It’s easy to feel like your career is not in your hands, that no matter how much time and effort you put into each day, you are not in the driver’s seat. But can you do something to influence the direction you’re going?
Yes, you can!
You don’t need to settle for whatever comes your way – you don’t want that kind of life. I don’t want that life for you, where you’re just settling.
I don’t want that kind of life for me either. I had to come to terms with that after I finished grad school and I got my first job. It was everything that I wanted. I really wanted to work in language. I was working in language and negotiating contracts in Spanish, helping to create marketing programs in French. It was amazing. But then I got unclear about what I wanted and started getting pushed in the direction of whatever everybody else wanted for me – what my boss thought I should be doing, what her boss thought I should be doing with the company.
I found myself in a place where I don’t know if I even really like what I’m doing anymore. I didn’t know if I was enjoying it. That was because I wasn’t clear on what I wanted, so I couldn’t articulate it. I couldn’t put it out there, to have other people understand what I want.
Here’s the thing, there are a ton of opportunities out there, opportunities that you don’t even know exist. That’s okay if you don’t know they exist, because other people do. They can only put those opportunities in your direction when they know that those opportunities match with what you want.
So you have to get clear on what you want.
I am not talking about what role you want, like being a director or a VP. I am talking about getting really clear on the skills that you want to use, how you want to be spending your days and also how you want to be compensated. When you’re clear on those things, then you can let the opportunities shape themselves.
I found myself in a role that I just really wasn’t enjoying, then I got really clear though, on what I did enjoy, and I put it out there.
I loved big-picture thinking. I loved working with people. I like seeing evolution, how we start here and grow to the next thing, like creating roadmaps. All of that is really fun and interesting for me. I put it out there and then a job came in front of me. It was leading a technology team.
My background was in loyalty marketing. I was doing consulting and I had no thoughts about leading a tech team. I’m not a tech person. Yet, all those things that I really enjoyed, the big-picture thinking, the strategy, the evolution, the change management. Those were all parts of what this role was.
I could have never envisioned it for myself but because I was clear about what I wanted and how I want to be spending my time, other people saw an opportunity for me. I took the role and I loved it.
I absolutely love that role. But if you had asked me two years before, I would have never thought that I would enjoy a role in technology.
That opportunity only came to me because I was clear on what I wanted and was able to share it with others. And I want the same thing for you.
I want you to be able to be clear on what you want so that your career can move in the right direction. So those hidden opportunities can be revealed and served in front of you on a platter.
How can you make that happen?
First, you have to get really clear on the skills that you like to use. Write down all the skills that you enjoy doing on a day-to-day basis. Then write down how you want to be spending your time. Think about if you want to spend your time in meetings, if you want to spend your time engaging with other folks and teamwork, or maybe you prefer being on a keyboard alone in a room, doing research, typing away.
Think about how you actually want to spend your day and write that down.
Then think a little bit further out two to three years. What is it that you really want to be doing? And I don’t mean a specific role. I mean, do you want to be leading a team? Do you want to be working remotely? Do you want to be working internationally? What is it that you really want to be doing two to three years from now? Write that down.
These are all going to help you gain clarity about what it is that you want.
Take a moment and just write down your ideal day. It doesn’t have to do with the role, but with how you want to be spending the day. When do you get to work? Who do you work with? How often are you engaging with others? What skills are you putting to use each and every day?
Get really clear on this because once you’re clear on it, you can start to share. When you start to share, things will start to move in the direction of what you want.
If you aren’t clear, you are just going to have to settle for whatever comes your way. And while you might be happy with it, you’re never going to have the same amount of joy. And you’re never going to thrive as you would if you were working on the things that matter most to you.
Taking action is what changes your life. Take some time to write these things down:
✓ What skills do you want to use?
✓ What do you want to be doing day to day?
✓ Two to three years from now, what would your daily work life look like? Is it international? Is it domestic? Are you remote? Are you in an office? Are you working with big teams or small teams?
✓ How do you want to be compensated?
Write down what would feel really good to you. Just write it down and then put it out there. Share it with folks because the more that you share, the more opportunities will come your way.
It will really give you a step-by-step plan to advance your career, to move your career trajectory in the direction that you want.
You don’t have to work long nights and weekends. You don’t have to always be on the clock to move forward. I’ve got the tricks and the tips to teach you how to make a plan so that you can get to where you want to be.
If this resonated with you and you’re ready to take control of your career without compromising time with your family, Get Ahead Without Staying Late can be an invaluable resource for you.
In this course, I’ll show you the 7-S Framework for Career Success, so you can stop second-guessing and start living up to your full potential.
You can create a game plan and take control of your success with Get Ahead Without Staying Late.
Take action to start believing in yourself at How to Get Unstuck.