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Juliet Tripp (at left) speaks to a group of female planners and suppliers during a breakout session at IMEX America.

Career Advice from Executive Women

One industry veteran offers tips on goal-setting for advancement while avoiding burnout.

At the IMEX America show in Las Vegas in early November, meetings-industry colleagues were excited to see each other again and, hopefully, mark the start of a return to the business of in-person events.

Of course, the show was also an opportunity for industry members to take in content that helps them do well in their present roles, while also developing their ability to take on larger roles in the future. Juliet Tripp, deputy head of global events for Chemical Watch in Shrewsbury, England, spoke at a women’s leadership session about how planners can set the right goals for themselves and work with mentors to maintain their progress, all while avoiding too much stress
. “People don’t want to settle,” she said. “They want to achieve the most they can. But you have to go about it the right way or you’ll just be spinning your wheels,” wasting time, and becoming frustrated and demotivated.

Tripp said that the first thing to do is develop a vision, a “why” that motivates you to get up every morning. “It could be to have a new income stream in order to live better, or it could be to make a difference in a particular industry or area of society.” In short, have enough focus to create a detailed plan for achieving that goal.

On the other hand, “it doesn’t have to come with a one-year or three-year or five-year time limit,” she notes. “If you have a specific dream and a plan that allows you to make regular progress towards it, that’s fine.”

Part of that plan should be to develop new habits that lead to achieving the goal. “These are the things you can time-stamp,” Tripp says. “Something you do for 90 days is going to become permanent. And once you have a few new habits that connect to the bigger goal, you have gotten much closer to achieving it.”

It’s also time to swap out some habits that aren’t helpful to achieving the goal. “Rather than instinctively turning on Netflix, steal back an hour here or there to think about your goal and the plan.”

Tripp adds that when an opportunity comes along that’s even somewhat related to your goal, don’t think too much—say yes to getting involved and figure out the “how” afterwards. “Don’t ask ‘why’ but rather ‘why not,’” she says. “This is a moment where you push yourself out of your comfort zone. Start something before you feel ready to do it because, to be honest, you’ll never truly feel ready. Down the road, you’ll look back and be very happy that you took the leap.”

To combat the inevitable doubts and to maintain personal accountability, it is critically important to find a coach or mentor. “You’re 40 percent more likely to achieve a goal if you write it down,” Tripp says. “And if you have presented that goal to another person with whom you check in once or twice a month,” the chances of following through become much higher.

Lastly, each time you achieve something related to your goal, such as making a speech or presentation, highlight it on your LinkedIn profile and résumé. “Seeing those things in writing shows you are accomplishing things, which is so motivating,” says Tripp. It’s permanent proof that you’re getting closer to achieving the big goal.

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