If you feel that your work life is in a rut and you don’t seem to be getting anywhere, it may be just the right time to sit back and create a clear cut plan for your future.
Most businesses don’t survive if they haven’t got a plan for growth, over the short term or the long term. The same applies to individuals. If you want to cut a clear path to success, it needs to be mapped out. And it’s not as difficult as you think.
We’re not talking about the bit of advice for career development you received from your HR department after your last review. A detailed career development plan should be written down and cover what you need to do next and it needs to be personal. If you don’t take control in this way, you may well continue to stagnate. The chances are your company isn’t going to do much to help you move forward. The onus is on you. The longer you get stuck with the same job, the more you are going to get used to it.
A clear career development plan helps you to take control and responsibility of your life. You’re basically saying to yourself: This is what I need to do and this is when I want to do it by. That might mean taking charge of your continuing professional development and gaining the skills that drive you forward. It could include applying for jobs when they come up rather than let those opportunities pass by. Taking responsibility also gives you the opportunity to focus on your weaknesses – yes, we all have them – and do something about changing them.
With a career plan you now have a future. You have a goal or goals to achieve and somewhere you want to go. Without a clear plan, your progress will seem like a rudderless ship that ends up going around in circles. Defining your future also gives you confidence – once you start achieving those goals, you suddenly arm yourself with the appropriate tools to go further.
You can see how this is developing – planning and goal setting gives you the impetus to move forward. That in turn allows you to define the future. From then on, you start to take charge of your own career and become a proactive entity rather than a reactive one. You can anticipate and improve as much as you want. With a career plan, you become the one who is in charge, not those around you. In other words, you begin to gain real personal power.
Yes, there will be set backs along the way. Even with the best planning in the world, challenges can divert you, send you on the wrong track, and cause you to doubt your own abilities. But you have the confidence that your career plan provides. It forms the spine around which you are able to operate more effectively. You’ll find yourself heading to work each day with a renewed sense of purpose. No longer are you going through the same ritual over and over again without any hope that it’s going to end. With a good career plan, you’ll also find that your worldview changes – you’ll no longer doubt, you’ll have a go getting, positive attitude and you’ll get a lot more enjoyment out of the workplace than you have ever done before.