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Tuesday, August 10

Align It Up

At the beginning of each year, my manager asks me to write down my goals and submit them to her. We then have a discussion about my goals, revise them if necessary and etch them in stone. At the end of the year, my performance is usually evaluated on how close (or far off) I come to achieving those goals.

Years ago, I would create pretty lofty objectives that looked really good on paper and sounded even better when I read them aloud. What I noticed, however, is that I would usually find myself scrambling mid-year to find activities or craft projects that related to my goals, which by mid-year weren't goals anymore. They became empty aspirations that I was only trying to check off for the sake of my end-of-the-year review.

Fast forward to just about two years ago when something clicked. I don't know what it was, but something told me to try to align my personal goals with my professional ones. So I made a list of things I was trying to accomplish personally and professionally. A few things overlapped.

I mentally filed away the list of goals that fulfilled both categories and recalled them at the beginning of the year when it was time for me to repeat the exercise with my manager.

Here's the value I found in doing this:
I became more invested in achieving my goals because they had the ability to satisfy and benefit me in multiple ways. I also got smarter about using my resources. My job earmarks professional development dollars for each employee to help with accomplishing the goals he/she lays out. So, I've gotten my manager to approve things like Spanish lessons and improvisational comedy classes. These sound like very personal activities (and they are), but the professional goals that they fall under are: "...better communicate and engage with Latino consumers in the community to drive traffic and sales within this audience..." and "....improve public speaking skills to more effectively deliver key messages and spread brand awareness throughout the community..."

Aligning my goals has actually made my job more enjoyable and has created a win-win situation for my employer and myself. As the years progress, I hope to get even better at doing this so that there is little distinction between my work and my play.

I would encourage all goddesses to try this the next time you are asked to submit your goals for the year. Like me, you might get your employer to pay for some really cool stuff. At the very least, though, you will be working on your personal and professional goals simultaneously.

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