I have a friend who I refer to as ‘my oldest and dearest friend’. We grew up together, got in trouble together, were in each other’s weddings, and is the one I can call for anything. Over the years however, we have grown apart in terms of our locations and visits. Life gets us tied up with activities, work, family and other things that sometimes steal our time.
We keep in touch often using texting and emails, but we haven’t seen each other in a few months. Every time we email or talk we say, “Let’s get together soon”, but we never seem to have or make the time.
So, last week I was thinking of her and decided to send her a quick email. But instead of the usual catch-up and asking what’s new with her, I sent a note like I do with my clients which was something like: “…and so I’d like to schedule a meeting next week with you. I’m currently available Monday morning, Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday from 11-3pm…; let me know which day and time works best for you…”
And it worked! She called me that day and laughed that I was ‘getting down to business’, and we worked out a time we could meet that week, for an early (but long) lunch.
I realized I needed to make our time together a priority if we were ever going to see each other. Scheduling helped to put our thoughts and words into action. The note on my calendar was a goal that was achieved through thought, planning, and action.
When working with career transition clients, we often discuss goals and develop plans to achieve them. The goals vary greatly; sometimes it is a promotion, more money, greater joy or less stress, more time with family, a new job in the same industry or taking a leap and wanting to start a new career in either the same or different industry.
Whatever the goal my clients come to me because they haven’t been able to achieve these goals on their own and are looking for outside assistance and accountability to make their dreams a reality. Either they don’t know how, don’t have the confidence or don’t think they have the time to make the change. Our first step is to determine what the goal is and what achieving that goal will mean to them.
In my case, it meant spending two hours laughing over old times, our kids, and changes coming up in in our lives, and it is being able to reconnect with one of my favorite people. After our lunch I realized again, how important our friendship is to me and that I need to treat it as such and make it a goal to see each other more than three or four times a year.
Those things that we put importance on and focus on are what we end up achieving. In your professional life right now, what is in need of change? What would make your life better and more fulfilling? And what would that mean to you and your family? Changes don’t have to be big and scary, you can start small.
What can you do now?
- Start small by volunteering to be part of more special projects or committees, or commit to doing your job so well that it catches the attention of your boss and other decision makers.
- Connect with a few people that you see as being where you’d like to be in one, two, or five years, on one of the many social media groups, to understand more clearly what that life will look like for you.
- If you need more schooling, start by signing up for one evening online class.
- If you are looking to advance your career, where do you want to end up? Find those around you that are in the position you feel would be a good goal and fit for you, and then do some research and questioning to find out what those people did and are doing to be where you want to be.
- And if the goal is to move into a new career, do your homework to find out to see what exactly will be expected of you and required and to find those that you can talk with that have taken the steps you are looking to take.
Most importantly, make a list of the career goals you have for yourself, even if they seem impossible. If you’ve had the idea in your head for a while, it might be worth it to see what it would take to make that dream a reality. Start today and do something small to bring you one step closer to your dream job. If you need motivation, write down a list of benefits from achieving your goal and keep it where you can see it and read it often.
Shine on Job Seekers!