How to find your real career goal

When you think of the best places to work, you might think of companies that offer extra vacation time, top salaries or even a rooftop bar. While all those sound great, the fact is that these perks provide a quick hit of employee satisfaction. The best places to work offer something even more enduring: employee engagement.

What might surprise you is that companies alone are not responsible for building a culture of employee engagement. It actually starts with you, the employee.

Engaged employees are clear on what their career goals are and then seek out companies that will help them get there.

The hitch is that when we sit down to write our career goals, we fall back into the employee satisfaction model. More money, more flexibility, more vacation time. All great desires that I argue are driven by cultural expectations versus those goals that are more firmly aligned with what I call your True Nature. Your real career goals.

Consider your 'career time zones'

When I start with a new coaching client I have them complete a comprehensive deep-dive assessment into their past, present and future. These three "career time zones" intersect to inform your career direction: the past is your historical timeline, the present is where you stand today (if you're not sure, take this quiz to find out., the future is where you want to be. On this last point, go big. Your career is an amazing story yet to be written.

Once we've mapped out all three career time zones, we then move to determining the top three outcomes they would like to make progress on in the next year.

It really helps to get clear on what you want to change so you can determine what you need to start doing … and what you need to stop doing.

Lastly, I have them do a simple coaching exercise I modified from something I learned during my iPEC coach training, that reconnects them to their real career goals. You will be amazed at how these two simple steps can make achieving what you really want to accomplish in your career a breeze.

Turn your career goals upside down

Grab a pen and paper and get started .

Part 1

Step 1: Your Goal: Write down a goal you would like to achieve.

Example: Find a new job

Step 2: A Feeling: Write down a feeling or two you hope to have when you reach your goal.

Example: Happy and Fulfilled

Step 3: Timeframe: Write down when you would like to achieve this goal.

Example: By December 31, 2022

Part 2

Step 1. Cross out Goal and write A Pathway

Step 2. Cross our A Feeling and put My Real Goal is to be

Step 3: Timeframe: Cross our whatever you had as a timeframe and put In This and Every Moment

We spend much of our time putting goals out in front of us, feeling anxious and worried about achieving our goal and putting off feeling how we really want to feel and what we really want to achieve.

When you recognize and focus on your real goal, you infuse your daily life with what you really wanted all along. And everything else takes care of itself. It's like flipping your career goals upside down so that the act of achievement no longer feels stressful but, instead, leaves you feeling happy and fulfilled.

Isn't it time to go after your real goals and find the career you love along the way?

• Laurie Swanson is founder and CEO of InspiHER Tech, a career coaching company connecting women leaders and Women in Tech with their True Nature so they can find meaningful work, and negotiate and pivot in their careers with inner confidence and bold energy. Connect with Laurie at or visit

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