Cars and boats are wonderful for transporting people from point A to point B. However, both of these machines are technically worthless without a device to steer them in a precise direction.

Humans are similar; we are beautiful creatures capable of many things and yet without a device to steer or guide us we can often end up working as a CPA when our life’s passion was and still is, anthropology.

Goals and objectives are as necessary to human beings as steering wheels are to cars, or a rudder is to a boat. They guide you precisely where you want to go and should you need to make mid-course adjustments, that’s fine. Set a new course and turn the wheel or rudder.

1. Professional Tune-Ups

Here are a few suggestions on how to steer your personal and professional life toward a direction of your choosing rather than leaving it to the winds of change.

  1. Yearly: What would you like to achieve this year in your personal life and in your career or work? What trips would you and your family like to take and when? What kind of products and services would you like to provide to your customers this year? What kind of health improvements would you like to make for yourself?
  2. Monthly: In order to achieve your yearly goals, what must you do each month to get you one step closer to achieving them? A small portion of savings put into your Disneyland vacation fund, one night-class to improve your career development, improving your workout frequency from one per month to four per month?

2. Charting Your New Professional Course

Start small and work yourself up. The older you are the bigger your ship and the longer it may take to turn your ship into a new direction.

  1. Weekly: What do you need to accomplish this week to help you hit your monthly objectives?
  2. Daily: In the 1940′s a CEO paid $25,000 for this one piece of advice; make a list of what you need to accomplish today and prioritize it. When you accomplish an item on your list, mark it off and then do the next priority on the list. At the end of the day start a new list so the first thing the next morning you can simply follow your list again. (Also, by updating your list at the end of the day, it helps jump-start you the next morning and gets you into the game more efficiently and effectively). If you have thirty minutes before your next appointment, simply choose a thirty-minute project or phone call and mark it off as completed.
  3. Debrief: Every thirty to sixty days it would be prudent to look at your objectives and compare them to your results and ask yourself:
    • What is working well?
    • What isn’t working so well?
    • How might I improve the gap between my objectives and where I currently stand?
  4. Refine: Since we are embarking on an adventure, don’t have a crystal ball, and don’t yet know what we don’t know, adjustments will always need to be made. Therefore, reassess, make the necessary adjustments and keep sailing in the direction of your overall objectives.

Most people assume because they work hard they will find success. This would be similar to thinking because your car or boat has a big engine that you will arrive at your destination quickly. Horse power, hard work, and good intentions mean little if they aren’t directed effectively toward a specific destination or goal. Drive your life like you drive your car, with purpose and clear direction.