Where is your career path leading you?

Close your eyes for a moment. Picture yourself many years from now sitting in a rocking chair in front of the fireplace. Right now you’re probably thinking “are you serious?” Please, just go with me on this one.

You’re reflecting on your entire career. What does it look like? Now open your eyes.

The reason I asked you to look back on your career is that if you can’t picture (even vaguely) where you ultimately want to end up, then how can you think about having a career plan?

After all, where do you think your career path is going to lead you if you haven’t got an idea of where you’re heading?

Whether you’re just starting out as a graduate, a few years into your first job, or even if you’ve been climbing the ladder and are now managing your own team, when you’re thinking about your career you still need to think about where it’s all ultimately going to take you.

Nobody has a crystal ball and nobody has all the answers. But without even a rough idea, a vague goal, or a basic vision in mind, you might end up jumping from job to job instead of finding yourself in a profession where you will derive a true sense of personal accomplishment.

You don’t want to be sitting in that rocking chair looking back on your career thinking to yourself, “yeah I created some great spreadsheets”, “I met some really cool clients”, or “I went to a lot of meetings”.

You need to be aware of what your ultimate career goal could look like, and take action in terms of the steps you will need to take to get there… no matter how far into the future that goal may seem.

Of course you will need to be realistic, since it’s not going to be case of simply going from point A to point B in a straight line.

You should think of your career path like a flight path. The plane never flies in a straight line to your destination. Like a yachtsman, the pilot will very often have to change course to avoid other air traffic, turbulence or a storm up ahead. You too will face storms, choppy seas, turbulence, roadblocks or other uncertain conditions along the way and you will need to change tack every once in a while.

I spoke at a conference recently and one of my fellow presenters ended her workshop with the following words:

“The only thing I can guarantee is that tomorrow won’t look like today. But everyone can at least visualise what they might want their tomorrow to look like”.

So what do you want to see as your career highlights?


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