Lack Of Clarity Not Uncommon
Often there is great emphasis put on long term goals. You are asked to define them specifically and hold tight to this image. This is just fine if you have tremendous clarity about what you want. If you are young and preparing for your higher education, and you know that you want to be a doctor of pediatrics and practice in a small town, then congratulations on your clarity!
However, most of us find ourselves over the years in situations that are not so clear. Let’s say that you are working in a job that doesn’t challenge you or even utilize your skills or strengths. You have never trained for a specific field, but you are a quick study. You have never met a challenge in any field you’ve encountered that you couldn’t handle. You’re sick of the job you’re in, and you want something that will bring out your passions. You have thought and thought, but you can’t figure out what job or field would allow you to use your skills and excite you.
So, how do you set a specific long term goal when you’re that unclear? You don’t. You can set a goal, but it has to outline your emotional and intellectual desires and not how they would manifest in the real world. You can desire a position where you can utilize your skills (write them out) and where you can be innovative. You can desire one about which you can be excited every day. It is good to establish these features of the position you desire; however, anything else at this point will only serve to separate you from your good. Forcing yourself to fill in the blanks is like trying to push a round peg into a square hole. It doesn’t work, and it won’t attract your true heart’s desire.
One Bite At A Time
There’s a joke that asks, how do you eat an elephant? Answer: one bite at a time. The same is true for goals, which means that the best approach when you lack clarity is to create clear short term goals. This is akin to “putting one foot in front of the other.” Take the most important of your skills, the one you enjoy doing the most, and begin doing research to find out how this skill is used in the marketplace. Stay with this short term goal until you feel a greater connection between your skill and the job market. Continue to refine your options by researching each of the skills you feel are important to your broad long term goal until you home in on the possibilities. Then you are in a position to fill in the blanks in your long term goal with specifics that resonate with you.
My example was job-related, but the principle works in our day-to-day as well. Unless you have absolute clarity about what you want, don’t force yourself into a corner with artificial desires. Make sure they resonate with both your intellectual and emotional desires, and never be embarrassed by lack of clarity about something. Just take it one bite at a time.