Setting goals is important as they set the broad vision and direction for your life.  The key word is “life”.  You have a personal and professional life; therefore, your goals should encompass both.  When these goals are thought of in separate professional vs. personal silos, they aren’t shared and supported by life partners. 

To create integrated goals, start by asking yourself some key questions:

What do I want out of life?

What do I want for my family?

What do I want to achieve professionally?

When I was early in my career here were some of my answers:

What do I want out of life?

-          Husband and children

-          Financial stability and flexibility

-          Travel and learn about other cultures

-          Active social life

What do I want for my family?

-          Raise caring and independent children

-          Close extended family

What do I want to achieve professionally?

-          Be a good leader

-          Become a CEO


Note that only two of my answers were professional.  When you take the time to establish your goals, the process and result allow you to focus, prioritize and make tradeoffs that are consistent with your vision. 


Here is a simple example.  Having a close extended family was important to my husband and I.  We did not live near either of our families for most of our lives.  So, we had to prioritize and budget traveling to see family because we wanted our kids to have relationships with their extended family.  Early in our careers when money was tight, that meant buying a used van as our second vehicle, so we could drive from Texas to the east coast, which we did several times a year.  Now, I don’t like to drive, and I don’t like long car rides.  However, it was the tradeoff I had to make to ensure we could achieve our goal of creating a close extended family, while also staying on track with our financial goals.  


As you may have noticed, I used the term “our goal”.  It is critical to share and discuss your goals with your life partner, because ultimately you want a set of goals between yourselves that both of you support.  Remember, these goals set the vision and direction for your life.  If the two of you don’t have a consistent vision for your lives, it will make decisions and tradeoffs harder down the road.  Being the ultimate planner that I am, my late husband and I discussed each one of these before we were married.  That said, even if you are still looking for that partner, it is never too late to have the conversation with yourself.

Shellye ArchambeauComment