5 questions to help you get focused and clear on career direction

When we are full swing in our jobs we don’t always reflect on what’s going on and where we’re heading. I advocate that every now and then we should find the time to ‘check-in with ourselves and our careers’ to make sure everything is running as it should, in a clear direction and to identify anything which needs to be adjusted. After all, every career is a work in progress and just like any of your projects, it’s not best to be left until things go wrong or wait until the end to spot mistakes and the could have beens.

Energy, motivation, purpose, focus and confidence. These are the five words I believe we should all associate with our careers if we want to feel satisfied, happy and fulfilled. So here are 5 questions to help you check-in  with your career and help you get focused and clear on your career direction.

  • What is my vision of career success? –  Visualising is a self-leadership tool that will help you work on the belief system and clarify what you consciously and unconsciously desire.  Try taking 25 minutes out to visualise your career in the short and long term. Simply close your eyes, take some deep breaths and then ask ‘What will success look like when you retire? What will success look like in 5 years time? What will success look like at the end of this year? For each question pause and consider what you see, smell and feel.  Let the words, images, sounds and the smells all flow into your mind. Once done, open your eyes and then write for 5 minutes on each vision, capturing everything that came to mind. Don’t judge it or worry about making sense immediately, just get it down on paper. Then review and reflect.
  • How are you really doing? Self-awareness work helps build confidence and shine a light on areas of development that you may or may not be aware of. When it comes to career planning it’s a foundational element. One of the psychological models I love to use for self-awareness is ‘Johari’s window’ . It requires you to consider what you truly know about yourself and where you are blind. Fill in the boxes and ask your colleagues to help. Use adjectives to describe your skills, strengths, attitude, knowledge…. 

  • Where are the gaps? With a vision and self-awareness reflection there will be gaps starting to emerge based on where you are today and where you truly want to get to, and who you truly want to be to achieve this. Note these down and rate yourself on where you are on a scale of 1-10 right now. How big are your gaps?
  • What are your career goals? Goal setting has been identified as a clear way of ensuring you are motivated and aligned with what you want and will increase likelihood of change. Writing your goals down will turn them from just dreams and intentions, plus it will add a level of personal accountability. Here are five goal-setting questions to help you get started
    • If you were brave enough to say it aloud, what would you say you wanted to happen in your career in the next 6 months?
    • What would have happened in the next 6 months which would mean you feel more fulfilled and satisfied at work?
    • What 3 things are you putting up with in your career?
    • How can you turn your career vision into goals?
    • What goals can you set based on your Johari’s window?
  • Don’t just think, create an action plan. Focus areas will be emerging. Some may feel huge and the inner critical gremlin may be having a field day playing with your fears and belief system. The best idea is to chunk things down. Start with the end in mind and then work it back. Finally, to get you moving forward straight away, ask yourself ‘what would it take for me to just go one more step on the scales you created above?

Career planning takes time, attention, focus and motivation. Reach out and talk to others as you consider your career. If you need professional support to help make sense of your thinking, and to move from exploration to decision making and action, do reach out and Book a free coaching consultation call to find out how as a coach I can help you.

Find out more me here about Victoria and my coaching services here.

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