Guess what 50% of the women I talk to say is the biggest struggle in their careers right now?
Not knowing what their next step is.
This lack of clarity leads to a lot of negative stress for us.
We feel guilty and ashamed that we don’t have clearer idea of where we’re going…
Sometimes wondering if there is something wrong with us.
We struggle to evaluate job opportunities in a constructive way…
Since we don’t know what to measure them against, more than if they seem fun and if they pay more.
We fill our days with the work that needs to be done…
While missing the opportunity to build the specific skills, experiences and achievements needed to qualify for roles that will eventually lead us to our dream jobs.
“But I don’t know what my dream job is either…”, you might be thinking.
That may be true, but most people have a better idea about it than they think they do – they just need to do some work to make it clearer for themselves!
And I know this isn’t the answer you were hoping for, but you will need to put some work in to make this clearer.
Spend time thinking about what you’re aiming for at the end of the day.
What do you want to spend your days doing?
How do you want to feel when you wake up on Monday morning?
What company would you love to say you work for?
Or are you motivated by the big pay check?
This is different for all of us, but by spending time intentionally thinking about this will make it clearer for you.
Research people who have jobs and lives that make you green with envy.
What road did they take to get there?
How long did each step take?
What do they list as their achievements and experiences on LinkedIn?
What are the stories they tell in articles or podcasts?
Map out what you need to do to start building that career.
What deliverables do I need to show that I took part in, or preferably was responsible for?
What experiences will I need to show that I’ve been through?
What skill set do I need to start working on?
And what we’ve got at the end of the day is a good old 5 Year Plan.
I’m not talking the type of plan that’s a Power Point deck from McKinsey where somebody else figured out what you should do, that you flip through and forget about.
I’m talking a living document that you’ll curate just a carefully as some people do their Instagram feeds when planning their weekend brunch or matching outfits during a girls weekend.
Include ALL aspects of your life that you are trying to fit in.
There is just no much that we want to fit into our lives and we are surprised every single time it doesn’t: career, family, moving, renovating, finances, furthering your education, going on a long-isn trip, your partner’s career… (I’m exhausted just from writing this).
Refer back to it when opportunity knocks.
People seem to think that a plan it too rigid for their free spirited personality.
In my personal experience, my long term planning has let me be more spontaneous, since I could quickly see how a new opportunity would fit into the rest of my life, and I could move forward or reject it without losing too much sleep over it.
It’s also a great framework when taking about the future both with you boss and your partner!
Keep an eye on it when going through difficult situations.
We’ve all been there. When work just sucks, your boss is being useless, you’re dreading Monday morning and you would do anything to be anywhere but there right now…
But you know in your heart that you need to stick it out, because greater things are waiting for you in the future.
(This is called delayed gratification and is a favorite topic of mine we’ll get back to.)
This isn’t for all of you, I know. Planning just isn’t very sexy, right?
But reaching our goals and dreams IS.
So let’s give a shot, ok?