Most of us over age 30 remember the song OPP from the 90s. The acronym stands for “other people’s problems,” etc.
Lately, a lot of professionals in my world have been focusing too much on OPG – or other people’s goals. I’ll share a personal example. For the last several years, I’ve come across a lot of people wondering why I don’t expand my business. When I was called by a Washington firm that wanted to help me get on the GSA schedule and build my firm to a multi-million dollar enterprise, I declined the opportunity. Some thought I was crazy.
Here’s the thing. I’m an introvert raising two young children, and I like relative peace and quiet on the work front. I don’t want the stress of sitting atop a huge enterprise, with responsibility for many a livelihood. Being very wealthy and powerful is not important to me. But being balanced is. And with few exceptions, CEOs do not have much balance.
There is nothing wrong with my point of view, and if you want to be a CEO, there’s nothing wrong with yours. In the 21st century business world, careers are no longer one-size-fits-all. What’s right for someone else might not be equally desirable for you, so you must measure your success in terms of the goals that make the most sense individually.
We all have goals, even if we haven’t thought about them consciously or put them down on paper. Consider yours. Where do they come from? Have you developed them based on messages from society, the media, or family? If your goals don’t excite you personally and encourage you to strive for greater accomplishment, they might not be yours after all. It’s time to take your career into your own hands.
If you’re new to the goal-setting process, realize that it’s critical to have both personal goals and professional goals. At least some of the latter should be developed in partnership with your supervisor so that you’re in a good position to grow your career and/or move to the next level. All professional goals should be SMART, meaning:
Don’t know where to start? Ping trusted friends and mentors about what they feel are appropriate goals for your particular life stage and career level, but don’t accept their input blindly. Always take that extra step, peering into your own soul to see if the goal resonates there. Being true to yourself now will save you a lot of heartache later.