You’d like to have a career that makes you excited to wake up every morning, right? If that’s true, I bet you also want to feel abuzz with aliveness and vibrancy in your work, yes? And I’ll also guess that you care deeply about making a positive impact with your job.
If those things are true about you, would you be interested in a super simple technique to craft a career with those qualities?
Great! I’m about to share this super simple practice that I teach my career reinvention and executive coaching clients. In full integrity, I use this incredibly easy practice myself, and I have a great recent story of how it’s helped me keep feeling happier and happier in my work.
So, if you’re ready to feel happier in your career, here’s part one of the technique: I invite you to answer one very basic question…
Now, don’t worry. There’s a bit more to attaining your career dreams.
But I wonder: Will you actually take the time to answer this question? Or perhaps you’ll just gloss over it.
I know how easy it is to blow off this future-oriented question. Understandably, you wonder: How can such a simple question realistically make a difference in your work? Or you think you’ll waste time if you answer it now, but your life looks totally different in a year.
Once you’ve thought about how you’d like you career to look in a year, I’d like you to go one step further…
Write down your vision of your future career, in as much detail as you can, in the present tense, as though it’s already a reality.
Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Get some paper and pen and let the words pour out from your hands. Or type out your future career vision on your computer. Or tap it out as a note on your mobile phone.
If you want to gain momentum towards a more satisfying career, it’s not enough to think ”I want better work.” You need to have a vision of what that work could look like. And instead of keeping that vision banging around in your brain, your vision can come to life more easily when you capture it in written words.
I’ve done this practice so many times in my life and watched the magic happen, often very quickly.
An example of how this technique has worked for me…
My freshman year of college, I wrote my career dreams on a pretty piece of paper, in my nicest handwriting. At that point in time, the key things I wrote were: ”I work in a professional office where I’m respected, in a way that lets me get a great job when I finish school. I work in Congress. I travel to Asia.”
Then, I happened to tuck the list in a journal. And didn’t look at it again for almost seven years. I’d totally forgotten about my wishes and dreams.
But here’s the thing: Eight years later, while I was moving from an apartment to a condo, I packed some books into a box. And the sweet note I’d written in my first year of college slipped out.
By that time, I’d moved on from the real estate research firm where I worked part-time in Tucson during my junior and senior years of college that had landed me a similar full-time role in Phoenix when I graduated. I’d proudly spent the summer of my junior year as a Congressional intern in Washington, DC, as the only business major among a group of political science majors. And I’d come home from Hong Kong, my home base as a Rotary Scholar, where I’d also explored China, Macau, Thailand and Taiwan.
I’ve used this practice time and time again to clarify what I want to experience in my career (and the rest of my life). And yes, I take action steps to transform my visions into reality. But often, I forget about my visions. And I overlook the fact that I’m taking action, because I’m not actually being super systematic about it. Or at least I’m not making the kind of detailed action plans and fancy Gantt charts I used to use when I worked in management consulting. So I’m less than consistent about tracking my progress.
A super-recent example of this technique in action
Fast forward to last week. I’m working through a business planning course, Quiet Power Strategy, with entrepreneur coach extraordinaire, Tara Gentile. One of the assignments was this: ”Describe what you’d like your business to look like 1 year from now.”
Given what I’ve shared about myself, I think you can imagine how excited I got to start writing. I sensed that I was crafting my future, on the fly.
Here’s one paragraph from what wrote:
“I’m recognized on CNN, FastCompany, Fortune, Conscious Company, and organizations like that. I’m the go-to-gal for people who have had a corporate or conventional career, and now they want to get “off the beaten path” and do more with their non-conventional interests. They love the workshops that I teach, and are clamoring for more products and services from me.”
An hour later (no, I’m not kidding), I received an unsolicited email from writer Gwen Moran: ”I’m working on a story for FastCompany.com about how business leaders can use coaching strategies on themselves to become better leaders and managers. Do you have time tomorrow or Monday for a brief phone interview on some ideas to help them do so?”
I was both thrilled and shocked. Boom! This intention was coming to life incredibly quickly. And yes, I did meet by phone with Gwen, and I’m proud to be featured in her story, 7 Ways You Can Be Your Own Career Coach. By the way, if you want a free checklist to remind you of these 7 great self-coaching habits, click here to get it.
Now, sure, the timing of Gwen’s message to me could just be a fluke. I have friends who told me, “See! The Law of Attraction works. You’re manifesting your desires!” Nice idea, but honestly, I find that concept that you set an intention and the Universe makes delivers on it a bit “woo woo.”
I’m more inclined to believe that when you clarify what you desire, your brain starts seeking out patterns to find matching material. In other words, your focus narrows, and you start concentrating effort in the direction of what you want, and away from what you don’t want.
Regardless, I’ve witnessed hundreds of clients get what they want, often quickly, by using this technique.
The prescription for transforming your career dreams into reality:
So, I hope you’ll use my prescription for transforming your career dreams into reality right now: Write down your answer to the question: What do you want your career to look like in a year?
And, if you’re not sure what you want from your career, or you’re so burned out or traumatized from a bad work experience that you no longer trust that you can transform your career dreams into reality, let’s talk. I’d love to help you. Apply for a complimentary career consultation with me, to get your positive juices flowing again.