Defining Goals With A Sense of Curiosity
I became curious as to how I can merge my current practice in design with my love for the ocean.
Growing up with an intense desire to become a Marine Biologist have shaped my love for the environment. It's been a no-brainer for me that my passion lies in environmental science, sustainability and awareness, but I never gave myself the chance or ever had the initiative to follow that path. I let the lack of opportunity and accessibility hinder me from following my childhood dreams, and that was a lesson learned. Nevertheless, I have always had a positive outlook on where life has led me. Where I am now is where I definitely want to be, but moving forward means having a clear goal. Yet, I'm fully aware that I lacked this sense of clarity.
When I began reflecting on this need to define my goals, it was an insight that I constantly found myself asking the same questions over the years: How can I widen my learning scope and expand my field of practice? How can I merge my dream with my reality?
These thoughts kept swimming in and out of my mind, but it's always been placed at the back burner. Time and again, I didn't feel the need to deal with it and that became another lesson learned for me: don't run away from my thoughts. It was only recently that I had the chance to prod and ponder on them.
How Perpetual Learning Defined and Clarified My Future Goals
My goals have always been vague and this led to a feeling of frustration, believing that my ethics are not completely aligned with my current actions and goals. This left me doubtful of my path, my practice and my purpose.
If I'm being honest, I have reached a point where I don't have a crystal clear vision of who I want to become, what I want to achieve, and what I want to contribute (to the environment and to our society). I have always known what my core values are which became my guiding principles, but I never went on a deep dive to uncover what it is that I truly want and what it is that I could do to achieve them having only reflected on it on the surface level. This contributed to my lack of tenacity with my career path. It was easy for me to get swayed to a different field when I felt like things were going nowhere and that I won't be able to make the impact that I want with it.
When I began a deep reflection, I started asking myself questions and one of them stuck with me: How can I merge my current field of practice (Design) with the field that I have always been passionate about (Science)? This developed my interest in learning more about the trends and practices in Environmental Science. I did some research and discovered great articles that lead me to concepts and ideas that I became genuinely interested in, such as Biomimicry In Design.
This on-going period of research and learning is what I came to know as Perpetual Learning. The term simply means constant learning, and I believe it's one of the driving skills that will get you to clarify and reach your goals. (Here is an interesting article from Harvard Business Review about The Best Leaders Being Constant Learners, where interesting terms such as Scalable Learning in the workplace environment are mentioned, but I'll probably save my thoughts on that for another day.)
I have always imagined myself sailing out into the ocean, admiring the expanse of blue where the sky meets the sea, and spending my days on water.
Perpetual Learning Starts With Self-AwarenesS
The thing that led me to this so-called Perpetual Learning (which helped define my goals) started with Self-Awareness. This was very apparent with the questions that I began asking. As I went on this path of Self-Reflection, I stumbled upon the idea of merging Science and Design. While this may have been an obvious answer, it never occurred to me until I started asking the right questions.
I became very intrigued with this entire experience that I wanted to retrace and outline the steps that led me to what I was seeking. This is not to say that I have my whole life defined and laid out for me in an instnt, in fact it's quite the opposite actually. This experience opened a whole world of possibilities for me to explore and consider, and with that came a newfound sense of motivation. I feel like I'm a step closer to acting on my goals that are driven by my beliefs.
My recent experience is extremely obvious, simple and straightforward, but I felt the desire to share it with you as a reminder or a pick-me-up whenever you may feel lost (like I obviously have) in this journey to defining your goals:
Seek Within. Ask self-reflective questions and make time to ponder on the thoughts that you keep at the back of your mind. Allow yourself to think about them. (Don't make the mistake of putting them on the side, like I have.)
Define Your Strengths & Weaknesses. Knowing what you can do and what you can't do can help you figure out your growth actions to achieve your goals. Leverage your strengths and build upon your weaknesses.
Acquire The Resources. Be a perpetual learner and constantly seek opportunities.
Create A Course Of Actionable Steps. Define your next-step actions. Make things attainable.
Keep The Goal In Mind. Need I say more?
There's a long journey ahead of me and things are not definite. Nevertheless, I am hoping that this brings me closer to merging my dreams with my reality.
This post was inspired by a class I recently took on SkillShare with Jacob Morgan where he talked about The Future of Work: 5 Mindsets To Power Your Career. It's very straightforward and digestible enough that I was able to power through the lessons in one sitting. It's also where I learned and borrowed terms such as Perpetual Learning.