How to figure out what you want from your career

Aug 22, 2019

One of the biggest mistakes I see professionals make in their careers?

Trying to figure out how to create their dream career, business or life. Without first getting clear on what it is they actually want!

Whether it’s changing roles to escape a job you hate, only to find moving roles doesn’t fix it. Or, becoming so fixated on which new career or business idea to pursue that you remain stuck and fail to take action.

What’s missing in these examples is a focus on trying to define a specific goal (the ‘how’) upfront. Without considering the big picture of what you want from your personal and professional life.

And I get it. I’ve been there too.

Prior to leaving my corporate job, I remember mindlessly scrolling job boards hoping to find the ‘perfect’ role. For months, I obsessed over figuring out the one, ideal career path I should follow.

What helped me get unstuck when I had no idea what to do next?

Reconnecting to a long-held dream I’d had from a very early age.

Thinking back many years, I recalled how I’d always wanted to start my own business one day. I’d been inspired by my Dad who’d achieved amazing success in his business. I was attracted to the freedom of being my own boss, having control over my decisions and no limitations over the money I could make.

I started by getting clear on what I wanted. My big dream. A desire I’d had for many years. The vision for the career and life I wanted to create.

From there, I easily figured out the ‘how’. By formulating the action steps I needed to take to make my vision a reality.

Feeling stuck in your career, ready for a change or no idea what to do next?

Read on to learn what a vision is and why it’s crucial to start here to gain clarity on your career direction.

Discover 4 ways to design a compelling vision and how to successfully use it to create the career, business or life you desire.

WHAT IS A VISION?

Your vision is the overall, big picture for your ideal life. It’s about understanding exactly WHAT you want.

Vision is closely linked to your purpose or ‘why’ – what gives your life meaning and the impact you want to make on the world. And it’s aligned to your values and what’s most important to you.

Your vision is more than independent goals and milestones. It’s about the person you’re becoming – who you want to be. And how you want to feel.

A vision is something bigger than you. The desires and dreams fuelling your actions, impacting the choices you make in line with what you really want.

WHY YOU NEED A VISION

Clarifying your vision is the first step to figuring out what you want in your career, business or life.

A vision gives you clarity on what you want and the power to take control of your future. It helps you understand what steps to take, define important goals and guides your actions and decisions.

Having a strong vision for your ideal life motivates, energises and excites you. And it keeps you moving towards these goals.

‘Empty’ goals are defined by deadlines, the expectations of others or society. Think – the pursuit of money, power or success.

Meanwhile, a compelling vision drives you to reach the goals that are fundamentally important to you. And helps you conquer fears or blocks holding you back from taking action.

HOW TO DESIGN A VISION FOR YOUR IDEAL LIFE

#1 – IDEAL DAY EXERCISE

Create a vision for your ideal day. Think of a date 5-10 years into the future. Then describe your ideal day in detail, starting from the moment you get up.

Where are you and who are you with? What are you doing and what would you achieve? How do you feel? Who are you being?

Give yourself the time and space to reflect on this. Get quiet and journal your responses. Don’t forget to consider all areas of your life including your career, relationships, finances, health and interests.

Finally, forget about being realistic during this exercise and dream big! If time and money weren’t an issue, what would you do? What are the things you long to do that you never thought possible?

At this stage, it’s normal for fears or limiting beliefs to surface. Worrying about what others think. Believing it’s not possible. This isn’t a time to be rational. Stay connected to your heart and focus on what you really want.

#2 – CREATE A VISION STATEMENT

Create an overall vision for your ideal life, which includes lifestyle and career goals for the next 5 years. Start by breaking down the main parts of your life and reflect on what you want in each area.

Think about the end dream or vision rather than individual goals, steps or how you’ll get there. Finish with an overall description of your ideal life, taking into account all these key areas.

You can also drill down further into one area in greater detail to create an overall vision for your career or business.

#3 – CONSIDER YOUR VALUES & PURPOSE

Aligning your vision to your purpose and values ensures its connected to what you really want and who you truly are.

Ask yourself – what activities have purpose and meaning for you? What in life is most important? What is the impact you want to create or the legacy you’d like to leave behind?

Considering these questions will help you uncover your vision, which is directly linked to your ‘why’. Your values and purpose remain constant, as they’re part of who you are. So, although your priorities may change throughout your lifetime, because of this link your vision also stays consistent.

#4 – WHO DO YOU WANT TO BE?

Don’t just focus on what you want to DO.

Think about how you want to FEEL. And who you want to BE.

This moves you away from focusing on specific goals. Instead, it connects you to the feeling of what it’d be like to bring your big dreams to life.

From this place, you can create a compelling vision for your life. And then establish your goals and action steps based on this vision.

NEXT STEPS…

Once you’ve created your vision, reverse engineer the action steps you need to take and design goals based on this vision.

Revisit your vision often. Be sure to refer back to it anytime you’re making important decisions or setting future goals to ensure they remain aligned to your vision.

Final thoughts…

Clarifying my vision helped me identify what I want in my personal and professional life, set clear career goals and intentionally take action.

This is the reason designing a compelling life vision is the number one secret to figuring out your career direction. And why I start here with every coaching client – whether they’re pivoting their career or business or growing their existing one.

These ideas have supported my clients and I to design our vision, get unstuck and figure out what we want at work. I hope they assist you too.

 

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Stacey Back is a professional coach to existing and aspiring consultants and the Founder of Profile Careers. She helps high-achieving professionals go from feeling trapped in their corporate careers to developing the confidence and strategy to transition into their own consulting businesses.

Stacey also supports existing consultants who are stuck in a business model they hate, working longer hours than ever or struggling to find clients or make money. She helps them set the foundations for their business to find more time, attract the right clients and grow the consulting businesses they desire. Stacey works virtually with individuals based across Australia and internationally.