When you are making career decisions for a solid, long-term career move, what is one of the most important things you can do to make the best career decisions? No question about it: having a plan will give you a huge advantage in finding a career that is right for you. The reason for this? A good career plan is based on good personal goals. This is true even for a midlife career change.
There are no reliable studies on what percentage of those who set personal goals achieve them, however you won’t find hardly any successful businesses that don’t have a written plan. Usually the better the business plan, the more likely the success a business will have. So how do you set up a working action plan?
Engineering your career goals
It’s best to start your action plan from the long-range view – the big picture – then engineer it all the way down to daily action steps.
An effective plan starts with clarifying your goals. You then break down those goals into action steps. You then put those goals into play by populating your action plan with them. First, you lay out your 7 years long-term view. This 7 year view is what I call your career GPS, it guides your career path and adjusts it where necessary. Then you lay out a one to five year midrange view, then a one to three month plan, then a daily scheduler with daily action steps.
No uncertain future
By plotting out every stage of your future like this, it creates confidence, purpose and direction in the career decisions that lead to the best career choices. When you have an action plan, you don’t have to worry about an uncertain future. You are able to keep a broad perspective of where you are going within your sights.
How hard is it to keep this future front and center? Only 10 to 15 minutes a week! Once you set up this plan, all you need to do is spend 15 minutes each weekend on your weekly review. You review these long, medium and short-term action plans and adjust them as necessary. The weekly review is a tool that keeps you grounded in the present, where you are most powerful and effective.
You can now focus on activities you have identified as important to your career. They are clear, specific, outcomes you are motivated to achieve because they serve your career goals. Best of all, you no longer have to “force” career decisions. By being on top of your goals and plans each week, you can take advantage of many more career opportunities. You are making career outcomes happen, instead of their happening to you.
My experience is that an effective action plan will guide you to literally build the life you want, one action at a time, till by numerous actions pointed in the same direction, you achieve more career success than you thought possible.