Before setting your goals, you need to reflect on who you are. There is no point in pursuing something that isn’t you because you will quickly lose motivation.
We have all fallen into this trap. Often it is our parents who encourage us onto a path such as becoming a lawyer, doctor or banker. But their advice is clouded by their own vision of the world and safety. You know yourself the best so take any advice with a pinch of salt and make up your own mind.
Therefore, our Daily Review Planner starts with a reflection section with three key questions for you to answer. In this article, I will explain these questions in more detail to give you some insight into why they are so important.
Question 1: What are your strengths?
Each time I ask this question to my clients (I also run a coaching practice along with Rama Publishing), all I get back is a blank stare and an awkward smile. Why are so many people struggling with this question? Could it be a case of modesty or is it that people genuinely don’t have a clue? My experience suggests the latter.
We can never fully comprehend the extent of our strengths and often we don’t even know what they are. But why is it important to answer this question?
If you know your strengths, you can seek jobs or goals that allow you to play to them. Of course, you would be lucky to find a job where you get to do this all day, but you can certainly find a role where you do more of what you are good at and less what you are not so great at.
Take the time to answer this question as truthfully as you can. Turn off your phone and find a quiet nook in your house or go to your favourite coffee shop. It will not be easy — I have received many messages from our lovely customers who admitted that when they sat to answer this question, it was much harder than they thought. It is important to persist and if you are struggling, I would highly recommend asking your trusted friends to help you. Often it is a case of the closer you are the less you see; it is hard to be objective about your own strengths. Your friends, mentor or coach might be better at spotting your strengths than you ever could.
Question 2: What do you (or did you) love doing just for the joy of it?
I have been blessed with many incredible mentors in my life. One of them was my law professor who once advised me: “If things get overwhelming, just go back to basics.”
With this question we just want you to write down a list of things that put a huge smile on your face. For example, the things I love doing just for the joy of them is to read books, browse magazines, and visit stationery stores. I would travel all over London seeking out tiny stationery stores just to see their new stock. This love of stationery eventually manifested itself in my own stationery business, Rama Publishing. Love and joy will fuel your hard work, so it is essential to know what activities bring these emotions out in you.
You can take this activity a step further by trying to match what you love doing with a career path. This may involve finding out a bit more about what it’s like to work in different careers but eventually, you should be able to break each one down like this:
Hobby: Volunteering at Hospital
What You Like About It: Making a difference, being needed, talking to diverse groups of people, being in a busy environment
Related Professional Tracks: Social worker, teacher, mental health counsellor, hospital administration
Hobby: Social Coordinator for Soccer Team
What You Like About It: Planning events, choosing where we go, organising people, creating fun for friends
Related Professional Tracks: Event planner, wedding planner, tour guide, museum programmer
Question 3: what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
Fear of failure is one of the main reasons why people settle with the life they have. Can you imagine the possibilities if you removed this fear from the equation? Answering this question means telling your negative mind to be quiet for a while (forever if you can manage it!) and dreaming of your opportunities. Who is to say that you can’t achieve anything you put your mind to? Let your mind run wild for a while. These notes will give you an insight into what you truly desire and are great starting points for goal setting.
The last question in the Reflect section of the Daily Review Planner to consider is: Based on your answers to the previous questions, what goals should you be pursuing. It is amazing to spend the time reflecting on who you are and what motivates you but if you don’t turn this knowledge into concrete goals then you are selling yourself short. The next section is dedicated to setting SMART goals, you can read more about this technique in this article.
Reflection is all about gaining clarity of who you are and where you want to go. You can spend years of your life chasing someone else’s dreams if you don’t invest some time reflecting on what matters most to you. Answer the questions I have outlined above, either in our Daily Review Planner or simply on a piece of paper, and I promise that you won’t regret it.