January 10, 2024

Goal Setting Mistakes

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
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What we don’t talk about enough is the common mistakes that people make when setting goals and how to overcome them. If you’re someone who prides herself on achieving what you say you’ll do and want to be sure you don’t sabotage yourself this year, this episode is for you.

We are digging into the mistakes people make when creating their goals and how to avoid them. This episode is going to open up your eyes into why you might have fallen short before and how you can ensure your career goals happen, even when they seem out of your control.

What you’ll learn:

  • How to approach goal setting this year
  • 3 mistakes people make when setting goals
  • How to get control over the uncontrollable so you can guarantee your results

Mentioned in this episode:




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Welcome to Your Worthy Career, a podcast with me, Melissa Lawrence. I’m a career and life coach with all the corporate credit and talent development and organizational psychology, and I help women like you get extraordinary results by being more you, not less. I won’t just help you have a career experience worthy of you, but I will help you build your self-worth to shift what you think is possible and take the action that will create the career you’ve always wanted, whether it’s more meaningful work you’re passionate about, making more money, getting to your next level, or being more effective as a leader. We are shattering the glass ceiling here, the one that exists for women at work and the one we put on ourselves with our doubt and inner critic. Each week, you will get practical teachings grounded in neuroscience and effective career development strategies. You’ll experience deep mindset shifts and the perfect amount of woo so you can run your career with ease rather than your career running you. You were born for more, and I’m going to help you get there with maybe a few dance parties along the way. Your up level begins now.

Hello and welcome to our second episode of the New Year, 2024. I still can’t get over it. At the time I’m recording this, the end of December, so we’re not quite there yet. But when you hear this, it will be, and It just is crazy to me to think that it is 2024. But I hope your year is starting out great and you’re motivated for everything that you want to accomplish this year. For these first couple of weeks of the new year on the podcast, I’m going to be talking about goals. I’m also hosting a workshop to help you identify what your right goals are and how to make achieving them inevitable. A big mistake that I see people make is choosing the wrong goals. But it’s not your fault. The traditional goal advice out there is generic. I have followed it, too. And I would be so frustrated when I would take the time to craft my perfect smart goals. And then it felt like this dark cloud hanging over my head. From a personal perspective, my goals would just fall to the wayside when things got tough, because even though I wrote the perfect goal, it doesn’t mean that I actually went through with making the changes when things got really uncomfortable, that I would actually follow through on what I said I was going to do.

It’s like a health goal where you bow away from cake and then all you can think about is cake. And three days in, you’re browsing the cake bakery, right? But for work goals, they get done because your boss sees them and they’re tied to performance. There’s some added accountability. But what happens when you create your goal and you achieve it, you aren’t any happier in your career, or you’re not promoted, and you’re not actually having anything to show for it. Then what? Then you just put all of this time and effort into something that didn’t actually move the needle on your career or increase your quality of life, right? I have been there, but now we’re going to do things differently. I created a whole new workshop that flips smart goals on its head and makes sure you choose the right goals for you and you make them fail proof. This training is happening on Friday, January 12th, two days from now. It’s on Zoom, so you can attend from anywhere. It’s at 12:00 PM Eastern, and this is a very hands-on class. It’s a work Workshop. So it’s best to come live so you can get your questions answered and do those exercises with me, but it will be recorded if you can’t make it.

To register, go to www.yourworthycareer.com/training. Oh, and it’s free. The only investment is your time. You give me an hour or so and I will help you make this year your best year in a while, if not ever. Pretty good deal, right? But today’s episode isn’t just about the training. I want to share with you some mistakes I see people make when it comes to creating goals. So you can apply these right now. The first mistake is we spend so much time thinking about what the next step is in our career without thinking about whether or not we truly want that next step. I have been guilty of this too. You want to be acknowledged for your expertise in hard work and in the workplace. Promotion is typically the symbol for that, right? So it’s natural to think, okay, I’m a manager, I want to be a senior manager. I want to go from associate director to director and so on. And sometimes we can even get really attached to this promotion and make it mean something about us if we get it or if we don’t. So I definitely have done this in my career, and I think this especially happens when we aren’t happy.

It’s almost like an entitlement or a payback for everything we feel we sacrifice, right? The long hours, the stress, dealing with crappy colleagues, all of the effort we make. So they better promote us. We deserve it. And we can get so stuck on that that we really consider if we actually want that promotion, if that’s actually the thing that we’re meeting that’s going to fill the gap that we feel. Of course, more money in recognition is great, but what if you’re not actually in the best job for you? And so you’re trying to climb a ladder you don’t even want to be on. But you don’t realize that until you’re there and then you’re like, I thought this would feel different. So then you move on to the next goal. This is a big mistake. When we do this, it keeps us on a hamster wheel of always working toward the next. And then whatever we achieve isn’t good enough for long because before you know it, we aren’t happy again. I’ll use myself as an example here. When I got my last promotion in corporate, I thought that would make me feel like I had finally made it my dream job, everything I wanted.

