Planning has always been the secret sauce for me when it comes to all areas of my life. However, I have seen how planning without true vision can lead to misery. Yes, planning works when you stick to your plan, but it is the vision that glues us to our commitments and holds our feet to the fire.
A visualization is a powerful tool, and for years I knew of the power of visualization without truly understanding the power of having a vision. In my late teens, I read "Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life" by Shakti Gawain. I loved how I could use visualization to make changes in how I felt about myself and in my life.
Unfortunately, once I got into the thick of my career and felt bogged down by stress and uncertainty, it took me many years to apply those lessons to create a vision for my career. I first had to realize that a vision was what I was missing. I was going through the motions because I knew I would need money to survive, while all the time feeling miserable and lacking fulfillment.
As we grow in our careers it is important that we start to develop and focus on our vision for our careers and personal lives. As creators of our future, how can we successfully manifest the life we want to live if we ourselves are unsure of what we are creating? This uncertainty allows us to be blown in many directions and takes our power away. We begin to think that our career success depends on our bosses or teams, company or even the economy, when all along we have the power to reinvent, readjust, and create success within our lives.
Discover your vision
The first step in taking our power back is having a strong vision. Companies use vision statements as road maps to guide their initiatives and company direction. You too should have a vision statement that serves as a guiding force in your career. A vision statement that expresses your optimal goal and the impact you are looking to make is a major step in career planning.It will support your career in immeasurable ways, from deciding which industries to target, to deciding the next step on your career path.
Discovering your vision comes from having the courage to question yourself and what you want while tuning out outside influences, such as society, our parents, friends, and family. Without even realizing it we internalize the feelings and thoughts of others daily. It takes going within for us to see where certain limitations originated.
The thought that we couldn't make it as an artist or pursue a certain path starts with something we were told or read. An outside influence told us that we weren’t good enough or that something was impossible and we built our careers around that notion. You can check these 10 Best Career Sites To Land Your Dream Job for finding your dream job.
Imagine what our careers would look like if we didn’t put limitations on ourselves. If we didn’t think of our careers as just a tool to make money and gain influence, but as a way to express our gifts and make a positive impact on the people around us. Spend some time really imagining your career. What your day looks like, what impact you have, how you feel. Imagine it in the context of your whole life. Where are you waking up? What time is it? Who are you lying next to? Our careers affect all areas of our life and should not be thought of as separate from our personal lives. Our careers are essentially our “life’s work”, and we must think about it in relation to our whole lives because it touches all the pieces of our personal space
All of us at a young age had a vision of what we thought “work” or our careers would look like. Maybe it was based on what we saw our parents do, or on things we observed on television. But, I know I wasn’t the only one playing teacher/doctor/nurse while growing up. For years, I thought that if I didn’t make it as an actor my backup job would be as a Systems Analyst since that is what my mother did. Never mind that I really had no idea what a Systems Analyst did or that I wasn’t even into computers at the time.
It was through tapping into what I was really interested in and good at that I decided what I was going to pursue in school and in my career.
Write it down
Now that you’ve gotten the picture, write it down. Another book that was a great influence over how I thought about my life and career is "Write it Down, Make it Happen" by Henriette Klauser. I read this book in college and it helped open my eyes to the power of writing down goals, thoughts, and dreams. Ask yourself, what are you passionate about, how do you enjoy spending your time, and write down the answers. Write down your long and short-term goals, and what your top priorities are for the next 6 months. These are the questions that are going to form the base of your plan.
The power of having a solid plan is that it takes out all the guesswork when it comes to how you should be spending your time and effort. Removing stress goes a long way towards making your job search a bearable experience and may even infuse a little fun into the process.
Your vision for your career should be the driving force behind this plan of action. Do a clear assessment of your career now and how it aligns with your goals for your life and career. Research the career path for someone in your industry. Does that speak to the direction that you would like to take your career? Explore other career paths and see how they tie into your experience and goals. Dedicating time to career-related research will support the planning process. This should include online research as well as networking and talking to industry professionals.
Create your plan
From this space of knowledge, you can make a job search or career plan that speak to your needs while taking into consideration the needs and values of the industry you are looking to advance in. This will also support the next step in planning, gathering and assessing crucial resources. Ask yourself what you need to make this plan a success: a new resume or updated LinkedIn profile, or perhaps, more education such as a certification or hands-on experience. Once you know what resources you need set dates for acquiring them. Dates are very important when planning, they serve as motivation and a way to track progress.
Now you can assess what your priorities are and set dates and plans of action. Arrange your goals with the top priorities on your list first and under each goal list the resources that are needed. If you have all the resources, then you can move on to planning the bigger goal. But, if a crucial resource is missing start there and create the preliminary steps to acquire the resources.
Start with setting a date for completion. After setting a deadline, list all the things that need to happen to complete this goal. Add a completion date for each of these smaller tasks, again dates are so important. Now break down how much time you will spend on this goal on a daily and weekly basis. Are there tasks that need to be completed daily or weekly, such as setting up informational interviews or networking? If so, make note of those too. I find that having a daily list of actions is a great way to stay on track. It also brings a sense of accomplishment when we complete all our tasks. Learn the secrets of How To Apply For Jobs Online.
Take your power back
All of this should be written down. Plans that are only kept in your mind can be easily forgotten or ignored. This is why it’s best to not only write the plan down but to share it with someone you respect.
Try to make it someone that you would mind disappointing. Often times we will break a commitment to ourselves before we will break it with another person. This person can be a mentor, friend, family member or coach. Just having someone to hold you accountable is a great way to increase productivity.
After a while, some of us stop dreaming and creating our vision in favor of what we believe is a more practical view of our career. The problem with this more practical view is that it rarely has us in control of our career. However, through creating a clear vision and plan we can take our power back. Start with having a clear vision of what you want to create. Create a thorough plan with dates. And get ready to enjoy a more fulfilling and joyous career.