Rita Magliocco

So you’re young and hungry to make your mark in the cable industry. But as anyone in the industry well knows, there is no one path to take to the top.

Consider this image: Your career is a hiking trail. There are many different ways to reach the summit, depending on which trail you take, but as long as you’re prepared for the journey, stay focused, and work hard, you’ll reach the top.

In cable, you have to be just as inventive about propelling your career as you are creative out in the field. So setting clear and measurable goals is vital to obtaining your long-term career goals. Success comes when opportunity meets preparedness.

First, establish what your long-term goal is or what your version of “success” looks like in the industry. Then follow these five tips for setting measurable short-term goals.

Be Inspired By Your Goals

If you don’t love it, don’t do it. My first job out of college was a hedge fund auditor for a Big 4 Accounting Firm. It was a great experience, but no matter how well I did or how hard I worked, I never felt fulfilled or satisfied. Being very self-motivated, I knew that if I allocated all the time and energy I spent doing something I loved I would be wildly more successful than working in a job that didn’t make me happy. If you’re in a job you love, it truly doesn’t feel like work. You’ll be less likely to quit for reasons such as, “I’m not happy” or “is this really what I want to be doing,” if you’re honest with yourself about your goals.

Ask Yourself “Why”

When thinking about what your short-term goals should be, always ask yourself why. Why this goal? How does this fit into the big picture? Why is it valuable? Why will it benefit me? If you ask these types of questions, your goals will hold more meaning. And when they hold more meaning you’re more likely to see them through. It’s similar to dating. When you’re really into your significant other you’ll go above and beyond to spend time with him or her and see things through. When that’s not the case, everything seems more like a task or chore. Making sure your goals are meaningful to you is a vital part in reaching them and seeing them through.

Ensure Your Goals Are S.M.A.R.T.

Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Time Bound. How many times have you made a goal only to feel discouraged because you didn’t reach it? I know I have. But recently, since applying these principles to the goals I’ve set in my professional and personal life, I’ve been meeting and even surpassing my expectations. Avoid making big, broad goals that might take years to accomplish. Break down all the steps you will need to reach the bigger goal. That way when you’re working toward smaller attainable goals, you will feel a sense of accomplishment early in the game—and consequently you won’t feel as easily discouraged.

Stay Accountable

It’s easy to make excuses and push things off to tomorrow. But the more you do that, the more you’ll have on your plate and the less likely you are to get it done. Instead, find a co-worker or friend with whom you can share some of your goals. This person doesn’t necessarily have to be in the industry, but he or she should be as eager and motivated as you are. That might mean getting together for coffee every other week, or checking in on your progress with email every other day. This could be the extra accountability you need to push yourself to meet your goals.

Find a Mentor

A mentor within the industry can provide valuable feedback to you, as we all need someone who’s been in our shoes before to guide us. Though a mentor need not wear your same shoe size, he or she should be someone to whom you feel comfortable approaching when you encounter a hurdle in the road—or if you just want assurance you’re on the right path.

– Rita Magliocco  is one of Cablefax’s Over-Under honorees–Overachievers Under 30. She has worked in programming and production for Back9Networks and NBCU.

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