But no, it didn’t. I had to fight so hard for it. So it was bittersweet when it happened. Because I worked so hard for it, but then when it happened, I was like, Yeah, I did it. But then I was like, Why do I have to work so hard for this? I should have had this in the I shouldn’t have had to fight so hard for it, right? But also not a lot changed. I had the title and the money I wanted, but I still had the same problems. The same things I didn’t like about my job were still there. I could have kept climbing that ladder, but then I never would have started my business and I never would have realized my calling and purpose for my career. So before you set your goals this year, reflect on what you truly want and don’t get caught up on the next logical step or looking for an accomplishment that will make you feel a certain way. Number two, the next mistake is Living in the Gap. There’s this great book called The Gap in the Game by Dan Sullivan. When we live in the Gap, we are never happy.

If I were to sum this up in one sentence, the whole essence of this book, it’s that we focus on how far we have to go and not everything we have accomplished so far. When we live in the gap, because we are humans who always want to evolve and grow, we will always see what we could have, the next thing that we are working towards. What is important is to acknowledge how far we’ve come, to be grateful and see the wins and progress that we’ve made today. There’s a client in Beyond the Ceiling who saw a tarot card reader recently. She was sharing with us in the group and that this tarot card reader had told her that she should practice gratitude for where she is now in her career in order to get where she wants to go. And there is some truth to that. If you want to be happy in your career and you want to achieve that next level of growth, that next goal, you will achieve it faster if you acknowledge everything you have done so far. Look at where you’ve started. Think about the people who would love to have the job that you have right now or would love to be done with school already, would love to work in the pharma or biotech industry.

You have so much already and you likely have the job that you wanted at one point, right? Where you are right now is something that you wanted. And when you can see that and really believe it, not from a shaming place or you should feel a certain way and you’re a bad person because you don’t feel that way and you want something else. But instead just taking some time to be present and relish in what you have created. It’s going to help you with your goal and make the process more enjoyable. You’ll be happy and able to enjoy that happiness now while you work on your goals. Instead of waiting until you meet them to allow yourself to be happy, right? It’s like building your resume. You don’t need to wait until you have these external accomplishments to feel good about yourself. Now, the third mistake is to avoid thinking about who you need to be to achieve your goals. It’s like lazy goal creation, right? And I say that playfully, but seriously, when we create goals, the way we were taught is to just put it in smart goal format, to decide what we want and put a time and measurement on it, and then just go and do the goal.

But what no one taught us is that when we do new things, when we change routines, when we speak up when we’re uncomfortable, that our psychology, the way that our brain works, is going to tell us to back down, that we have saboteurs that want us to be comfortable. And so when faced with change and discomfort, we will find all of the good reasons not to move forward or to just give up entirely. We don’t think through the obstacles or how we will have to change in our behaviors and who we will have to be to actually achieve what we want. We just put a plan down, like I’m going to go get this certification or I will get up at 5:00 AM and work out, whatever it is, without going any deeper to what you’re going to do when you don’t want to get up, when you want to sleep in. What are you going to do when you speak up with your boss and ask for that promotion and you built up all that courage to do that and built up your portfolio of all the reasons why you should be promoted. And then he tells you, no.

What are you going to do next? Or is that going to be your dead end where you’re like, well, this is what I wanted and I tried and it didn’t work? There’s a whole psychology behind change that we fail to recognize because we were never taught it. But this is where the magic happens. This is where you learn to achieve anything you really want and where those things that you want, like a new job or a promotion, that seem like they’re not under control because someone else has to grant them for you. They become in your control when you focus on who you need to be to achieve that goal. So I’ve shared three mistakes that people make when setting goals. The first is spending too much time thinking about that logical next step and not what you truly want. Number two is living in the gap. Number three is not thinking through who you need to be to achieve your goal. Now, if you overcome these three mistakes, you’re going to achieve more than you think you can this year. The things you’ve been working so hard for will come to fruition and you will enjoy the process along the way.

You won’t wait until you achieve something you decided you wanted to feel the way you want to feel. Your quality of life will improve right now. It’s so good. So incorporate these lessons into your goals, and then join me on Zoom Friday if you want to get more support on how to create the best goals for you and your fail proof plan. The CEO Goal Method that I’m teaching is built to avoid all of these mistakes and ensure you have the plan to make your goals inevitable this year. The link to register is in the show notes, and I will see you there. Have an amazing week.

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No longer settles for “good enough”

Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

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