16 Jan 2022

Working Parent Goals: A career I love. A thriving family. No overwhelm in sight.

A career I love. A thriving family. No overwhelm in sight.


2022 just rolled around. The kids are back to school soon. Work is ‘loudly-quietly’ ramping up.

Sound familiar…it sounds VERY familiar to me.

The dream of a successful year at work, a happy family and manageable demands may already be feeling like a slippery slope. It’s no wonder we too often park the dream goals back on the bookshelf till next year.

Well, it’s time to unpark them…2022 is up for good grabs.

It’s normal to want a meaningful career, lots of laughter at home and far less overwhelm. As a coach I hear it regularly, particularly from working parents. As a working parent myself, I also wish for this regularly.

And the good news, there are simple and effective techniques to achieve our work-life goals this coming year.


Strategies to rid the overwhelm


  1. Know your endgame

Well run businesses and good leaders within them, have a clear view of the future. Their strategic goals are tight. They know when they are permitted to say ‘ we succeeded’. Working parents are often focused on getting through the week, even the day. The never-ending task list can make anyone feel pretty disempowered and exhausted.


From today set a long-term goal. Set a picture of your future success…‘I want to be Director of Operations, whilst actively engaged and present in my kids school life’. A goal provides motivation and confidence. When it’s clear, you can focus on and prioritise the tasks that take you towards it.


  1. Have a ‘win’ list. Pop the task list second fiddle

If you are like me, task lists feel torturous. Uncompleted task lists are the pits altogether. They take mental space and cause unnecessary stress. The endless tasks do not end, and they just fuel anxiety. Instead, each day, grab a piece of paper and write down 3 things then draw a line under these 3 things. Any other tasks then go under that line. If those 3 tasks get done in your day, that is 150% winning. Switch the mindset. Every day, regardless of the wins, losses and incompletes…celebrate the wins.


  1. Time is finite. Invest wisely

When we have clear goals, we know what we are working towards. We can prune and prune and rid the day of commitments that are misaligned. This will allow more time and energy on the things that matter and provide deep satisfaction. Have a weekly calendar, every week identity items that don’t fit with your goals. Delete them or say no to 10% of them.


Strategies to keep purpose and meaning in your career


  1. Know what is most meaningful to you

We all dream of purpose, meaning and fulfilment in our careers. But when we have many balls in the air, it’s easy to let these things slide. As humans, we aren’t great at making decisions that lead to satisfaction. We too often choose a pathway that we are proud to talk about at a dinner party or in a job interview.


Instead, ask yourself am I respected by my work peers? Am I growing, learning, and always challenged? Am I aligned to the company mission? Am I proud of what I contribute every day? What’s meaningful, is unique to each of us. When we find it, work is joy.


  1. Consider your legacy, strengths, freedom, and values

You can think about a few factors that will help you define your own meaning. Consider the legacy you want to achieve, the strengths you want to lean into and master, or the freedom that a decent salary allows your family. Lastly don’t overlook alignment, as individuals we have values, and organisations do too. Make sure yours and theirs are in good alignment.



Strategies to keep family front and centre


  1. Have a family mission

Just like we set work goals, set family goals. Each week, month, year…whatever works for your family discuss some things you each would like to accomplish. However big or small these goals are, they form a family mission. Each family member learns to support each other to achieve their goals and to help everyone else realise theirs. If you are unsure about your family’s purpose, discuss what you all love doing, consider a phrase that describes what you all like doing, or what is most important to you all as a family? It could be the outdoors, sustainability, achievement, or giving-back.


  1. If the family mission goes amiss, simply revisit and reset

Just as is the case in a business, plans, priorities, and direction can change. Your family mission may shift over time or change all together. That’s ok. The important task is to take the time to re-visit regularly. When you hit setbacks, what support do you need to give each other? Or do you need to review a new goal and focus all together? A family mission will succeed when you are all in on it together.


Our 2022 work-life goals can and should remain firmly in sight. Try reminding yourself of these simple strategies (and share all your other goodies too!). You really can have a career you love, a thriving family, and good riddance to the overwhelm.


#ThrivingWorkingParents #UnlimitU #Inclusion #Leadership #Wellbeing


Poppy Griffiths is a professional coach and Director of UnlimitU a high-performance consultancy which supports the career and family success of working parents, personal and leadership development of women, and the positive mental wellbeing of people. If you or your organisation is interested in coaching, workshops, or speaker programs, please get in touch. poppy@unlimitu.com.au  


Poppy is UnlimitU's founder and principal success coach. "Every human has more potential, hidden, held back or in the making"