The Mid-Career GPS Podcast

Creating Effective Stretch Goals to Map Your Mid-Career Success

July 11, 2023 John Neral Season 3 Episode 165
The Mid-Career GPS Podcast
Creating Effective Stretch Goals to Map Your Mid-Career Success
Show Notes Transcript

Ever wondered where to start with setting professional stretch goals? Ever felt the adrenaline rush of pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone and achieving what once seemed impossible? Join me, your host John Nerolf, in episode 165 of the Mid-Career GPS podcast, as we unravel the concept of stretch goals and how to effectively employ them to fuel your career growth. Together, we'll pinpoint five potential areas for setting challenging and purposeful targets that align with your long-term career aspirations.

Let's embark on a journey of self-discovery as we discuss the importance of involving the right people in your stretch goals. Whether it's your boss, a trusted colleague, or even a beloved family member, we'll explore who could be your best ally in this journey towards professional growth. To help you chart this course, I'll be sharing a unique download that guides you through the same set of questions I used to craft my own stretch goal. So tune in, and gear up for a thrilling ride towards success in your mid-career journey!

Visit to download your free guide called "10 Self-Coaching Questions to Help You Achieve Your Stretch Goal."

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Speaker 1:

A stretch goal should challenge you to push beyond your comfort zone and require significant effort and growth. Setting goals that are meaningful and align with your long-term career aspirations are essential to your success. But when you think about your professional stretch goals, where do you start? Who do you engage with about creating those stretch goals? Well, in this episode, i'm going to share with you five possible opportunities where you can create stretch goals in your career that will help propel you to whatever is next for you and your career. Let's get started. Hello, my friends, this is episode 165 of the Mid-Career GPS podcast. I'm your host, john Nerolf. I help mid-career professionals who feel stuck, undervalued and underutilized show up to find a job they love, or love the job they have, using my proven four-step formula. Well, it's a big week here on the podcast. In case you haven't heard, starting right now with this episode, i'm going to be dropping two episodes per week, moving forward, every Tuesday you're going to get what I'm calling and I'm stealing Amy Porterfield's language here a shorty episode. It's about a 15 to 20-minute episode that's going to include a tip, idea or strategy to help you build your mid-career GPS. Then, on Thursdays, you're going to hear a conversation I've had with a career expert or someone who just has an inspiring and amazing story about how they have navigated their professional and mid-career journey. Make sure you're following or subscribing wherever you get your podcasts. If you could do me a favor, i would sincerely appreciate it if you would share this podcast with three people in your network. Tell them why you like the podcast, share with them why it's going to help them. Please know how much I truly and sincerely appreciate your help and support as I continue to grow this podcast and make it bigger and bigger to reach more people. So thank you Well for this shorty episode. I'm talking to you about stretch goals. This has been something that I have been thinking about a lot. My decision to take this podcast to two episodes per week is an example of a stretch goal I created in my business because it definitely got me out of my comfort zone. Stretch goals involve more intentional work and accountability, as I've regularly reviewed and adjusted my business goals. This was an opportunity for me that I was ready to do. Now I've got something special for you in this episode because I've created a special download to go with this episode that's going to walk you through the same questions I coached myself on to help me create this stretch goal and make it happen. So you can check the show notes or you can go to my website, johnnarrellcom forward slash resources, and you can download 10 self-coaching questions that will help you create your next stretch goal. Again, they're the same questions I used and walked you through and I'm going to talk about them a little bit in this episode as well. But again, you can visit johnnarrellcom forward slash resources or check the show notes to download that free guide. Stretch goals are something that we should be talking about And if you are managing or leading teams or you are responsible for direct reports, i wanna offer that this should be part of your conversation with them. Anybody, at any time in their career, can have a stretch goal. But, admittedly, when we're first starting our careers, the biggest thing that we're focusing on is doing quality work and building that technical expertise that we need. But as we get a little bit older, what I wanna offer you here is that our 30s are essentially the time when we're growing our career. We're landing on what we really wanna do And, admittedly, we should be pretty good at it Not saying we know everything, but we should be pretty good at it as we're