I have written previously about finding your why, and how it helps to gain a deeper understanding of the value fulfilment in your career path. What is crucial to this idea is understanding that HOW you achieve your goal is as flexible as you need it to be. Know that your path may change, and yet the goal stays the same - you are in control.
As we age, we have experiences and thoughts that will be challenged and developed by those around us. As the job market changes, roles disappear and new opportunities emerge. This means that new paths can and will be developed that will allow you to pursue those goals from different angles or perspectives.
In the days of navigation through maps and compasses, we used to plot our journey, and then optimistically set off, hoping for the best. Nowadays, with the aid of live, crowdsourced apps, we can plan ahead to avoid obstacles, as well as change direction and route on the go, depending on what comes up. Achieving our goals successfully works the same way. As long as we have the right tools to hand, we can keep changing path and still end up exactly where we want to be.
Read on for The Bedrock Program’s tool kit for successful career goals:
#1 Know Your Why
People who know their purpose in life are unstoppable
Your ‘Why’ are the true reasons that resonate with you as to why you’re doing something, that spark of passion, and it makes sure that you don’t lose sight of your goals.
With a good understanding of who you are and where you want to go, decisions about the future can be exciting. Discover what motivates you, and develop exciting, realistic career goals that reflect your interests and strengths. This will set you up with a clear plan for a successful future.
#2 Acknowledge (and Accept) That Plan Will Change
The dictionary definition of the word ‘plan’ is:
1. a detailed scheme, method, etc. for attaining an objective
2. a proposed, usually tentative idea for doing something
By its very nature, a plan is an intention, and not set in stone. It may only change slightly, it may change in its entirety, but one thing is certain; it will change.
#3 Understand How You React to Change
“The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.”
- Charles Kettering
Change can be unsettling, it can be exciting, but it will always generate a reaction. According to JM Fisher’s Process of Personal Transition, there are 12 emotional stages during times of change, ranging from fear, frustration, and anxiety, to acceptance, happiness, and excitement.
We are all different and our level of tolerance and excitement for change will be reflected in our reaction. Understanding how we personally react to change is the first step in taking control.
# 4 Give Yourself Time
When things don’t go the way you expected, acknowledge the change, and accept your emotions. It’s important to remember that people adapt to change at their own pace. Be patient, as it takes time to sort through all your emotions and adjust to what’s new; be kind to yourself.
#5 Choose Your Approach to Change
There are three options when we are confronted with change:
1. Be non-active. (Hope it goes away or does not impact you)
2. Be reactive (Wait for it to happen, and then respond)
3. Be proactive (Look ahead and try and anticipate, with different alternatives in place)
In options 1 and 2, control is all external, leaving us to hope all will end well. In Option 3, when we have our purpose constantly front of mind, and keep focused on our goal, we can more easily see our way through and be pro-active about what will happen, and how our path needs to change. Nearly everything that generates enduring value requires effort and focus along the way.
# 6 Reframe the Situation to See the Positive
“I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”
- Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison was the master of positive reframing i.e. thinking about a negative or challenging situation in a more positive way, as shown in his famous quote about his invention of the light bulb.
Reframing could involve thinking about a benefit or upside to a negative situation that you had not considered. Alternatively, it can involve identifying a lesson to be learned from a difficult situation. It allows you to see reality as accurately as possible, including all of the negatives and positives, but without distortion.
Positive reframing helps you change your perspective on life so you don’t get caught up in everyday problems, but stay focused on your why.
# 7 Circle Back to Your Why
‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world.’
- Mahatma Gandhi
When it comes to taking control of your career, action is required because decisions, not conditions, determine your future. Knowing what you stand for is a uniquely powerful fuel for behaviour, especially when the going gets tough, and the temptation is to take the easy route.
Flexibility allows you to quickly respond to spontaneous shifts in your personal situation, the market, and new opportunities. Circle back to your why, which will give you the confidence to explore different paths, and find a new clear route to your goal.
At The Bedrock Program, we work with teenagers, young adults, and parents to build up the self-awareness and resilience needed to achieve their goals.
Strengths + Values + Profile = Confidence + Actionable Paths