4 Essential Steps to Creating Your Career Plan

Four basic steps to creating a career plan

4 Essential Steps to Creating Your Career Plan

Jan 30, 2017

As we near the end of January, it’s time to take stock of what progress you’ve made so far in 2017. Chances are high that you set out some goals at the beginning of the year. Maybe you wrote them down, but probably not. There’s nothing wrong with that of course and it doesn’t make you a bad person. But if you didn’t write down your goals, they’ve probably fallen by thewayside already and we haven’t even finished one month!

So what should you do?

It’s time to take a step back. The good news is that there are still eleven months left in the year. The even better news is that life doesn’t really abide by the arbitrary limits we’ve placed on time called months and years. If you want to make a change, now is as good a time as any. It’s better than tomorrow. If you start today, you’ll already be moving once tomorrow comes. It’s also better than yesterday since yesterday is already gone.

Start With One Ball

You may have ten goals in your head for the rest of the year but don’t torture yourself with that much at once. Let me explain why.

If you want to learn how to juggle, are you going to pick up ten objects of all different shapes and sizes and throw them in the air simultaneously? Not if you want to be successful at juggling. No, you might start with two tennis balls, something light, easy to see and easy to handle. Heck, you might even just try throwing one of those tennis balls in the air to make sure you can catch it without looking down at your hands.

Now, I’m no juggling expert (I can only keep three balls in the air for a few seconds before chaos ensues) but I do know that if you want to be successful with what you set out to do, you need to keep things simple to start with.

This is as true for your career as it is for juggling. If you just let your career hum along the same way it’s been going, you likely won’t advance and in fact you’ll find yourself falling further and further behind.

Right now is the best time to prepare for the next step in your career. Whether you just got a new job or a new position, or if you’ve been in the same spot for a decade, making sure you are ready for the next opportunity will put you ahead of the game before it even starts.

Create a Career Plan

As we move into February 2017, take 15 minutes this week and start to map out what your career looks like in the next 5-10 years. Here’s what I want you to do. No, here’s what YOU should want YOU to do:

  1. Get out a piece of paper and write down what you like about your job right now. Even if it’s just “I like getting paid every week,” write it down.
  2. Write down one thing you would like to change about your job if you could. Maybe it’s the hours, maybe you want to get paid more, maybe you want more responsibility. Whatever it is, write that down.
  3. List out the numbers 1, 2, 5 and 10 along the side of your paper. Write down a goal for each number describing where you want to be in your career in one year, two years, five years and ten years. If you struggle to come up with something for any of these, especially five and ten, don’t worry about it. Part of the exercise is to start thinking about this and being intentional about where you want to go. Don’t just let it happen to you.
  4. Last step, share this article to your favorite social media outlet with your one-year goal. Put it out there and get help from those around you to remain accountable. You know that if you post it on Facebook, that post will float up in your memories a year from now and you can see how you did!

Don’t be afraid to dream big. If your ten-year goal is to own your own business and be making $10 million a year, write that down. Next, we’ll take a look at how you start moving and taking small steps to get there!