growing our career, because when we get into our 40s, those are our wealth building years. It's where we set ourselves up to really position ourselves for not only the kinds of job titles and responsibilities we want, but also to be hitting that financial goal. That's important to us as well. And obviously, in our 50s we, hopefully, are working in a place where we truly are doing the work we wanna do, where in our wheelhouse, we have some security and stability within our organization because of the value that we're providing. But we certainly know that sometimes in our 50s our GPS can take a little bit of a turn through some circumstances that we haven't created. We've certainly seen over the last few years. Companies may downsize, they may have to lay off or reduce what we call reduction in forces for people, and that's certainly not planned. But if you've positioned yourself really well in your 30s and 40s, what happens then is that it is much easier for you to make a pivot into a similar organization or even pivot tangentially over to something that you could also be doing as well. All right, so when we talk about stretch goals, who can you engage in your stretch goals? Well, here are the people whom I think can be great partners for you, but, first and foremost, what I have to acknowledge here is that you have to trust them. If you don't trust them or respect them as authority figures and resources who can really help you stretch and navigate to whatever's next, do not engage them. This is a very deep conversation in terms of your professional growth and development. So we're talking about people like your boss or your supervisor, your manager. You have a trusted colleague whom you work alongside or you know inside the organization. You have your network. These could be people within your organization or outside of your organization, people whom maybe you're connected with on LinkedIn. They're respected people in your field. You can also rely on your family and friends, though, admittedly, this one can be a little bit tough, because sometimes, as I like to say, they want to get in the box with you and they want to push their own agenda. This isn't about their agenda. Your stretch goals are what's important to you. So having advice or considering one thing is an option, but remember, it's ultimately your decision. You may enlist the help of a mentor or even as a coach. One of the things I love doing with my clients is talking with them about where they're stretching professionally, especially as they get started in a new job, what is going to be next for them, where do they want to stretch? And we're really careful in this partnership, in the coaching relationship, about not having them stretch so far that it's going to overwhelm them and they're not going to do it. I remember someone in a previous organization strongly encouraged me to go for my MBA. I wasn't sure if that was what I wanted to do and they were so adamant you need to get your MBA, you need to get your MBA, and I know that's what they thought was best for me. But it was a definite and difficult decision for me to actually go back and say to them that's not what I was planning, that I was considering something else where I wanted to stretch. They were disappointed. They didn't agree. That's fine, that's their thought and everything. But you have to figure out for yourself where you want to stretch. So here are five different examples or areas of stretch goals that you can consider. So number one is about your leadership. Are you stretching to lead a new project, maybe leading a new team? Are there management responsibilities you haven't had yet? Or maybe you need to position yourself more as a subject matter expert and be looked at as that expert within your organization. Maybe there's opportunities to mentor staff or team members within your building. But when you think about stretching around a leadership goal, remember that it's important for you to be focused on certain skills. These skills might be decision-making, communication, strategic thinking, how well you're executing, or even relationship building. So be really specific about one thing within your leadership development and find a way to stretch toward it. Number two is about your skills. So, when you think about skill enhancement, where is there a skill gap that you can narrow in your work? Maybe it's something technical, maybe it's an interpersonal skill you need to be working on, but what you might think of in terms of a stretch goal would be things like do you need an additional certification or a degree? What are you seeing in terms of data, be it from either 360 feedback or performance appraisals, or even informal data that you're getting from your colleagues that may help, and then, additionally we'll talk about this a little bit more but thinking about who's going to be the person to help or support you on this. One of the things we're seeing a lot recently is this whole world about AI, artificial intelligence using chat GPT. I've played around with it. I'm going to talk with you a little bit more about that in some upcoming episodes. It's certainly not perfect And I think we absolutely need to be careful around that, but maybe there's some skill development around AI that might be useful or beneficial in your job. That's