• Tommy Cicero

Accomplishing bigger goals

"Energy and persistence conquer all things."

- Benjamin Franklin


Think of something you accomplished that took a lot of time and effort. There may have been times where you doubted yourself and possibly felt like giving up. Despite the obstacles, you persevered. It was so important to you that nothing was going to stop you from crossing the finish line. I think back to some of my biggest accomplishments in life and surprise myself at how I managed to get it done, despite any setbacks. I would ask myself, "How bad do I want this?" If I wanted it bad enough, I stuck to it until I accomplished my mission.


One of my biggest goals was deciding to obtain a master's degree in counseling when I was 33. I had to complete a year-long unpaid internship after taking the required classes. Halfway through my internship I realized I was unprepared for the intensity of working one-on-one with at-risk youth. I considered leaving the master's program, feeling I was not ready to help people manage their mental health issues, especially pre-teens and teenagers. I realized I still needed to work on my own mental health. Not sure what to do, I turned to my classmates for help. I did not want to give up.



I learned I could finish out my internship by switching to the Career Counseling track and still complete my degree in Community Counseling. I had already taken the required courses. Because of my 10 years of technical recruiting experience, the transition worked out very well. I finished my internship at Northeastern Illinois University as a Career Advisor. I even stayed on in a paid position after graduation. This experience helped me land a role at the University of Illinois at Chicago for the College of Engineering, where I worked for the next five years. I had to pivot at the end of my master's program, but the degree paid immediate dividends.


We find ourselves stuck between the start and finish of our bigger goals on a daily basis. Whether it's related to our mental health, physical health, family or career, we get to choose what we want to cross of our "To-Do" list toward our goals. Since we can't get it all done, we have to prioritize. I will ask myself, "What is most important to me right now?" For the bigger goals I ask, "How bad do I want this?" If we want it bad enough, it's up to us to find a way, despite the obstacles and any nagging doubt. We just have to ask ourselves, "How bad do I want this?"



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