I have been brought up to believe in setting goals – for myself and for my work – and I, oddly, love the process. I love hearing about other people’s goals and the work they plan to do to achieve them. Listening to other people talk about their personal goals is like intimately describing the inner functions of a stranger’s brain, and I think is more indicative of values than any conversation about beliefs. I love reading the goals set out for projects, proposals, and organizations, I love understanding how goals contribute to a larger vision.
I love goals like a cartographer would love the lines of current in a map of the Atlantic, or like a mathematician would love complicated and codependent rules of in the writing of a proof. Like a chef thinks about a person’s palate before crafting a menu or a program developer thinks about how people will interact with the long, meticulous lines of code he is writing.
Goal setting is invaluable to guiding a creative process, allowing us to retrace our steps if we stumble off the map. It is a way to think about the future through a focus on the present, and an exploration of our own potential. Goals are interrelated and codependent and reliant on integration with both a larger, abstract vision and minute, tangible tasks – and writing personal goals is the closest one can get to alchemy inside one’s own head.
Goal setting allows us to define our individual success, and to remind us not to measure ourselves against the success of others. This is as true for people as it is for projects, and I don’t think that people do enough of it – success is multifaceted and subjective, and can be defined universally and individually. Understanding the motive, the context, the process, and the effects of success are as important as declaring, “Yes – this is what success looks like,” and writing goals is an important part of that.
After a lot of thinking – and a lot of time to myself to think – these are the three goals I have set for my two years of service. They are broad, and encompass many smaller objectives and tasks, but I plan to use them to define my personal success as a member of the Peace Corps.
- First: To grow and develop as an individual.
- Second: Assist in the growth and development of my organizations and counterparts.
- Third: To invest in the growth and development of Peace Corps Kyrgyz Republic and Peace Corps globally.
These are my beacons, my torchlight, for the next two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Writing them is the easy part, now comes the hard part, and I’m excited to get to work.
As a part of my first few weeks of work, I am writing about my first days as a Peace Corps Volunteer at my permanent site and about what I will be doing. You can read more about beginning work HERE.