Getting clear about your career is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.
One of the biggest pet peeves I see as a recruiter and career consultant is people not knowing what they actually want to do. They know what they should do, they know what they’ve been told to do, and they know what they’re pressured to do, but when you ask them what they actually want they give you a blank stare.
Then there are those select few who are absolutely clueless. For the record, when being asked what you want during a job interview answering with “I don’t know” or “Whatever I can get” is a sure fire way to get rejected for a job. Companies want confident people who are very clear about what they want and how to get it.
A lack of clarity is also one of the main reasons why so many entrepreneurs fail – if you can’t figure out what you want how are you clients supposed to?
Fortunately getting clear on what you want is much easier said than done. Chances are most of you already have some sort of semblance of what it is you actually want to do – you’re just getting in your own way.
Give Yourself Permission
The first thing you need to do is give yourself permission to express what you want. Many times we feel guilty because what we want may not be in line with outside pressures – such as society or our parents.
Unfortunately, the majority of people choose career paths that aren’t in alignment with what they actually want because they let outside influences affect their decision. The world is filled with stories of people who realize 10 years into their career that they actually hate what they do. A crisis then ensues.
Take a few minutes to sit in silence and clear you head. Once you’ve done that take out a pen and paper and give yourself permission to write down whatever it is you want to do. No outside influence. No fear. No pressure. No chatter. Just write.
Get Clear About Your Values
Once you’ve got at least a fuzzy idea of what you want see if it is in alignment with your values. It’s a safe bet that if your career goals aren’t in line with your values that you’re going to have a pretty miserable time – and it’s not just with your career, it’s with every aspect of your life. Being out of alignment will undoubtedly stop your natural flow – think of it as life constipation.
Defining your values and then aligning your career goals to them will help you get crystal clear on what it is you actually want. You can feel free to try this exercise with every other aspect of your life as well.
(I’ve created a template to help you get very clear on your values and your goals. It even goes as far as helping you create action statements. Email list subscribers already have a copy of this. If you’re not a part of the amazing fireballs that make up this community, make sure to subscribe to get this worksheet in your inbox. Click here to subscribe.)
Once you’ve gotten clear about what you want be unapologetic about it. It’s your life, you can choose whatever it is you want to do and you deserve to be successful at it (so long as you work for it, of course).
At the end of the day people are going to judge whatever decision you make, so live your life trying to impress yourself instead of impressing others.
This doesn’t mean you should be a conceited ass, it just means you should feel confident about what you want.
Start Working Toward It
Now that you’re more clear and confident about what it is you want, go after it! Research, write, sign up for a course, start a website, apply for that job, go after a promotion, do whatever it is you need to do to get started.
You may need to repeat all these steps periodically, especially the first one. Chances are you’re going to run into obstacles and pressure, so always remember to GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION to express what you want.
Image via Gerg1967