How many times have you been asked by a well-meaning adult, prospective employer, or guidance counselor, "Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? What about the next 10 years?" This year we've all been blindsided by a global crisis that has without a doubt changed the course of history. Businesses have been set back if not failed, millions of employees have lost their jobs, and the recovery is going to take years! For those of us beginning our careers, those questions don't cease to exist because of a global crisis. We have a limited time on this rock and our dreams won't wait! So here is how I'm going about setting goals during a global crisis...
Setting Goals: Refreshing my Perspective
Since the beginning of 2020, I have applied for about 80 different jobs. Some have been what I would consider my dream jobs, getting paid to gather and create content based around my favorite places on earth. Other jobs, especially the more recent ones, I've applied to out of a certain sense of dogged determination to find any form of employment that will pay my bills and use my degree. Family members and friends have begun to urge me to find basic employment at a store, fast food restaurant, or other such company. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with working for these companies, I don't want to settle for a job that doesn't get me closer to where I envision myself in 5 to 10 years.
I am blessed that I have a family that I can fall back on to support me while I realign those goals and fight for my future. My goal for 2019 was to graduate Officer Candidate School and become an Ensign in the United States Navy. For circumstances out of my control, that didn't happen. Now the goal of becoming an officer and serving my country in that way has been pushed maybe even several years down the road. That doesn't mean that I get to rest on my laurels in the meantime, waiting for that opportunity to come around again. Instead, I had to refresh my perspective.
I have my degree;
I have a passion for storytelling;
and my dream today is to become an independent, well-adjusted adult, who is able to give back to my community whether or not that means a return to the military.
Setting Goals: Do Today, Tomorrow is NOT Guaranteed
With my fresh perspective in mind, I know I can't wait for this crisis to end. I have to do what I can today, to ensure I'm ready for the opportunities that come my way. Tomorrow is not guaranteed! That dream job may become available tomorrow but if I'm not qualified to apply for the job, it's highly unlikely that an employer will see my value and give me an offer. Although every day in the Navy came with a new challenge and new hardships, it taught me to put into practice management of my attitude in difficult circumstances. Now I think to myself, "I get to study for a new certification today, that will help me qualify for the jobs I'm applying to." I used to think, "I have to get this done, or I will never qualify for a job."
The difference between "I get to" and "I have to" is again a matter of perspective.
"I have to stay home because I lost my job under a shelter-in-place order."
This attitude is overwhelmed and maybe even panicking. They probably enjoyed the first long weekend, but are consumed by worry for what comes next. Eating snacks, binging movies and tv shows, and generally trying to distract themselves from the circumstances has kept them from envisioning a future beyond the crisis.
"I get to stay home because my job is closed during the shelter-in-place order. This could be my opportunity to..."
This attitude is taking in the situation as necessary... for now... but realizes it's only temporary. They probably enjoyed that first long weekend too, but I bet they started dreaming again about all those projects that their newfound time had just given them the opportunity to complete. From home projects to new skills, people all over the planet have used some of this time to begin fighting for their dreams again!
Now one comment I've seen often online, is that no one has to learn a new skill or finish a home project to be doing quarantine life successfully. In fact, many very busy parents can't get around to those types of goals... but they get to spend more time with their children, which I think is a goal success in and of itself! Others can only handle maintaining their mental health through snacks and shows during this distressing time... every day they get to prove to the rest of us how strong they are for holding it together in extraordinary circumstances!
By now I think you see my theme. Do what you get to do today, because tomorrow's headline may change your window of opportunity! Nothing is guaranteed! Set a goal that makes sense for you and take the steps to accomplish it. When the crisis ends, not only will you have survived it, you will have grown because of it and your growth will plant positive seeds of change for your future!
Setting Goals: My Plans for 2020
To build my successful future, I've gotten to use this time to reconnect with my family after months away at training. I get to build upon the lessons I learned from not reaching my last goal to lay a sturdy foundation for accomplishing the goals I have for my future.
- This year I will continue applying for jobs, using the information I learn from their qualification requirements to research and acquire skills that will make me a valuable employee.
- This year I will build upon my own brand through consistent content creation on my blog, my digital marketing efforts, and my new YouTube channel.
- This year I will use my free time to develop my passions for photography and videography.
Working to gain this experience and following through will get me many steps closer to becoming an independent adult with a job a love getting out of bed for every morning.
No dream or plan is perfect, but setting goals even during a global crisis and taking the steps to fulfill those goals is what will make us successful when the dust settles. Learning to manage our goals now, will also teach us a more healthy response to the obstacles we will no doubt face in our futures as we continue to build for ourselves a better tomorrow!
What goal big or small do you want to accomplish this year?
Thank you, fellow adventurers! You can follow The Montana Bear Paw page on Facebook and Instagram @littlemissbearpaw, and on Twitter @lilmissbearpaw for sneak peeks into upcoming posts and my adventures. This will also be a great place to share your own adventures!