Taking Control of Your Career
Knowing how to be successful and set goals can be a real challenge, especially when we don’t know what we want to do. Then any form of professional development becomes even more difficult, because you don’t know what path you want your career to take.
Some of you may be at a crossroads in your career right now and simply unsure which direction to take. Perhaps you’re just starting out, fresh from high school or University and are confused with how many choices there are and options that are available to you.
Maybe you’ve been in the workforce for a while already but feel stale in your job and seem to have lost your passion and ‘mojo.’ The fun and enjoyment in your role just don’t seem to be there anymore. In fact, your work is a chore!
Take my son for example. At 24 he had no idea what he wanted to do. He toyed with PR and events and psychology (like his mother), but nothing seemed ‘to fit.’ He just wasn’t enjoying it. He began a BA in communications and still it didn’t click.
In desperation, (I was at my wits end about his development plan and career path) he enrolled in a Bachelor of Security Studies and at the outset, he and I were both fascinated with the degree and the opportunities it can bring. International counter-terrorism, espionage, security, criminology and policing are just some of the areas in which he can work. And he loves it. He’s got his flow. He’s found his rhythm.
So never give up. You’ll find what you want.
If, on the other end of your career you feel burnt out by the job you already have and really question if you want to stay in the role or even in the industry, think about your goals first.
What do you want to achieve in your life?
Should you set goals for the long or short term? Or just hope that one day you awaken with an ‘aha’ moment realising you have found the answer to what you want to do? No. Let’s start planning now.
Goal setting tips for your dream career – SMART GOALS
- Begin by thinking about those activities or areas that interest you and make a list of them. Photography, IT, cake-baking and writing are examples. Mastering photography could lead you into a career of film, television or movie production for example, whilst IT can take you down the lucrative path of working in IT in a multinational Cake-baking may lead you into catering, owning bakeries or restaurants.
- Generally, remember that if you enjoy something, you’ll tend to stick at it longer than if you don’t.
- Write short (1 to 6-month goals), medium term goals (1 to 5 years) and longer-term goals (5 years) sticking to the SMART Goals principles. In other words, your goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. Search the internet for more on SMART goals or read more about
Getting others to help you
- A career advisor is a great place to start, particularly as they are skilled at assessing where your natural inclinations lie and what you may really like to do and be good at.
- Speak to your team leader or manager. Their role is to develop and grow you, and they are often able to create new paths for you within your Organisation.
- Writing a professional development plan is another useful choice as it gives you a plan and structure moving forward. You can always change the goals if you really are not enjoying what you are doing. Nothing’s set in concrete.
Helping your people as their leader
- We all need change in our lives and to do different things at times to keep us refreshed and energised. Change is good for us (like a holiday, they say) and helps keep us motivated, interested and ‘in the game.’
- As a leader, keep a close eye on your team. Have any of them dropped off in performance recently or have you noticed that the same level of passion they once had seems a distant memory now?
- Speak to the women who work for you. Ask them about their career aspirations and what they would like to achieve and see if there is any way you (or somebody else) can mentor them, put them onto a in which they’re interested, or help them upskill by paying for additional studies for them. Good people are hard (and costly!) to find, so work with them to keep them.
How to be successful in our careers is not always clear to us. In particular, women in leadership are not the only women who would enjoy further upskilling and development. We all do.
There are countless others who are equally successful in other careers and at all levels of a Company – receptionists, sales reps, clerical officers and entrepreneurs, for example.
But understanding what you enjoy, designing and setting goals (even if you have to adjust them later), designing a development plan and getting help are wonderful and productive ways to ignite your career at any age and every level.
Empowering Women to Thrive at Work is an interactive 12 stage Program customised to suit your needs or those of the women in your Organisation.
You can also try out our Personal Empowerment session free! To find out more, visit my website.