I will always shout about the importance of career strategy. Alongside that, one of the things I always say is “Everything is subject to change” and I mean that and I find so often when it comes to having a strategy for our ambitious careers we become like goldilocks and the 3 bears:
Too soft Career Strategy
No structure whatsoever, like holding melting ice cream, just melting and slipping through your fingers. Messy Vanilla.
You never know where you’re going to be, what you’re going to be doing or even dare to think you can get there. Either by willful choice or shell-shock you’ve let go of any structure, if it pays partial bills and is tolerable it’s a “yes” from you. This can often look like coasting, auto-pilot or in some cases the passenger-seat place which means someone else is dictating it all to you; sometimes out of love (read: parents), other times out of selfishness (read: low boundaries+demanding client or manager turning you into an underpaid swiss-army-knife-person)
Too hard Career Strategy
Your plan is evident, it’s strong and super specific, engineered to perfection with all tasks worked backwards from your 5-year plan.
This looks like you freaking out when you have to wait for the next promotion cycle but also refusing anything that looks like a detour because well…risk. Your plan is thoroughly researched and thought through- why would you change it right? Oh.. but then the environment changes and you get stuck for months trying to re-adjust.
Baby Bear Career Strategy
My belief is that you CAN get it “just right” i.e. baby-bear. You CAN have a career strategy that’s both focused and flexible, something that accounts for pivots and keeps your impact and value at the forefront. Something that doesn’t feel onerous whilst inspiring personal growth and clarity. Somewhat of a compass; it’s a way to find North in any location or circumstance.
The way this is done is simple: creating a way of BEING that supports all the DOING you desire.
Instead of obsessing over a promotion, it looks like understanding the characteristics of the next-level you, articulating your impact with confidence and doing so authentically. Now, with all the fun of the modern career, this can be a rollercoaster by itself; combatting things like stress, burnout, imposter syndrome, iffy communication and mismatched expectations come into play. But again… if we go back to the way of BEING that helps you move through that we work on:
- Cultivating confidence
- Refining your beliefs
- Building your resilience
Because these things are eternal when your situation could be ephemeral (new fave word meaning short-lived). We have personally survived or witnessed the devastation of a global pandemic, market crashes, skills shortages, underfunding and overfunding and so many other things that each have a definitive season whether they feel like it or not.
Through it all, you’re still you.
And again, working on your confidence, beliefs and resilience are cumulative; always building. They are skills and characteristics you can’t take away and can be built with habits and tools you intentionally build into your life.
This is what I mean when I talk about career strategy, having a long term plan for your growth as a person regardless of whether you are a graduate, freelancer, professional, manager, remote worker… who cares?!!?? Charting a path for your growth as a person, your desires as a person, your life ambitions as a person and bringing any goal-setting, vision boarding and manifestation into submission to that strategy. This strategy should have a few things:
- Your Skills, Talents & Strengths – so you can be clear on your unique impact and potential
- Your values and beliefs – so you can make aligned decisions that don’t make you wanna throw up
- Your mind and mindset gameplan – so you can build on a foundation of mental health with your ability to grow and develop
- Your communication style – so you can authentically share the aforementioned impact with the world
- Your action-plan – so you can find a goal-setting method that fits, embrace your ambition and move forward
- Your personal toolkit for when things don’t go as planned – imposter syndrome, procrastination, straight-up fear… all part of the journey folks! The question is, whatcu gona do about it??!?
- Your review process – Don’t just let this be a pretty file or folder that collects dust, how often and how will you check-in on YOU, harvest the learnings and make the adjustments for the future
- Time and deadline – Nope. This is a strategy, not a 5 year-plan (there are cute journals you can buy for that) the only timelines should be around your review process and action plan. This is about you evolving into more-you… just like we all couldn’t time-puberty…impossible to time this kind of growth because like I said above “everything is subject to change”
That’s it. Baby-bear.