By GGTW Co-founder Amanda Way
At my company, ScriptDrop, we have been doing a lot of hiring lately and I’ve been conducting many of the interviews. One of my favorite questions (and now you know my secret) is to ask people to tell me about a time when they set a difficult goal for themselves. The response I love to hear involves the story of the difficult goal, the initial failure(s), and how the person overcame the struggles to eventually achieve the goal. The people who quickly respond and have a story interest me the most, because it shows they have a habit of setting goals and they take their careers seriously (a true go-getter!).
Reflecting on that experience and the responses from candidates, I thought I would ask myself and our Go-getters the same question. Tell me about a difficult goal, and how did you achieve it? How many times were you told “no” or how many pivots did you have to make to get where you wanted? I’ll tell you my story first.
One of my goals has always been to be a professional dancer. I tried out for “So You Think You Can Dance” and the Cleveland Cavaliers. I was told “no” both times. At the Cavs audition, they even told me I looked too collegiate and my yellow sports bra matched my hair! (I still avoid yellow.) Yet despite the “no’s”, I wanted to become a professional dancer.
In 2009 I auditioned for the Columbus Crew’s professional dance team, the Crewzers. I had to go to urgent care the day tryouts started and was diagnosed with strep-throat, but I didn’t let that stop me. After the long weekend of auditioning, I made it! Sure, it wasn’t with the NFL or NBA or Broadway, where I had imagined myself dancing as a little girl, but I was finally a professional dancer. As it turned out, being a Crewzer was the perfect fit for where I was in my life. I had just settled back in Columbus and had started an amazing job. The Crewzers allowed me more time than other dance teams to focus on my career. To this day, I am extremely proud of this accomplishment and to say “I DID IT!”
Through this and other experiences I’ve learned there are a few keys to achieving goals:
- Never, ever give up. Don’t take no for an answer. If something isn’t working for you, try a different approach.
- It is up to you, and only you, to achieve your dreams. These are YOUR goals; no one will ever care as much about them as you. Sure, it is great to get help (and we talk about how to build a support system in upcoming posts) but achieving your goals? Girl, that’s all on you.
- Be patient with yourself. I mentioned this in the post about creating your goals, and it’s so important that it bears repeating here. Don’t let frustration cause you to throw in the towel on your goals. Everything will work out if you keep believing in yourself and keep trying.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. The Go-getters share their experiences here, too! You’ll see that each one has a different story, but they all used these same three principles in one form or another to make their dream a reality. And you can, too!
Practice and learning from my mistakes made all the difference. When I left home for college, I thought I was prepared for everything. Well, as it turned out, I had neglected to learn how to cook! My meal options of Baskin Robbins, Papa Johns and Blimpie’s were getting old and were definitely not healthy, so I decided on a goal of making dinner at least a couple of nights a week. Consulting Google and frequent, sometimes frantic, calls to friends and my mother helped me put out a couple of fires (ha!), but eventually, I found myself getting more comfortable with it, and not measuring everything twice or injuring myself every time I chopped onions. Learning from my mistakes made all the difference. (Also, never underestimate the importance of a candy thermometer! ;)) ~Gaithri Raj
I focused on learning and partnerships. I set a challenging goal for myself at age 27 to grow in my career both financially and developmentally. I knew I wanted to move from account management into sales—and to become a National Sales Director by age 30—but at the time, everyone on our sales team had at least 15-20 years experience, so it seemed like a long shot. To achieve this goal, I focused on learning as much as I could about the business, and partnered up with people who excelled in sales. I took every opportunity to gain exposure to sales responsibilities by tagging along in their meetings, asking lots of questions and helping out in any way. This meant taking on tasks that were outside of my job description and working extra hours. All the extra work paid off, because I was a natural fit when the company created a new sales executive role several months later. After a year and a half in that sales executive role, I was able to move into the National Sales Director role I so coveted, meeting both aspects of the goal I’d set for myself years prior. ~Kait Way
I made a list and set reminders on my phone. My goal in 2016 was to get back to my roots of reading. I have an English degree but for a period of time, I wasn’t reading anything that wasn’t on a screen or at work. I set the goal to read one book a week for 6 months. My first step was to make a list of books on a schedule to ensure I wouldn’t get hit with decision paralysis. Then I set reminders on my phone to nudge me periodically to reserve the books next up on my list at the library. It was hard some weeks with just general life stuff going on, but getting back in the groove awakened some forgotten parts of my brain and made reading a habit again. ~Precious Singo
I opened my mind to possibilities. I set the goal to change careers and move back north by the end of 2010. On the personal level, I tried to spend as much time as possible with my friends before moving on, so I set up Friday lunch dates every week. Professionally, I took practical steps starting in January. I updated my resume, joined LinkedIn, and told everyone in my network of my plans. I sought out educational opportunities, talked with my support system about what they thought would be a good career for me, and I opened my mind to new and unusual possibilities. I pursued the opportunities that arose over the year, and by the fall, I had a new (and amazing) career! ~Tricia Yacovone-Biagi
All of us at Go Get The World hope you find clarity as you search for your goals for the new year. And remember, we’re here if you need us!