Self-Assessment Quiz ─ True or False:
- I have made a career vision board.
- I have a mind of my own.
- If my goal landed in my life today, I’m ready.
- I spend more time on Facebook reading about others’ successes than working on building my own.
There is absolutely no time to waste when it comes to your career and what you want to achieve. You realize this after spending just 15 fantasy minutes on Facebook and Instagram, scrolling through post after post of ostentatious photos of your friends taken in their shiny new corner offices thanks to a recent promotion or new gig, and others holding plaques touting “Top 40 Under 40.” So I hope you answered FALSE to #4 on the assessment quiz above.
There’s nothing wrong with achieving greatness or awe-inspiring success. What becomes tedious is when you’re sitting at your own desk under a grey cloud wondering why YOU’RE not advancing. I always suggest that you look within first. You gotta make sure you’re doing everything you need to do to ensure you are READY to be found.
Someone in the crowd could be the one you need to know
The one to finally lift you off the ground
Someone in the crowd could take you where you wanna go
If you’re the someone ready to be found
You’re the someone ready to be found
Do what you need to do
‘Til they discover you
And make you more than who
You’re seeing now
These lyrics from my favorite song on the La La Land soundtrack point out that if you’re moving ahead on the gravy train, it’s because you’re doing the advance work to get there. Having a career trajectory is about just that … a trajectory. It doesn’t occur by happenstance. It takes constant movement.
Here are five things you can do:
- Know your career goals – If you want to be a Top 40 Under 40, write it down. Know that this is what you truly want, and be clear and vocal about it. And most importantly, WRITE YOUR GOALS DOWN.
- Know your career path – What do you need to do to be in the Top 40? In college, you knew you needed no less than a 3.7/3.8 to be at the top of your class or to make the Dean’s List. You knew that meant you needed all A’s in at least the majority of your classes. How does that translate now to being in the Top 40 Under 40? Know the criteria to be on the list! Call or have a sit-down with your FB friend who’s made the list. What did he or she do to get there?
- Know your career goal time frame – Being Top 40 Under 40 might be “easier” to achieve if you decided to do it when you’re 20. You’ve got 20 years to get started, make mistakes, start all over again, and get yourself on the right trajectory. If you’re 30, there’s not as much time, but certainly it will be easier and the odds will be more in your favor than when you’re 39. As long as you’re still in the “before” range, anything is possible. But why put undue stress on yourself by waiting until the last minute? Plan ahead and stay focused. Update your goals in writing as you go along.
- Know your career world – Which Top 40 list do you want to be on? Forbes? Techies in Silicon Valley? Crain’s Business Magazine? Designers from your graduate or undergraduate school? Will you create your own Top 40 Under 40 list? If you opened Forbes or Black Enterprise Magazine and saw their list and wanted to be on it, that’s great! But what’s the factoring criteria for those mega pubs? Sometimes people get on these lists due to the diligence of publicists; sometimes a company’s previous support of the publication may have played a role in landing an associate there. There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Don’t get mad at the game. Just be ready so you can get in the game.
- Know your WHY – Why do you want to be on this list? Will it get you to your dream job? Will it get you to your career salary goal? Garner the respect you crave within your own corporate corridors? Will it help you write a book you want to write? Is it for ego and Facebook? Be clear about the why so that you stay focused on your trajectory.
Write down what you know for sure, and keep your goals visible and present. Track and log your successes. Ensure you factor your aspirations into your shorter-term goals and daily tasks as often as possible. My 2018 is a Great Year for Eating Pink Elephants is a great tool to help you with this. You can indeed design the career of your dreams. It just means you’ve got some work to do. Stay in action, or in the words of La La, “Do what you need to do, ‘til they discover you.”