Where you are today is the result of your education, past jobs, goals, values and your skills. Your career is made up of all your jobs, whether they’re directly connected or not. Each one of them is important. Think about developing a Vision Statement to help you set goals that will direct your career in accordance with your vision and values. Your vision is a “picture” of what you aspire to be or do – and what inspires you – in your work life. Articulating your vision statement for your career is the first step in helping you eventually reach your career goals. Your vision statement should inspire and energize you.
Some questions you may ask yourself are:
- How do I define career success? Are you achieving some level of success in your current job? What would you want to do today if all your bills were paid and you had relatively unlimited cash reserves?
- What would you want to do today if all your bills were paid and you had relatively unlimited cash reserves?
- Imagine you had the power to make your career any way you wanted?
- Write an obituary outlining your ideal career accomplishments and the types of impacts you left with the people you worked with?
- If absolutely no obstacles stood in the way of your achieving it, what would you most like to attain in your career?
- Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or their careers that attract you to them? Is there something about what they have or do that you want for your career vision?
- Imagine yourself in the future at a point in which you have achieved great goal. What is it that you have accomplished? What does your life look like?
- Do you feel as though you have a gift or calling? How can you share this gift or best answer the call in a way that will fulfill you?
- What’s the one activity you most love? Is it part of your career? If not, how can you make it part of your career?
- Where would you like to be in your career in 5 years? In 10 years? In 20 years?
Putting it all together
Ponder these questions and then put it all together in a concise manner. Once you have written your vision statement, post it in a very prominent place, read it aloud often. Imagine yourself succeeding. As you reinforce your career vision, you will consciously and unconsciously begin setting goals and action steps that will dove tail with your vision. Review your goals and core values regularly. They should be possible to accomplish but stretch you. Do your best to turn off negative thinking that may block your ability to think big. Look for the big picture. Don’t assume the future is limited by what is happening today.
Every job provides skills and resources for the future. Even a job as a busboy can offer lessons about the value of hard work and a positive attitude. Selling kitchen tools to homes can help you learn to deal with rejection and overcome obstacles. You might also learn how to communicate with a large variety of people. Remember, every job offers networking opportunities. You never know where life will lead and an expansive network may help you find your next job.
When building a career, professional training and development are important to keep expanding your knowledge base. You become a more valuable part of the team both to your customers and your company. Joyce A.E. Russell wrote in The Washington Post: “With today’s more complex business environment, learning is not just a nice thing to do–it is essential for staying on top of things… None of us can afford to remain stagnant in our knowledge”.