Are You Managing Your Career or Are You Just Letting it Happen?

Some people let life happen and some people make life happen. 

Working hard and doing a good job is important, but working hard isn’t the only ingredient to reaching your goals. It’s time for you to decide where your life will go and how you are going to get there. It’s time to stop waiting for the future to happen and start making it happen. It’s time to start setting goals, real goals, even some out of reach goals – and start working toward achieving them.

Let’s look at it simply. You can say “I want more money.” But if you say that and suddenly you find 5 dollars, you’ve met your goal (you have more money). Is that what you really wanted?? Probably not! Instead, make your goal specific, really specific. How much do you want to earn? How you will earn it? What job or type of work will you have? What industry will you work in? Where will you work? Think specifics. 

Are you managing your career or are you just working hard every day and hoping for a raise or a bonus. Do you know what kind of career you want? Have your ever thought about it? If so, have you thought about it recently? It all comes back to the old interview question, “Where do you want to be in 5 years?” (Remember that?) Can you answer that question today? 

One way to realize what you want is to start writing. Get a journal and write about anything that comes to mind. Don’t limit your thoughts and don’t limit it to just thoughts about your career – because you don’t know where your next great idea will come from. Write about whatever you are thinking of at the time. Don’t worry about grammar and complete sentences. Just write your thoughts. Write about the different parts of your life, the things you love and the things you want to change. Write about ideas, things you want to try or learn, your relationships, etc. Most importantly, write about your goals. Write about what you want your life to look like; your home, your finances, your career, your relationships, travel, free time, etc. Don’t limit yourself to what you think is possible. No one knows what opportunities will appear. Write it all down. 

When you write something that you want to pursue, circle it, highlight it, or put an asterisk next to it. These are the things that are going to become your goals. Next, write each goal in the back of your journal with as much detail as possible. Start every morning by reading through your goals and start thinking about what you have to do to accomplish these goals. Do you need to take a class? Do you need a mentor? Start keeping a task list and start moving forward on your goals. Once you write the goals, reading them and updating the to do list won’t take more than a few minutes every day. Actually working toward the goals will take more time. By making it a priority, you can accomplish many of the items on your list. 

One final thought, how much or how little of your goals you chose to share is a matter of personal choice. There are many different beliefs about this. Some believe that by sharing, you are making yourself more accountable, while others believe you open yourself up to people who will try to talk you out of achieving your goals. Overall, keeping your journal private makes it easier to write your thoughts honestly without fear of judgement – but only you can decide the level of privacy that works for you.

To recap, here are your next steps:

  • Start writing in a journal
  • Write specific goals in the back of the journal
  • Review goals daily
  • Keep an updated task list
  • Start accomplishing tasks toward completing your goals
  • Keep moving forward

(Photocredits: Pixabay/manager_1502200724.jpg)

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