going to help you level up. Number three is about networking. I can't say enough about the importance of networking, but when we talk about stretch goals, leveraging your network here is so critical. So you have your internal network. You have your external network. This would be the people whom you're connected with on LinkedIn or through any of your associations. You may want to attend networking events. Sometimes, just stretching and say to yourself I'm going to go to one networking event a quarter, be it virtually or in person, is certainly a big stretch goal. Maybe it's about going to a conference and getting professionally developed there. But when you think about networking, i want you to think of this as two parallel paths. So one is about warming up your existing network and the other is about how you're cultivating or building new relationships. And when we think about these relationships, it leads me to number four, which is how are you building cross-functional relationships. So where else are you interested in working within your organization? And when I was planning for this episode, what came to mind here was this is often a thought for younger professionals as they're growing their career, they want to get experiences in different parts of the business and the organization. And who does this over here, and why do they do this? We need to be thinking about this more as mid-career professionals, but doing it very strategically and intentionally, and this is where the people in your internal network your boss, your supervisor, your trusted colleagues, leaders and other departments those are ones that if you have a connection with or you cultivate a new relationship with, they're going to be help. Well, they're going to help you bridge those cross functional gaps and help you make those connections a little bit more So, as you're stretching toward whatever is next, you are putting those support systems in place to help you do that. Well, number five is one that I can certainly relate to as well, and number five that stretch goal is about pursuing an entrepreneurial adventure. You might be thinking about starting your own business or building a side hustle. Well, what I want you to consider here is if you are thinking about that, if you have aspirations of going into business for yourself, or you want to grow a business outside of what you're currently doing? what steps are going to bring your business to life? So it's great to think about. Hey, i can be my own boss, i have all this freedom. This is great, this is wonderful. Well, your stretch goal here may be to do your market research, develop a business plan, figure out who in your network are people that can help you, and really seek to determine how valid your business idea is, because if you're going to pursue this entrepreneurial venture, you're going to play full out and all in, and in doing so, you need to be prepared for all of the things that come with owning and running your business. So we've talked about these five particular stretch goals, right? So one was leadership development. Two was skill enhancement. Three is building and warming up your existing network. Four was your cross-functional relationships. And five was stretching toward any entrepreneurial pursuits. But as we wrap up here, i want to just take a moment and talk about your work-life balance. When we stretch, this is not about adding work to your schedule that is going to upset the overall balance of your life and your work. Yes, it's going to take some time, you're going to need to invest some energy and effort into whatever this stretch goal is. What I want to offer you here is that it shouldn't be all-encompassing and consuming, that you lose sight of everything else. Make sure you are taking care of yourself first and foremost and finding where your stretch goals come into play. What I want you to take away from this episode is this Stretch goals, when you decide to have them, are important to accelerating your career to whatever is going to be next. It should be challenging, it should be motivating and inspiring, but, most importantly, it should be something you want to do. Don't have a stretch goal because somebody else thinks it's important for you. Do it because it's important to you and you see that as a vital part of building your mid-career GPS to whatever is next. So remember, i've got that bonus for you. Go to johnnarallcom forward, slash resources or check the show notes. To click on the link, you can download your free copy of those 10 self-coaching questions to help you formulate your stretch goal. And remember this we build our mid-career GPS one mile or one step at a time, and how we show up matters. Make it a great rest of your day. Thank you for listening to the Mid-Career GPS podcast. Make sure to follow on your favorite listening platform And, if you have a moment, i'd love to hear your comments on Apple Podcast. Visit johnnarallcom for more information about how I can help you build your mid-career GPS or how I can help you in your organization with your next workshop or public speaking event. Don't forget to connect with me on LinkedIn and follow me on social at Johnnarall Coaching. I look forward to being back with you next week. Until then, take care and remember how we show up matters you.