In my last blog, I discussed the importance of doing things differently during 2015. One of the tips I mentioned was creating a career strategic plan – to get you from where you are today, to where you want to be. That sounds difficult, you’re probably thinking. Actually, it’s not.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, a famous French writer, once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Achieving success requires more than luck, more than hard work — it requires a plan. And the great part is that your plan doesn’t have to be difficult to create or complex. Here is my (simple) advice for creating your very own career strategic plan:
Look in the mirror. Begin by seeing yourself as a competitive product. Take inventory of your strengths, weaknesses and differentiators, and then challenge yourself by facing any weaknesses and making improvements. What books can you read or seminars can you attend to improve your professional skills?
Define your career aspirations. If you don’t know where you want to go, how will you get there? Take time to clearly define your aspirations. Where do you want to be in your career in three years, five years, 10 years?
Get to know the competition. Competition is a fact of life. How do your skills stack up against others? Understanding your competition will help you determine your advantages and shortcomings, and help you decide on the actions you need to take to better compete by improving yourself.
Identify your goals and create your plan. Goals reflect what you want to accomplish to improve yourself and to continue moving forward in your career. They ensure you are headed in the right direction and will achieve your aspirations quickly and efficiently. They are the steppingstones to your career aspirations.
Don’t wait to get started. There’s no time like the present. Don’t let fear of the unknown hold you back. Career strategic plans, like ideas, are effective only if you implement them.
Celebrate your successes. Don’t wait for others to shine a light on your accomplishments. Give yourself encouragement and rewards (new shoes, a movie night, a special dinner) to help provide motivation and inspiration as you continue on your path to accomplish your career dreams.
As the old saying goes: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always be where you’ve always been.” Make 2015 the year to change what you’ve been doing by daring to dream, and then creating a plan of action that will help you achieve your career dreams. You can do it!
~ Lisa Quast, author of the recently released book, Secrets of a Hiring Manager Turned Career Coach: A Foolproof Guide to Getting the Job You Want. Every Time. Join me on Twitter @careerwomaninc