I had an interesting conversation with a co-worker lately.

I pride myself on having a sort of “intuitive alarm” related to interpersonal communications.

With clients
With co-workers

This is NOT me saying I’m always right, or that my alarm doesn’t go off prematurely or leave me “terribly late for my flight” (if you know what I mean).

But I’ve found that after 20+ years of doing business in one way or another, that it’s far better to communicate when this alarm goes off, than to “hit snooze.”

So, recently I hollered at a co-worker about how they were “feeling about things and what they were thinking about the future.”

A couple insights came from this.

This person was solely focused on what was ahead of them for the next month or so. NOT “the future” as I see it.
This person was more concerned with very short term personal goals than long term career goals.

I was very thankful for this interaction because my assumption was that everyone was thinking like me - Big picture.

But just a couple years earlier I had been in this person’s near EXACT situation and didn’t have to imagine empathy.

It was baked in organically to this conversation.

Not only did I GET IT, but I had an eye-opening, hindsight-ish revelation:

Your personal goals should ALWAYS map to your career actions.

For example, four years ago, my wife and two kids moved into a beautiful brand new house in Spring Hill, TN.

We felt great, but I had one um, sort of major concern.

We had -$5,000 to our name.

“What do you mean?” the love of my life asked.

“Well, we owe visa $7k and we have $2k in our savings and just paid the mortgage so our checking account is empty currently,” is a really nice version of what I actually said.

So it began. I didn’t realize what I started doing until the other day, during my convo with said co-worker, but I started mapping my career decisions to match my personal goals.

I was not happy with the amount of money I was making, and I wasn’t that happy with my job either.

I began learning new skills that were applicable to the industry I was in and as a result increasing my confidence to make business moves and increase my earning potential and see that through to fruition.

Now, four years later, as my family and I have sold said Home to embark on amazing adventures traveling and working remotely, I’m thankful and humbled to even have co-workers and teammates at Data Driven Design to even ask questions to.

And wherever their heads may be at the time, short term vs. long term, in the moment or in the clouds, thinking of personal dreams or professional goals, to me they’re all one.

They all deserve equal weight in our decision-making process because they’re all an integral part of being happy, fulfilled humans.

Without your personal goals helping shape your professional actions, you can’t be a perfectly conducted orchestra.

So when your alarm goes off, wake up and explore, and when you decide what you want personally, find a way to work towards it professionally.

Hit me up with any questions anytime at

Thanks for reading, watching and listening, and have a great day!


Paul Hickey, Founder / CEO / Lead Strategist at Data Driven Design, LLC has created and grown businesses via digital strategy and internet marketing for more than 10 years. His sweet spot is using analytics to design and build websites and grow the audience and revenue of businesses via SEO/Blogging, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook and Instagram Ads, Social Media Content Marketing and Email Marketing. The part that he’s most passionate about is quantifying next marketing actions based on real data.

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