What are you going to be when you grow up? Have you figured that out yet? Feeling pressure that you don’t have a “career plan”? Well, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Recently, we had Peter Aceto of ING Direct join our podium and I asked him if he always planned to be the CEO of a bank and he laughed “was I supposed to have a plan?” I have encountered people in my career who do have said plans, but they seem to be very few and far between… and I’m not sure that they’re particularly happy. If you struggle with setting career goals, here’s a technique that might work:
Think about your retirement and ask yourself these questions (and assuming you could be doing anything you want): How will I be spending my time in the final years leading up to my retirement?
Write it down. What will you be doing? How will you be spending your days? What activities, if you could do anything at all, would you be doing? What type of business are you working in? What type of role did you have?
Now that you’ve created a vision for yourself, here’s the easy part. Think about what actions you can take over the next 12 to 18 months that are going to move you closer to achieving this vision. Then break those activities down into what are you going to accomplish in the next 30 to 90 days and go from there. Then from there, what’s one thing you can do each week to move forward. At the end of the year, you’ll have done 52 things that put you closer to your career vision. How cool is that??
I’ve noticed that many people say that they want to shift careers or change jobs or do something different but get immediately overwhelmed with what it’s going to take to make that career shift happen (5 years to get another degree part–time!) As I get older, I realize just how quickly 5 years can fly by.
As the old saying goes: The best time to plant an oak tree was 10 years ago; the second best time is today.