January 28, 2016

Goal Setting: Learning from Others

January is starting to turn to February and most people by now have given up on their New Year's resolutions. But what if your resolution was a real goal you intend on achieving this year? Are you still going strong? It's easy to feel a little overwhelmed or even lost after the initial excitement of a new project begins to wear off. So how do you find ways to keep moving forward? Learn from someone who has already accomplished something similar.

If you haven't accomplished a specific goal before there's a good chance you may not know exactly how to do it. It may even seem somewhat impossible, but most things do until you achieve them. Riding a bike once felt like an insane task. At some point, though you don't remember it, so did speaking. In both of these instances though you had one big advantage when it came to working towards your goal: you learned from those around you already doing them. Babies learn to talk by imitating sounds from people around them. Children learn to ride a bike by learning from someone who has already mastered that skill. If you think about it, that's how we learn most things. So, why is it that as adults, when we set a new goal, we often try to just go it on our own and figure it out the hard way? If we want better grades in class, we don't usually ask someone who is doing better what their secrets are, we just try to work a little harder at it. You don't need to reinvent the process.

So, if you want to get a record deal, find someone who already has one who can tell you how it happened. If you want a job as manager, talk to an existing manager to get some advice. If you want an internship in marketing, ask someone who has done it what they recommend. It will help you learn more and clarify your goals and may even give  you a new networking contact who can put in a good word for you. If you're not sure what to ask or how to find someone, start with our post about informational interviews. If you don't know someone who has accomplished your goal, trying reaching out to someone on social media or asking a professor if they can recommend someone. By starting out with some help and perspective from someone who has already accomplished what you're looking to do, you can get a better sense of the steps you need to take and skills you need to make it happen.

What are you goals and how have you benefitted from speaking with someone who has already accomplished a similar goal? 
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