Goal Setting Tips for Your Next Chapter

Are you setting transitional goals for each chapter of your career?


Dr. Michelle Page-Rivera, managing director with Slalom Consulting, offers great insight regarding the different chapters of a career path and how to set goals to help you transition from one chapter to the next.

From her experience, Michelle explains that many people find themselves 20 years into their career, wondering, "How did I get here?" However, understanding that each career chapter has a beginning, middle, and end can help you overcome set-backs, move forward with intention, and set short-term goals for the next part of your life.

Watch the video to learn to recognize the parts of your chapter that help you "hit your stride" and how to build upon each chapter to grow as a leader.

Goal setting is actually really simple. It's about establishing clarity on a path forward. There's a great Lewis Carroll quote that I think about when I think about goal setting. Which is, "Any road will take you there if you don't know where you're going." And there are so many people, that they might have been in a job for 20 years and then they sit back and think, "How did I get here? This is not what I had planned for myself." And I think just by taking a few moments, and stepping back and pausing, and getting out of the reaction mode that we all find ourselves in, it allows us to establish some clarity on where we want to go next. And so that concept of having something that's out there that you're achieving is so ingrained to me and certainly an instrumental part of, I believe, my success as a leader.

I also take a different point of view around goal setting. Many people establish a very tangible goal that sets far away, like, "I want to be a General Manager by the time I'm 40," or, "I want to achieve a marathon by the time I'm 27." And those are all great, but I think one thing that we fail to realize is that the world changes. Circumstances change. People end up marrying, have kids, have children, they may move, they may have parents that need support and so their personal goals may change. One way that I try to avoid having a goal that might end up not being realized because of changes in circumstances is think about my life, instead, more holistically, in terms of chapters or mini journeys.

Each journey has a beginning, it has a middle, and it has an end. Those journeys can be kind of wrapped up in a little box and become a part of who you are. And those journeys may not necessarily be connected with each other either. The way I see those journeys is that it allows us to have forgiveness for the mistakes that we make at the very beginning.

There's also the middle part of our journey, or the chapter that we write for ourselves for our books of our lives. Those middle parts, I think, are where we hit our stride. It's where we achieve the successes, it's where we get the high-fives, it's where we end up becoming fulfilled personally. And it's where others begin to also see our successes and recognize the behaviors that they may want to model. I think that's where some people then get stuck because they feel like they are at an area and then they begin to plateau. My perspective is every journey or every chapter has an end and you need to be okay with that. You need to start planning for what your next chapter is before your current chapter ends. And that way, you're always looking and thinking forward rather than being so caught up in where you are currently.

Michelle Page-Rivera

Michelle Page-Rivera is a business consultant with 20+ years experience in providing business management and human capital consulting services to Fortune 500 clients. She is managing director with Slalom Consulting in Atlanta, a strat...

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