So here we are – firmly planted in 2016 with all the normal aspirations and maybe a few trepidations for the year ahead.
These early months of the year for many of us are important moments to take stock about where we are in our careers and what we might do differently in the year ahead to grow, develop and progress (however we might define this).
Here are a few ways to determine where you are with your career, and three important considerations for the next steps.
Are you Ready for a Change?
Quite often in our coaching dialogues with busy and career motivated individuals we discover the following lines of thought articulated at this time of year:
You're happy where you are, pretty sure that nothing is going to change to disturb your equilibrium and you've got plenty of room for personal growth and performance in your job and organisation.
This is Nirvana for now, but you can't rest on your laurels. Make sure you're using the current settled state to boost your skills and experience so you're prepared for any change of circumstance just around the corner.
There are lots of signs that things are going to change around you this year and you might have to be prepared to adapt, change roles or even change organisations. None of this is specific as yet but you have a lurking feeling you should prepare yourself for the “what-if” scenarios that might be ahead.
It feels like you have done this job forever and you're now just repeating activities with marginal value for your own experience and development; nothing much is likely to change about your role so you need to get your head around looking for a new more challenging role in the year ahead.
Sick of the Boss
You've had enough of your boss and their lack of value and encouragement for you. She/he closes you down, ignores your ideas and takes all the credit for your efforts. You cannot tolerate this for much longer. Your boss is going nowhere so it's down to you to carve out a new opportunity for yourself.
On the Road to Damascus
You've seen the light; it is time for you to radically change what you do for a living (and maybe how you lead your life). You're fed up with the constraint, comfort and lack of challenge in the corporate world and so you want to make a difference doing something of much higher purpose and value. You are both nervous and excited about where this might take you but you're not really sure how to manage your transition.
Ready to Stretch Your Wings
You have outgrown this job and the opportunities in this organisation. You need an entirely fresh challenge but one that plays better to your strengths and aspirations. You know what you want next, you just need a good plan.
So, What's Next for Your Career?
When you're facing a career challenge or standing at the crossroads, it helps to focus on the following things:
1. Well-Formed Outcomes
It is vital to define — tangibly and specifically — what it is that you want from your next career step or stage. This is much more than just a wish or an intent but something that has been fully worked through in your mind that will give you incentive and focus to make things happen. This in turn leads to...
2. A Robust and Realistic Plan
Where and when will you start, how will you keep yourself motivated, how will you deal with setbacks and what is your realistic timeline for achievement (given the many other things you have to do in your life)?
3. Support and Consequences
Who can you rely upon to help you achieve what you want, who else do you need to consider in your decision making and what other skills, help or coaching do you need to accelerate your progress?
Future blogs will focus in more detail on each of these three career planning elements – so keep a look out for this further advice and guidance.
And in the meantime if you need any more immediate help with advancing your career, please contact us for a confidential initial discussion.