‘A goal without a plan is just a wish.’ - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
These days you can expect to change careers five to seven times in your life, so having a career plan is a vital ingredient for your career success. While engaging in a professional coaching or mentoring relationship will help you to flesh out a more detailed plan, there are some simple steps you can take right now to catapult you to success!
We are all guilty of being too busy to spend time thinking about our current situations and the paths that we actually want to be on. Make sure you take some time to reflect not only on your career path, but also yourself and your values, skill and passions. Understanding yourself and what you want will make it easier to create a plan that suits your goals and lifestyle.
- Goal setting
It’s said that a goal without a plan is just a wish, so now that you’ve identified the career you want, you need to figure out how to get there. This is where setting goals comes in.
You’ve probably heard of SMART goals before. These are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timebound goals that will set you up for success. Research shows that 76% of study participants who set SMART goals, wrote them down (pen to paper) and shared them with a friend or co-worker achieved their goals—it makes you accountable, and the act of writing them down cements them in your long-term memory so you’ll think about them subconsciously.
- Develop a plan
Check in time—you now know yourself and what you want to do better, and you’ve set your goals and written them down. You need to look at each goal and figure out what decisions you need to make to achieve them. Maybe you need to get some more experience to reach one of your goals, or perhaps you need to undertake some study. These decisions become the paths you’ll take to reach your goals, and you’ll soon see a career plan starting to take shape. There a few tactics you can deploy to make these sometimes difficult decisions:
- Make a pros and cons list
- Evaluate how each path aligns with your values and lifestyle
- Think about the immediate and future consequences of a particular path