This is a follow-up post to my previous post on mapping career path where I mentioned a way to map out your career growth path if you know your life goal, your value system, your strengths/weaknesses, your likes/dislikes, and your skills/competencies.
How does one discover/find/define the life goal?
This is an important question, because this determines the paths you take and choices you make in your life. There is a spiritual aspect to this question, which deals with your inner peace and bliss, and I don’t wish to go into that direction. I want to attempt and answer the question in the context of career choices.
Most of the time I have found that asking “Why” to your first thought about life goal helps getting to a better answer. Here is what such a dialog with yourself (or with your mentor/counselor) may look like (some of my interviews have gone like this too):
Q: What do you want to do in your life/career?
A: I want to start my own company.
A: Because I want to be my own boss.
A: Because that lets me do whatever I really want to do with my company.
Q: What do you really want to do with your company?
A: Don’t know.. something which will make me lots of money and a name for myself.
Q: What if you have to choose between lots of money and lots of name for yourself?
A: I guess I will go for name.
A: Because I really love it when I walk into a party and everyone knows me, and everyone flocks around me and listen to what I have to say.
Q: Why do you love that?
A: What do you mean? Because I really want to be famous!
OK.. So here is someone who wants to be famous and thinks that starting his own company is the best way of doing that. However, it is important to understand that the goal is to be famous and not to start a company. This distinction is important; he may be demotivated when he gets into operational nitty-gritty for years and doesn’t get to ‘being famous’ in a hurry. Maybe there is an easier route to be famous, and he should explore that too, before deciding on starting a company.
A simpler example: Someone may just like reading about new stuff about plants and animals and picks medical studies (thus investing long years in studies, esp in India where it takes 10 yrs on an average for a doctor to be productive) rather than thinking about medical writing/journalism.
How have you arrived at your life goal? Do you think you have picked the most optimal career path to reach that goal? What has been your experience?