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Separate goals from visions

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Some career counselors love to talk about vision. They’ll advise you to think lofty thoughts. That can’t hurt. But the real test is setting the right goals.

Unlike big-picture visions, goals involve the nitty-gritty. They pinpoint concrete, measurable accomplishments you set out to achieve by a certain date. They let you track your progress at any time in an objective way. While goals may lack the romance of visions, they help you earn promotions more quickly and focus your efforts where they count the most.

Ponder your vision only after you’ve attained a series of short-term goals—and you’re still unsatisfied. Your restlessness may indicate you’re on an unrewarding path and you need to rethink the track you’ve chosen.

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