Someone once asked me what I would change most about my experience in corporate America. I don’t have any regrets, but that question got me thinking. I told them I would be crystal clear about what I wanted to gain from my experience before I started working. I’d then push aggressively (and unapologetically) for opportunities to work on projects or work with people that helped me achieve that goal. Said another way, I’d be clear on what I want beforehand and to be directionally accurate during my time there. I didn’t do that and still got a lot from my experience, but I could have gotten a lot more.
It's hard to do, but if you can be clear on where you’re trying to go (or at least the direction) it has a big impact on your journey. It helps you be able to better evaluate opportunities (does this get me closer or further away from X) and makes it easier for others to help you. The end result is that you’ll likely end up where you want to be in significantly less time.