Happiness / Inspiration and Editors

The non-career goal question: what do you want to achieve?

I was asked this question several weeks ago at a job interview. “And what would you like to achieve outside of work by the end of the year?”

I had been fine up until that point. I felt confident, answered questions pretty quickly without stumbling, gave detail. And then I got that. And I froze.

My life up until now has revolved around my career, so with that comes career goals. I have set myself up for things I want to achieve before I’m 25 in my career, dream places to work, big goals for my writing. I wanted to set up my own website, and I did that. But that was to make me standout. For my career. Every single goal or achievement I have had since starting the world of work has been just about that. Work. So I’m sat there in this interview, probably faced with what some might describe as an easy question, in silence

Two weeks prior to this I had just bought some shiny new running shoes in the hope they would inspire me to go out running. And they had so far, twice. So I clung on to that and found myself saying I would like to do a half marathon. I wasn’t lying. I was saying something out loud that I had been subconsciously thinking when I bought those trainers. I’m currently at a point in my life where I’m very, ridiculously unfit.

So I said that. I said I wanted to achieve something outside my career that involved running 16k more than I’ve ever run before, and somehow saying it out loud sort of put things into perspective. I mean I actually could do it. I could set myself that challenge. And I did.

What happened after was the Brighton Marathon. I’ve always known what a huge achievement it was to run a marathon, but I’ve never ever been good at long distance running. I can spend hours in the gym but as soon as I’m outside and have to run, my whole body decides it doesn’t want to. I stood at the finish line on a gorgeous sunny day watching men, women, older men, older women, teenagers, run through that finish line to their friends and family and almost collapsing on the floor. It was amazing to watch and it solidified my goal – I want to run the half marathon. And then full one, one day…

But why has it taken me until I’m nearly 25 and to have found what could definitely be described as my ‘dream’ role and to have been PROMPTED, to finally think about having goals that are outside my career? I used to think that being career driven meant everything, literally everything, had to evolve around your career. But now I think the opposite.

You’re a better, much more rounded person if you can work hard enough to get your dream job, and still have a life outside of it which is full of achievements and goals too. It shouldn’t take us until we are in a stable, fulfilling career to look at over parts of our life and think, is there anything I want to achieve outside of work? And better yet, if you are a naturally determined person on the career ladder, think what you can achieve when you’re off it.
Don’t be the person that has a blank face and awkward silence when you’re asked what you want to achieve outside of work.

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