Originally posted on Forbes.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
If you’re anything like the average working person, you can expect to change careers five to seven times in your life. That’s a lot of change… The best way to be prepared for it is to make a plan!
Having a career plan is vital to your career success. The most successful people, such as Tim Ferriss, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg, all regularly come up with plans for their career success… And look where it’s gotten them!
Here are the three steps you can take right now to develop a career plan to catapult you to success.
It’s easy to neglect reflecting on your career when you’re so busy chugging along, but taking the time to think about your current situation and the path you want to be on is crucial to a productive career plan. Research even shows reflection is key to success, and it increases productivity and performance.
Besides reflecting on your career path, you should also reflect on yourself and your values, skills and passions. When you begin to understand yourself and what you want, you’ll be able to more easily create a plan that suits your goals and your lifestyle.
2. Goal setting.
Self-reflection will lead you to identifying what kind of career you want. Now it’s time to figure out how to get there. Setting goals is the key to a successful career plan. But what kind of goals should you create?
You probably already know about SMART goals. These are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timebound goals that all set you up for success in your goal setting and achievement. In fact, studies show SMART goals really do work. But in order to be successful, you need to write them down and share them with a friend or a coworker. Seventy-six percent of study participants who set SMART goals wrote them down and shared them with a friend achieved their goals. Sharing your goals creates a sense of accountability, and writing down your goals cements them in your long-term memory, so they’re always accessible and locked in to your subconscious.
3. Develop a plan.
So, you know yourself and what you want to do, and you have your goals set and written down. Now it’s time to really dig into developing a plan to get there. This is the point in your career planning where you should know your interests and skills, and start figuring out what you need to do to get where you want to go. Yes, it’s time to make career decisions.
Maybe you want to get some more experience before you put yourself on the job market, or maybe it just comes down to a choice between two different careers. Whatever your decision needs to be, this is the time to make it, so you can solidify your career plan and embark on your path. Here are some ways you can make those difficult decisions:
- Make a pros and cons list.
- Evaluate how each path aligns with your values.
- Think about the future consequences of each path.
Where do you stand when it comes to your career? Are you ready to make a change, or start your journey, today? Whether you’re just beginning on your career journey, or you’re considering changing career paths or jobs, developing an effective career plan will help you get to where you need to go. Reflect, set goals and make your decision, and you’ll find yourself on the right path.
Ashley Stahl helps job seekers find their purpose, land more job offers and launch their dream businesses. Sign up here for her free jumpstart course on how to land a new job you love.