Do you feel excited about your career, the opportunities that you have and the direction that your role is taking you in? So many of us expect our organisations and leaders to manage our career and our learning and development and to provide us with the right opportunities, at the right time for us. In reality, how often do we get this mix absolutely right? How many of us have taken control of our own learning and development and looked for opportunities that work for us rather than waiting for them to be presented to us?
Many people who I have been speaking with recently have used this past year as a time of reflection, to take stock and review where they are and where they want to be in their life, and career but they don’t really know where to start.
For most of us it is easy to look back to ten years ago, five years ago and see how much we have changed and grown personally and professionally. But it is a lot more difficult for us to think about where we are going to go and how much we will change over the next five and ten years. Harvard psychologist, Dr. Daniel Gilbert puts it simply, “Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.”
It’s much easier to default to the present than to imagine ourselves in the future, but you have to create a vision for the future. You won’t know how to get where you want to go if you don’t know where you’re going. Your vision and goals will change over the course of your career, but as long as you stay focused on your future, you will still be moving forward. It is so important to take control and be proactive rather than reactive.
Imagine the excitement and motivation that you will feel when you use your imagination and envisage where you want to be and take control and ownership of the steps to get there.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Albert Einstein
But what do we need to do to take that control? Here are a few top tips:
- Self-reflection – review the past and current you
- Create a vision of the future you
- Based on your vision, create a detailed and effective personal development plan – like your CV, this is not a static document and will continuously change and be updated
- Take action
- Feel the fear and do it anyway
- Ask for opportunities
- Be a life-long learner
- If the role and/or organisation no longer fit, look for new opportunities