12 Jun Use the summer downtime to set a new goal – from your deckchair
Summer is officially here – or at least it will be on 21st June, which means that holidays are just around the corner! I recently booked our family holiday and cannot wait. Besides enjoying time with my gorgeous children, devouring delicious food and actually finishing a book, I am already getting excited about the thinking time I will have whilst away on holiday.
Holidays give you the chance to switch off. You are away from all of the daily ‘noise’ that makes up our busy lives But, if after the first few days of escape you find thoughts of what’s niggling you in your job creeping into your head, don’t be surprised. Many of us return home resolved to improve things or to make a change to our work situation, but with no clear way forward. So, relish the opportunity to think from the comfort of your deckchair and follow these simple but powerful steps to achieve clarity and devise a plan.
The future is down to us. Why? Because it does not exist yet. So, take some time to reflect on what you would like your next 12 months at work to look like. You have already increased the chances of having it, but it won’t magically happen.
What’s your current reality? You cannot change what you do not acknowledge. Therefore, it is important to consider your current situation. Be scrupulously honest with yourself. Ask yourself the following questions about your current job:
- What specifically do I want?
- What do I enjoy and what do I dislike?
- What would I miss about it?
- How did I feel when I got the job?
- What has changed since then?
- How do I feel when I wake up on a working day – am I ready to leap out of bed or am I operating at the speed of a sloth as I prepare for the day ahead?
- What circumstances would have to change for me to want to stay in my current job?
- For what purpose do I want this new goal?
You are making great progress. You now know more about what you want and don’t want in your next job. Next step, deepen your understanding. This will help you to focus and commit to your new future.
Understanding. It is important to explore your reasons for feeling dissatisfied at work. According to a study on this same subject, by the CIPD (Chartered Institute for Professional Development) the main reasons why people decide to change their careers include; dissatisfaction with senior management or the culture of the organisation; wanting better work-life balance; career development/wanting to take on a more challenging role; earning a better salary and wishing to explore different industry sectors.
Visualise your career goal i.e. see yourself in your new position and that will help it become a reality. Visualising will help you connect with how powerful your aspirations are. Make it a crystal clear vision of what it is that you want and be specific. For example, if your next career step involves a promotion to a position of Head of Legal, imagine yourself working in that role, perhaps managing a team and a specific geographical region etc. How does that feel?
Set Goals. Once your vision is clear, you should consider the following rules of goal setting, very similar to the classic ‘SMART’ model, often used in business. As follows:
- Be specific. Make your goal as detailed as you can.
- Measurable. How can you measure your goal?
- Deadlines. Set a precise date and time by which you will successfully fulfil your goal.
- Challenging. Make your goal stretching. It should push you beyond your comfort zone.
- Congruent. Your goal must complement your core values, otherwise, you won’t follow it through successfully.
- Write it down. Use actual pen and paper! Get yourself a notebook to record your goal and action planning.
- Personal. It is your goal and should be personal to you and nobody else.
- Positive. Be positive. State what you want from your goals and not what you don’t want.
- In the present tense – write yourself a postcard, as if writing to a friend and as if you are writing to them 12 months from now. Imagine you are looking back and telling your friend about your previous 12 months. Include the high points in your career, and what made you feel proud, fulfilled and happy. Send it. You can read and it will be a powerful prompt when you return home.
- Possible. If it is possible to achieve your goal, then there is every reason to believe that you can achieve it, so go for it!
Review And Action Your Plan
Based on what you have learnt, create an action plan to maintain the momentum for when you return from your trip.
If you are going to put yourself out there and start looking for a new job, you will need to identify what you have to offer, no room for ‘imposter syndrome!’ Think about your uniqueness. What makes you ‘you’ both from a professional and personal perspective and call on your wider network – including people who can support you; who are already doing the sort of work that you would like to do or are connected to others like them. Speak to people who inspire you and who can introduce you – such as colleagues, including current and ex; trusted search consultants and social media contacts. Tap into parent networks, relatives and old university friends too. Be sure to contact them all and share your plans with them. You may be surprised by who they know and how willing they are to support you.
Happy goal setting and happy holidays!