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  • Personal Brands: Setting Goals Destroys Your Career

    A goal is like kissing. If you think too much about it, you’ll freeze when it comes time to make your move. Thinking about it makes you awkward. Unsure. Doubtful you can get it done.

    The lonely drive toward long-term goals feels as nerve-wracking as a kicker, when the opponent calls a timeout and the kicker’s team is just a field goal away from winning. He’s just gotten the gift of time to get a bad case of nerves. His brain and heart pound as he repeats, “Wait for it, wait for it. Now? Now?”

    You know the head trash that goes on when you are worried, filled with doubt, maybe exhausted and yet driven to do something you once thought was your destiny. Only now you can’t remember why it was a goal in the first place.

    Goals mess with your head.

    Why? The mere process of setting goals is about telling yourself you aren’t good enough. You aren’t where you should be. Your life is incomplete, maybe wasted.

    Setting goals can be deleterious to your personal branding, which is about creating and maintaining your reputation. Personal branding is about treasuring who you are today, and providing evidence to others that your authentic and compelling qualities and activities have merit. That’s what you’re doing when you share content, network, produce good work and let people know what you do.

    Personal branding is nearly impossible to do if you’re not liking yourself.

    Personal branding means you are comfortably living in your skin. Yes, you stretch in your career, and go beyond it. You make progress. You become more expert. You enjoy more visibility. You attract more offers and opportunities. That’s the point of personal branding. You get to be you. Get paid to be you. Get paid better to be even more you – or you to more people.

    This is contrary to setting in stone what you think you are supposed to do long term, then planning it and worrying about staying the course, and the consequences of failure or missed opportunity. This creates nothing, but pressure.

    That’s why long-term goals are largely disempowering. They can drain your pride and excitement. They can drag you down, just when you need to take heart about what you already have accomplished. They make it embarrassing to change your mind. You wind up calling yourself a loser or worse, when circumstances change and now the long standing goal is really off course.

    How do you make goal-setting a positive and empowering experience? Do the work of personal branding. Spend time focused on your strengths. Appreciate your real interests. Understand what you are driven to provide first to yourself, and then to us. Show us what matters to you. Let the best of yourself define you in our eyes.

    Then set up some reasonable milestones that really make you happy to conjure, get ready for those activities or opportunities that will fill you with joy and satisfaction.

    Goals only make your career blossom when they are tied to your real desires, and they are within range of getting done. Then goals are working for you. Not the other way around.

    Author:

    Nance Rosen is the author of Speak Up! & Succeed. She speaks to business audiences around the world and is a resource for press, including print, broadcast and online journalists and bloggers covering social media and careers. Read more at NanceRosenBlog. Twitter name: nancerosen

    avatar

    Nance Rosen, MBA is author of Speak Up! & Succeed: How to get everything you want in meetings, presentations and conversations. She blogs at NanceRosenBlog.com. She is also on the faculty of the UCLA Business and Management continuing executive education program. Formerly, Nance was a marketing executive at the Coca-Cola Company, president of the Medical Marketing Association, first woman director of marketing in the Fortune 500 technology sector, host of International Business on public radio and NightCap on television, an entrepreneur and a general manager at Bozell Advertising and Public Relations (now Omnicom).

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    Posted in Personal Branding, Reputation Management, Success Strategies
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    7 comments on “Personal Brands: Setting Goals Destroys Your Career
    1. avatar
      EXPERT
      Kristi Enigl says:

      I disagree completely, Ms. Rosen. To say that goals are “largely dis-empowering” is a broad generalization, I feel. Goals can be flexible, and they can change with you as you grow. Setting goals such as obtaining a college degree, working towards a certification, or improving your technical skills do not take away from your “personal brand.” Furthermore, planning for your career using goals provides a road map. Sure, you can change the road your on, and it doesn’t make you a loser.

      For many people, setting goals provides a way to strategically plan for the future. Goal setting should be based on your real interests; and having a personal brand and setting goals go hand-in-hand to provide a solid foundation for your career planning.

      Just my thoughts.
      Kristi Enigl, Career Coach

    2. avatar
      EXPERT

      Hmm, thought provoking for sure. The title is a bit misleading though, given your last paragraph. I agree that goals need to relate to your desires – strengths based goals that are scary a little and exciting a lot. I don’t think setting goals is telling myself that I’m not good enough. To me, setting goals is to imagine where I can be even more of myself. Anyway, if your goal was to make me think, you achieved it ;-)

    3. avatar
      EXPERT
      yinka olaito says:

      Nance, your last paragraph makes a lot of sense. But when you consider goals being ‘SMART’ it fits in well. Not having goal(s) can really leads to a clueless life. how will you evaluate progress? When there is no goal, every roads leads a person somewhere. That somewhere may not be the right place though. In all, you have expressed your mind and no one needs to blame you for that.

    4. avatar
      EXPERT
      Walter Akan says:

      It’s hard to read this post and determine what you are trying to say.

      You appear to advocate no goals in service to developing your personal brand. Yet, you point to personal brand related behaviors that are clearly goal based. You ultimately move on to make an overgeneralization that long-term goals as largely disempowering …

      …but you ultimately say, “Goals only make your career blossom when they are tied to your real desires, and they are within range of getting done. Then goals are working for you. Not the other way around.”

      Well, duh! So, setting goals, it seems, do not destroy your career.

      On some level, I think that there was not good clear thinking that went into this post. Did you have a goal for it?

    5. avatar
      EXPERT
      Walter Akana says:

      It’s hard to read this post and determine what you are trying to say.

      You appear to advocate no goals in service to developing your personal brand. Yet, you point to personal brand related behaviors that are clearly goal based. You ultimately move on to make an overgeneralization that long-term goals as largely disempowering …

      …but you ultimately say, “Goals only make your career blossom when they are tied to your real desires, and they are within range of getting done. Then goals are working for you. Not the other way around.”

      Well, duh! So, setting goals, it seems, do not destroy your career.

      On some level, I think that there was not good clear thinking that went into this post. Did you have a goal for it?

    6. avatar
      EXPERT
      Nance Rosen says:

      Kristi, Henrieta, Yinka and Walter: Yes! Setting goals that are NOT tied to your heart’s desire and feel like “shoulds” won’t empower you. But, acknowledging your truth – what you truly want to do and have a burning desire to accomplish? THAT is empowering. And, that’s the foundation of personal branding: honoring the authentic you and sharing you with all of us. Thank you all so much for weighing in!

    7. avatar
      EXPERT

      Thanks, Nance! That is really the essential message! Choosing goals that fuel your burning desire are key to your personal brand… and “should” goals are not!! I’m glad you circled back to deliver it.

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