Do You Know Where You Want Your Career to Go?
As I was hosting a workshop on networking for a group of young professionals recently, I asked them a question: “When you go to a networking event, what is your main goal? What do you want to get out of it?”
I was surprised to see that only about 10% of the group members had an answer. The consensus was that “networking is a good thing to do” and they wanted to get better at it, yet they couldn’t answer why. This took our conversation in an unexpected direction, but I realized how important of a discussion it actually was.
If they didn’t know what they wanted from it, they would get very little out of it. Imagine talking to someone at an event and they ask, “Well, how can I help you or support you?” and you draw a blank. There goes the help and support.
As Zig Ziglar says, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”
The workshop made me think about how this lack of knowing what you want can apply to your career overall, not just networking. In the same vein, if you don’t know what you want to get out of your career, if you don’t know what direction you are heading in, if you don’t know how people can help you, you can miss opportunities and stay stuck for years.
How many of these questions can you answer for yourself?
- Where do you want to go in your career?
- How do you want to develop professionally this year?
- What will it take for you to get to the next level?
- What matters most to you in your professional life?
- What are your current top values?
Once you become clear on these answers, then they can inform everything you do. It’s not essential to have every detail worked out and I’m a big believer in being open to plans changing and heading down paths that you never imagined.
But my mentor Kathleen Seeley also taught me: what you want in your life will show up to the extent that you are clear.
You don’t have to have the “how to get there” all figured out, the how can change and evolve, but getting clear on WHAT you want from your career will eventually drive the HOW.
When was the last time you asked yourself what you want?