Setting Goals to Help Your Career Thrive

As an Assistant, you are often the force propelling the cogs of your organisation forward. You anticipate needs, thwart crises, and act as the linchpin holding various facets of the business together. Yet, amid this whirlwind of tasks, losing sight of your career trajectory is easy. The “Don’t Just Be” philosophy shared by Laura Campbell Abra at a recent Practically Perfect PA event is a fantastic tool that helps guide ambitious Assistants through the often murky waters of career advancement.

1. Dig Deep and Dream: Crafting Your Vision

Begin with introspection. What ignites your passion? Where do you envision yourself in the next five years? Ten years? Understanding your professional desires isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. Establish SMART goals — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound — that align with your inner drive. Remember, a ship without a destination will wander aimlessly; your goals are the lighthouse guiding your journey.

2. Be Open to Opportunities: Embracing the Uncharted

Opportunities rarely arrive with a clear label. Sometimes, they’re shrouded in challenges, requiring you to step beyond the familiar. For an Assistant, this could mean taking on projects outside your job description, shadowing a mentor, or pursuing further education. Growth resides outside comfort zones, and embracing this unfamiliar territory marks the beginning of transformative learning.

3. Acknowledge Niggles: Confronting the Fear of Change

Change is as intimidating as it is inevitable. Those ‘niggles,’ the unsettling feelings of apprehension, are signs of upcoming growth. Document these fears and address them. What’s the worst that could happen? You’ll often find the reality less daunting than the nightmare scenarios your mind conjures. By confronting these fears, you transform them into stepping stones towards your goals.

4. Treasure Your Time: Mastering the Art of Timing

Time is the canvas upon which you paint your career. Every stroke, whether a course, a networking event, or a challenging project, contributes to the masterpiece. Recognise when it’s time to accelerate your efforts or exercise patience. Not every moment is ripe for a leap; understanding this rhythm is crucial. It’s about syncing your career melody with the orchestra of your life.

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5. Celebrate Wins: The Power of Acknowledgment

Recognition isn’t solely about grand achievements. It’s about ‘champagne moments’ — those small victories that inch you closer to your dreams. Did you master a new software? Perhaps you received a commendation from a colleague? Celebrate these milestones. They are the fuel propelling you forward, transforming the arduous trek into a rewarding journey.

6. Focus on You: Cultivating Personal and Professional Well-being

You cannot pour from an empty cup. Before you’re an Executive Assistant, you’re a human with needs, ambitions, and limitations. Prioritising your well-being isn’t selfish; it’s strategic. Invest in hobbies, wellness, and personal growth. A fulfilled individual doesn’t just meet expectations; they exceed them, radiating positivity that enhances professional performance.

7. Search Out Support: Navigating with a Compass

Mentorship is the compass guiding you through the professional labyrinth. Mentors, whether formal or informal, impart wisdom, offer new perspectives, and hold you accountable. They’re the sounding board for your ideas and the gentle nudge steering you back when you veer off course. Remember, every athlete, regardless of their prowess, has a coach. Why shouldn’t you?

8. Trust Your Talents: Harnessing Your Unique Strengths

In a world obsessed with weaknesses, choose to focus on strengths. What unique skills set you apart? Leverage these. Are you a negotiation ninja? A tech aficionado? Use these talents to fortify your professional arsenal. By honing your strengths, you become not just indispensable but also authentic, and authenticity is a magnet for like-minded professionals and opportunities.

9. Beat the Blocks: Transforming Obstacles into Stepping Stones

Obstacles, from unexpected setbacks to personal doubts, are the uninvited guests on your career path. Instead of detours, view them as puzzles to solve. Each solution adds to your reservoir of resilience, creativity, and wisdom. It’s not the absence of obstacles but your response to them that defines your journey.

10. Engage in Positive Environments: Thriving in Nourishing Spaces

You’re a product of your environment. Immerse yourself in spaces that echo your values, challenge your growth, and acknowledge your contributions. Surround yourself with positivity, ambition, and empathy. These environments aren’t just workplaces; they’re greenhouses where your aspirations come to fruition.