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Most career conversations start with “what so what are you doing next?” Or “what are you doing after graduation?” Or “What’s your 5-year plan?” UGH! These basic questions caused me both anxiety and frustration when trying to figure it all out-- or least the next step...
Not only was frustrated because I was asked this question constantly by well-intentioned friends and family-- I became anxious and self-conscious. Should I know what is coming next? Is it bad I don’t know? Am I behind? Even in job interviews, they ask “where do you want to be in 5 years”.
Long story short. I hate these questions because they get in the way of crafting your vision. They ignore the focus and clarity of the necessary action you can take TODAY. Why work on it now when you have 5 years to do it? Basically, these questions are based on an outdated paradigm which halts rather than generates an actual conversation.
Look at yourself now! Did you expect to be where you are 5 years ago!?
Like many Millennials, I was not used to knowing what I was doing next. Early in my career, I was unemployed for a long period of time. I became unsure, unclear and unmotivated. I had trouble choosing something to do because I was so lost. Would going back to school help? Should I listen to my parents and get a job down the street? What if I made the wrong choices? Frankly, I would have taken the first job opportunity offer I got to avoid the unhappiness that kept creeping up.
As the Jenny Blake author (and my personal hero) of Pivot: The Only Moves That Matters is Your Next One states-- “ if change is the only constant, let's get better at it. And I truly believe one of the most powerful personal development paths for staring down gremlins and stepping into your fullest expression is self-employment.”
Mastering this change is dependent on your level of CLARITY. Think of it this way-- if your values are your compass, your vision is your desired destination. In this post I’ll provide you the tactics to start seeing that destination and simply reverse engineering the method get there (that part will be in other posts) So let’s get started:
Now you’re starting to think…… “but HOW Phillip!?” When creating your vision avoid the quicksand pit called HOW aka the Tyranny of Hows. Ba ba bahhhhhh!!!!! Ok it’s not that bad. But, this can start from one tiny question and snowball into overwhelm and inaction. Think of the beginning scene of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Giant Ball = Your Worries
Solution: Creating a One-Year Vision
Developing a compelling one-year vision is no easy task. Actually it can be a very intimidating process because once you get started defining something that truly excites you -- those damn fear gremlins set in and say “You don’t deserve that!” or “You’re not enough and doomed to fail”. So let’s take some small steps (and breaths) and to start to brainstorm by answering some of these questions (Note-- really think about stretching yourself here):
What does your ideal work day look like?
What kind of work are you doing?
What impact are you having?
How much are your earning?
Where are you living?
What are your health routines?
Who are you surrounded by?
How do you feel?
How are you feeling? Afraid? Good! This fear is a good sign. It means you’re right in what I call “the stretch zone”! Ok not that original……but for now don’t focus on the fear, instead operate solely by looking at the positive impacts you CAN bring to others and you’re WHY. This will help you through the inevitable and relentless dips and hard times.
Of course, this needs to be a nice-to-have one year vision. But we are really looking for is the wanderlust excitement not unrealistic things (i.e. be a millionaire by 2019). Now, let’s focus a little bit more on getting specific on the answer these provided above:
What impact do you want to have on others? What type of information are you most excited to share?
What major life experiences, work or personal, are most exciting to you? How do you want to feel on a daily basis while pursuing them?
What does success look like 1 - 2 years from now? What will be happening in your life and work?
Ok now we’re talking!!! These questions really start identifying a clear idea of where you want to go (i.e. a compass) while building a picture to define your Knowns and Unknowns (i.e. a map). Full Circle Here People! It is important to give yourself permission to explore. Overall, this allows you to start defining a game plan and break it out over a specific time frame (i.e. 1 year).
Of course-- this is not set in concrete and it changes as you do throughout your career. Creating a 1-year vision is like painting a picture. Often we start working on it and we don’t know how it will end up. Like many painters, we set down our paintbrushes and come back to it or constantly work on it and try things out. That’s why it is essential to do something now!!
“Stay in your head you’re dead” -- Tony Robbins
If you can take away one thing from this take this--
ACTION BREEDS CLARITY
I’ve worked with Client who often feel stuck and their vision is cloudy. If you’re stuck on what you want to do next instead focus on how you want to feel. And do SOMETHING….. ANYTHING. We all want to feel more balanced, engaged and a lot less stressed and how to get there is to start living that life/career TODAY in whatever way you can.
Maybe you can connect with possible mentors. Or read a book in the area you’d like to be in. Or take an online class in something you’re interested in.
This is just the starting point my friends. High impactors like you are highly resourceful; once you are clear on where you want to end up, you to be creative about making your vision happen.
I help my clients question to answer the “What’s Next?” question we all dread by re-discovering their strengths and what IS working then prioritizing that in their careers
Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One by Jenny Blake
Born for This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do by Chris Guillebeau