In the midst of never ending projects, emails, calls, colleagues stopping by to chat, and social media updates, do you have a clear perspective of which are the most important goals you want to achieve in your professional and personal life?

It is so easy to be pulled into the maelstrom of seemingly urgent tasks and lose sight of what will really take your career to the next level, or more importantly, feel most satisfying to you personally.

Seagull flyingWhat are the top three professional goals that will take your organization and career to the next level? What about in your personal life? What is truly most important to achieve and how will you know you have succeeded?

Whether you are an entrepreneur or a professional serving a large or small private sector company or a nonprofit, keeping your eye on three overarching goals and the milestones and measures to get you there is critical for success. The same is true for your personal life — for example, striving to keep work/life balance through getting regular exercise and/or spending quality time with your family.

I like to step back at the end of each week and think about what is going well (and what isn’t working) and what I want to achieve in the next week to keep those three goals moving along.

Do you and your team agree on what the goals are and what it will take to get there? Does your team leader? Your Board? This can be one of the biggest sources of tension. Do you regularly share your progress with each other and discuss the challenges you’ve encountered?

Seth Godin’s groundbreaking book Linchpin asks us to step back and think about how we can each be a Linchpin, how we can create art — the one-of-a-kind, compelling contributions we can bring to our organization or craft. How we can each make a difference.

Godin talks about overcoming our lizard brain (the amygdala), “the voice in the back of the head that wants security and safety” that gets in the way of us “shipping” — that is, producing what matters most. (His recently published book Poke the Box continues this quest.)

We are each responsible for our own career and charting our own course. The days of working for 30 or 40 years for a company with complete job security and then retiring with a gold watch and golden pension plan are gone. But what we have in its place is the opportunity to be in the driver’s seat and plan our own destiny.

What will make you the unique, irreplaceable linchpin in your organization? In your personal life?


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