Sunday, June 25, 2017

Remeber that Your Career is a Journey.

Like many journey’s we undertake in our lifetime, your career is one where you need to accept that you’ll encounter delays, diversions, pot holes, the occasional ‘road rage’ and all kinds of travellers along the road you will travel.
In today’s hectic, fast paced business environment many youngsters start their journey totally unprepared for the journey ahead and hence when they encounter their first obstacle they falter as they simply hadn’t thought or prepared for any ‘problems’ on their route. Though in fairness it’s not just those that are starting their careers, as there are many out there, of all ages, who are still faltering, as they haven’t embraced that their career is a journey that will inevitably encounter problems along the way.
The first step is to simply accept that your career path will never be smooth sailing, yet at the same time it should not be full of negative surprises and you need to view all barriers as challenging obstacles to overcome – trying to see positive opportunities rather than just the negative obstacles.  
Planning a career is similar to planning any journey you may take - you ask yourself ‘where do I want to end up?’ A simple question, yet very few ever ask or answer it. Yet without having an idea what your final destination is or what it looks like – it’s hard to evaluate how your journey is actually progressing at any given point in time.
In today’s volatile and uncertain world one ‘destination’ goal should be financial independence. Where financial independence should be a realistic future state – a destination where you can live a comfortable life and enjoy your retirement. Some may achieve the status of the superrich, but for most it should be a state of simple independence – where you work in your retirement because you want to, not because you have to. 
Another key career ‘tip’ for the journey should be always having a ‘plan b’. This is a great resource to take with you on your journey, so that when you meet that diversion or blocked road (obstacles that you’re certain to meet more than once on your career journey), you don’t just get stuck in limbo waiting for some unknown hand to clear the obstruction for you – you take control and simply change direction. Not losing sight of your final destination, but taking your own detour, under your own terms. Sure it might be a ‘longer way’ round and/or a bit bumpy, but you’re still moving forward and making progress towards that final destination.
Another tip is to embrace that the path will be problematic and see the ‘blocks and problems’ as challenges and face them with a grin and a smile. See them as adventures and don’t let the problems drag you down, so that you become negative and despondent, as if you do, the only person that is hurting and losing is you – never let your career have a negative influence on your life, as you have the power to turn it around.
For most of us we will work for the best and worst leaders during our career. When you work with the worst don’t be bitter, but learn from them – learn how not to lead, so that when your time comes you can be the best leader you can be. Poor leaders are just people who have been promoted too soon and simply don’t have the skills or knowledge to be great leaders; and who don’t have the courage to look themselves in the mirror and realise their faults, so they rely on power to keep them going. Just keep your head down while you look for something better.
Always keep your short term goals in balance with your long term goal. Retirement will come soon enough and when it does you should have no regrets. Your life should have been a fulfilling journey – where you’ve experienced life’s ups and downs; overcome adversary; met the best and worst of people, and forged long term relationships with the best of them; where you’ve innovated something; really helped someone; and feel your life has made a difference.
Plan your career like you would any other journey, but never forget the importance of this one. Choose your destination carefully and wisely – make it something you can visualise and be excited about. Then plan the steps to get there; and then plan for the diversions, road blocks, and slow moving traffic etc and have alternatives planned for if and when they occur.
None of us are entitled to a successful career, we have to work for it. It won’t necessarily be easy, but if you always see the cup half full then ever obstacles will be viewed as an adventure and a challenge, which will help you deal with the difficult times.
My best friend sent me a set of eight quotes the other day and I want to share five of them with you – as they are tips you can take on your career journey and read them when things aren’t quite going to plan and you’re feeling down;
Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have;
The real beauty of life is in each precious moment – so stop and smell the roses;
Most people who fail at reaching their dream, fail not from lack of ability but from lack of commitment;
Stay positive – when it rains look for rainbows and when it’s dark look for stars;
Thinking too much only complicates your life and creates a problem that wasn’t there in the first place.
It’s never too late to plan or re-plan your career journey – so if you haven’t got a clear destination in mind, maybe now’s a good time to think about it and plan your career accordingly – and then really enjoy the ride.