One of the challenges in managing your career is the ambiguity surrounding which moves to make and when. No matter how much information you collect, how many people you meet or brainstorming you do, the way forward often remains unclear.
One way to challenge your thinking is from another angle – starting with the end in mind and working backwards to now.
One of the first career management principles I learned was that if you don’t know where you are going then you are not going to get there. Starting at the ‘finish line’ repositions this principle to similar effect.
Try to imagine where you want to be with your life and your career in ten years’ time. What do you want to do and feel? Where do you want to be living? Do you want to be running a horse stud in the Hunter Valley, owning an online business by the coast and walking the beach every day (yay!) or achieving a C suite role in a prominent MNC? Through visualising your dreams in this written career plan you have a defined ‘end goal’ which then provides a direction back from there to here and your current reality.
Start to plot what you need to do to get back in 3-4-5 milestones and then really focus on the first stage which you should make one year in duration as ‘this time next year’ is very real. What do you need to achieve and what career decisions do you need to make right now that will get you back from your first milestone a year away?
Whilst starting with the ‘finish line’ in mind rarely produces a clear unencumbered path to your eventual destiny your daily and weekly routines should generate some definite momentum in the direction you think you want to go.
Keep reassessing whether the setbacks you are facing and opportunities you are uncovering are lessening or strengthening the appeal of your one year milestone and ten year goal? If not then change them but if you can’t for whatever reason find your finish line then consider career choices that keep your options open. In a year’s time you may have a better idea of your desired destination.
Starting with the end in mind is a really useful tool for other problem solving exercises too. If you don’t know where you are going you aren’t going to get there!
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