Remember the days of heading out on vacation with the large road atlas spread across the dashboard? There was no other way to arrive at your destination. You were lost unless it was a path you had memorized in your head. So how can you expect to arrive at your dream career without a plan as well?
My dad would spend time before our trips reviewing the map and handwriting out directions on a piece of paper. Then he would refer to them often throughout the trip. Depending on time, sometimes we would take the fast route. Other times, we opted for the scenic route. Either way, without those directions, we were lost.
So why do you take something so important and impactful as your career and not do the same thing? Expecting to arrive at your “final destination” without a plan doesn’t sound like a logical plan to me.
Much like planning out a vacation, we need to plan out our life roadmap. And a key part of our life is our career. The following three steps are the ones I guide my clients through during the motivation phase of my Design Your Dream Career program.
Step 1 – Explore the Possibilities
The first step is to let your imagination go. Explore all the possibilities available to you. Get past conventional wisdom.
Before writing your possibilities down, take some time to get your mind clear. Visualize the future self you want to see.
Next, create four lists or a mind map with four areas: three months, one year, three years, and your lifetime. Set a timer for five minutes and write down all you want to accomplish regarding your career. Think of this as your wish list for your ideal career path.
Don’t get caught up in being realistic or feeling like you have to justify what you are desiring. Write it all down. Ask yourself, if I can be anything, do anything or have anything, what would it be? Studies will tell you that if you write down your dreams, your odds increase by 42% of them actually happening.
Embrace and enjoy this step. How do you want to feel and who do you want to be when you arrive at your dream career? All the obstacles are out of the way. Dream of a future of limitless possibilities.
Step 2 – Prioritize the Key Steps
Now that you are feeling energized and excited for your future, your next step is to establish a plan to arrive at your dream career. This step involves going back to your first step and reviewing all the items you wrote under each area.
Set a timer for one minute. Choose one item in each area that would have the most positive impact on your dream career. Circle those four items in each area. These are your goals. When you are done, you should have one goal you want to accomplish in the next three months. One in the next year, one three years from now, and one that is a lifetime goal.
The lifetime goal might be around the age you want to retire. It might also be around a monetary level you need to reach to feel comfortable even thinking about retirement. If you are over 40 and have yet to plan out (or dream about) when you want to retire, you are not setting yourself up for success.
Step 3 – Details, Details, Details…
Step three involves getting detailed about each of the goals you have established for yourself in step two. Much like you did in step one, create a mind map, or list, for each goal. List all the items you feel it would take to achieve this goal.
The more detailed you can be here the better. Add specific due dates for each task. Indicate how much, how many, or by when if applicable. Number the tasks in the order they must be completed, if applicable. And then write these due dates in your calendar. Accountability is key. A weekly check-in is ideal allowing you to adjust accordingly.
Don’t forget to think about what you might need to stay motivated to accomplish this goal. Are there sub-tasks that you can check off along the way to complete the goal? Likely so. Creating sub-tasks allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment and motivation to keep going!
You’ve mastered the process of identifying your goals, now what do you do? We are down to the last seven weeks of 2020. A new year is right around the corner and many of you are likely starting to craft some lofty goals for 2021. Are you looking to grow your current career? Do you want to explore what else is out there? Are you open to new opportunities but not sure how to get started?
Having a coach, or accountability partner, is key at this stage of the game. If you don’t have someone ensuring you are making headway and accomplishing what you said you wanted to, you will likely stall a bit. Weekly check-ins help hold you accountable. They allow for time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t work. Two minds are way better than one.
So, where do you want to be in six months? What do you want to create in 2021? Reach out and schedule a call. I would love to connect and share more with you about my Design Your Dream Career program. It is for anyone who wants more in their career. Let’s create your roadmap and plan how you will get there. By doing so, you will automatically set yourself up for success!