It’s envious how some people have it all figured out! Discovering the real “you”: the person who actually resides behind the facades, stresses and defences of everyday life and in the process knowing what you are meant to do. Once unmasked, your journey continues with various career explorations. And finally you identify a career that permits you to make great use of your skills and talents.
But the question is where to begin, and how to steer clear of making too many mistakes or following too many phony leads along the way? And the bigger question is how to establish a flourishing and successful career path and execute a plan to achieve it?
Here’s how to take a good at yourself, figure out what you really want to do and chart a career plan that will help you get where you want to, both personally and professionally.
Start by evaluating yourself:
A sincere evaluation is the key to figuring out your ultimate goals. Start by taking stock of where you stand professionally. Your resume and job title can only say so much about what you do, so start taking notes of what you do actually. Your key responsibilities and everything else you spend time on at work, even if it’s marginal to your ‘real’ job. Thoroughly review all that you have achieved in your profession so far. Focus on experiences that have taught you significant lessons and assisted you in learning fresh skills. Peruse feedbacks or performance appraisals that you have and then evaluate things you have learned. And as you examine your past, assess your strengths and weaknesses, and how they connect to your chosen career path.
Devise plans for progressing towards your goals:
Your goals symbolize your destination. If your goals are vague, your career development will be fuzzy and random. So set clear goals and remember to keep the end result in mind. And as a career driven professional, brainstorm ways to bridge the gap between the two. Every goal of yours should have small, well defined action steps to help you get there. Think of the skills you need to develop, whether through learning or work experience. Be a reflective learner! Don’t shy away from individually reflecting on your own opportunities for development. By doing so you will allow yourself to independently develop innovative ways of conquering personal barriers if any.
Your organization can support you by providing guidance, resources, training and development opportunities. But your career is still your career and only you can decide where you want to be in ten or fifteen years down the line and develop a plan to get there. So reflect on your experiences! Are you making use your knowledge and expertise in a winning manner? Are your professional aspirations aligned with your existing experiences? If not then identify ways to meet your goals. Find a mentor; take training or other learning opportunities. Take whatever actions are required to lead to higher job fulfilment and lower stress levels. You can also create an Individual Development plan that is aligned to your organisation’s mission. Once you’ve done that, involve your manager in the process by sharing your objectives and goals. Ask for feedback on your skills and talent and get advice on how you can develop them further. You can also set up regular discussions to inform them of your progress.
Realignment of your goals:
Your career path is not a one-way street from which you can never reroute! Instead, plan on regularly looking at the map you’ve created to see if it’s still your best course. Pay close attention to any major life events that might affect your priorities. Similarly, the professional world is also not a fixed entity. Planning a career ten, fifteen years ahead is tricky and can swiftly become obsolete because there are several factors that might affect an individual’s career, like a varying economy or swift technical advancements. While it may appear that crafting a career course would be restraining in the face of alterations and challenges, the contrary is actually true. A well-planned roadmap makes for effortless navigation by laying out the bigger picture.
So know where are headed to, and chances are you’ll eventually get there.