career trajectory for the better. Obviously through taking action he demonstrated his motivation and willingness to learn which impressed his mentor who was able to see Reggie’s potential. Despite him still facing barriers in the workplace with regards to his background, his positive attitude has enabled him to maintain commitment to his goals and overcome obstacles that have stood in his way.

I challenge you to have a think about your career – are you settling for a Plan B or floating through life in a job you don’t enjoy? If so, ask yourself why and what’s stopping you striving for your Plan A? Perhaps you’re avoiding taking action because you’re unsure of the consequences, reluctant to put yourself out there or maybe feel you don’t deserve the outcome you desire? Perhaps you know you’re not happy but don’t know what your Plan A really looks like? Whatever your reasons, here are some tips on what you can do now to move you towards a career that will make you a happier version of you:

  • Do some soul searching. Whether it’s through personality tests, brainstorming or talking to others, you want to get a clear idea in your head about what you want from your career. What strengths and interests do you have, and what are your top career priorities? What potential career options fit in with your wish list?
  • Set goals. Take time to really visualise your career goal and see yourself achieving it. Once you have a clear image, think about the steps you need to take to get from where you are now to reach your goal and write them down.
  • Take action! Although this may seem like a really obvious point, many people find they’re good at the analysis stage and can draw up a plan they get excited about, but then fail to take action. A great way to get you moving is to consider the pros and cons of maintaining the status quo, and then think about the potential benefits of taking action towards your goal. Hopefully the thought of staying put once you’ve visualised a career goal that makes a happier you will motivate you enough to take action to move away from where you are now and achieve what you really want!
  • Persevere and maintain motivation – the road to change will have its ups and downs but the result will be worth it! Consider ways in which you can keep your positivity up when the going gets tough. Maybe you could pin up positive affirmations around the house or keep them handy in a notebook? Revisit your visualisations of success regularly to help remind you of how you’ll feel once you achieve your goal. Lastly, remember that this is only one area of your life so make sure you give yourself time to get involved in other activities you enjoy and make you feel happy.

A great quote that I have in my notebook is ‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten’– the point being if you’re not happy with where you are or feel like you’re just muddling through then it’s time to get your proactive boots on and start taking action today if you want to change!

P.S. If you’re inspired by Reggie’s story you can check out his short video here: