Career planning for people who still don’t know the colour of their parachute
By Donovan Grant
Something that has become more and more noticeable over the years is how people’s careers are not really influenced by their plans.
You may have a direction for your career, but not be enough focus to enable it to become a must have. So in a sense your career dreams become more of a path, or a flow, rather than a detailed plan that outlines every step to my destination.
Flowing could of course lead you to be working in a job that you don’t enjoy for a long time. But we all know that having a rigid career plan is not for everybody, some people are okay just to go with the flow.
So what happens when that voice that says “I need a change” comes calling?
Many thoughts and questions come to mind:
Do you want more money? If so, why do you want more money?
Do you want more security? If so, why do you want more security?
Do you want more interest?
Ultimately the magic question is why the need for change?
The reason behind the change is worth pausing to consider.
Rather than pushing yourself harder, maybe you just need to go easy on yourself.
Life has its own way to prod us when it is time to grow. We don’t have to force anything.
This may go against the common career thinking that you’ve heard. But then again, many people still find themselves stressed, unhappy or stuck in careers that are shaped on common thinking.
Fact: You can get more money and success chasing your career plans. And to paraphrase the Beatle’s song “money and success can’t buy you love and happiness.”
The best career plan I have found is to be flexible and investigate what fascinates and excites me. I follow the seeds of fun, interest and curiosity that get me thinking “I wonder if . . .” Then I get to work exploring the idea and testing to see if it will fit in with the direction that I’m travelling.
Do you ever find yourself wondering about your career direction?
What do you do when a new idea comes along? Do you follow the idea, save it for later or just shut it down and say that “it’s not possible for me.”
If you’re anything like me you’ll agree that new ideas only come to us because we are seeking them. We’ve grown to a certain point in life and work and now it’s time for us to move up to the next level.
Do you have an idea that is making you curious at the moment?
My best advice is to follow it. Take a step towards it and see if you get drawn towards it. The key thing is to take some action.
If you imagine a ball that rests on a hill, the ball will not move until someone or something gets it in motion. Then every turn the ball makes, it will pick up momentum until it is running freely.
The same is the case for your career ideas that come your way. It may not start out big or strong but it has that subtle difference that gets you wondering “what if . . .”
Everybody worries about whether or not they are on the right path or doing things the right way. From today, it’s your time to choose a smarter way to think about your career.
Instead of worrying, take a listen to you ‘internal guidance system’ for the gentle hints you receive. You’re not broken and you don’t need to fix anything.
You just need to be open to the possibilities that you are creating in your life.
So how do you shape your career without a concrete plan?
When you sense new thoughts about your career that you want to follow, feel free to do so. Give yourself the permission to trust your thoughts and allow your inner wisdom guide you. Take it one step at a time.
It won’t be easy when you’re first starting out, but you’ll get better at it.
Let’s embrace the change that we want in career and life!
From my heart to yours
What do you think? Have you used concrete career plans? What results did you see? How do you shape your career now? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Donovan Grant is a people development expert, seminar leader and writer who brings his wisdom as an IT professional for over 20 years to coaching clients from the stages of career struggle through to career freedom. He is a committed leader who believes that we get more growth, satisfaction and happiness at work when we are doing what we love.