Was last year cruel or kind to you, professionally speaking? Even if your career didn't take a hit, the tumult of the last few months may have you quaking in your boots over the future.
Career coach Deborah Brown-Volkman reminds fearful workers, "Your career is long! Some people work for 40, 50, or 60 years. Don't get stuck in the here and now when what is happening at this moment is just a small span in a long career. Instead, create a vision to help you move forward."
Claim What You Want...
Deciding what you want to do doesn't happen overnight, but, according to Brown-Volkman, founder of a members-only coaching group to help people reinvent themselves professionally, the process can be simple. She says, "All of life's journeys begin with the phrase, 'I want... .' It's a very powerful phrase, and without it, it's hard to go very far." The career coach likens your professional journey to a trip, revealing that if you didn't decide where you wanted to go on vacation, you'd likely wind up at a destination you don't enjoy.
...Or What You Don't Want
It's hard to say what you want when you're not sure of it. She points out, "The reason certain people can't answer that question is it that it's too overwhelming. But most folks can say what they DON'T want. They can say, 'I don't want to work for a large company,' or 'I don't want a lengthy commute.' The flip side of what you don't want is what you do want."
Fight the Fear...
If creating a vision is so simple, why don't more people do it? Brown-Volkman reveals, "People are lost and afraid now, and they're scared to say what they want because they're afraid of not getting it. When it comes to vision, sometimes people won't even say what they want unless they know they will get there or how to get there. But you have to create what you want first and then live into it. It's like a declaration. It takes courage -- and a bit of faith."
Are you ready to build a vision for your desired professional destination? Begin by getting it down on paper. She advises, "I believe if you write down your vision and look at it on a daily basis, it's more likely it will happen. Either consciously or subconsciously, you'll take steps to make it a reality." Start with the following 10 questions. Adds the New York-based career expert, "Don't forget to allow yourself to dream a little bit; it's OK to do that!"
1. If anything were possible, what would I want to be different in my career?
2. What type of job would I want?
3. What would I want to be responsible for?
4. What type of boss/coworkers/team would I want?
5. What kind of hours would I want to work?
6. What type of company would I want work for?
7. What sort of culture would I want the company have?
8. What city would I want to live in?
9. What salary would I want to earn?
10. What would I want my approach to stress, my workload, and deadlines be?
Get in the Game...
Once you have a vision, start acting on it. Brown-Volkman urges professionals, "Everybody needs a game to play. If you don't have a game, you get stuck in the day to day. The only way out is to say, 'This is what I want next.' You need momentum and action to move ahead this year!"