What if I ask you “What’s your plan for the next five years?”
How would that make you feel? Have you envisioned where you want to be in the future?
I didn’t… and, in fact, my career never flourished.
If I’d be wise enough when I was younger, I would have certainly reached the level of satisfaction, fulfillment and happiness I’ve reached now in my… ehmm…. 40!
Let’s clarify, first, that your ideal career path has more to do with who you really are rather than your skills, expertise and network. The best move you could do, in fact, is to build a plan that leverages what you already possess. Progressing in all that, in fact, will be exciting and fulfilling. And you’re more likely to excel at what you do.
Before you start discovering your path, you need to embrace one key concept:
Fulfillment is not about what you do. Is about how you “feel” about what you do.
You’ve been gifted with talents, ideas, perceptions, values and intuitions that all make you UNIQUE. Therefore, honoring these qualities through your work is the key for a meaningful life. As it stands, when you find a job or organisation that allows you to fully express your gifts, you’ll be a much happier person.
There are three main things you need to consider when mapping out your five-year plan:
1. What’s possible out there?
Get to know what career paths are available out there, and here I can definitely help with my “9 to Alive” YouTube series! On top of that, you should be talking to people who work in the different industries and sectors, interview them, read about their career path and connect with them on LinkedIn or on CharityConnect. The more you’re aware of what is possible, the closer you’re getting to your ideal path.
2. How do you function?
What does make you thrive? What’s not negotiable for you? What makes an impact on your energy level? What have you learned from your personal experience? The more you understand how you function, the more likely you are to make the best use of who your gifts, leading you to a fulfilling career.
Don’t underestimate the power of your being: bringing who you are into what you do (that’s the topic of my TED Talk, indeed!) it will make you feel alive, honouring your own personal mission. Choose the path that aligns with your personal characteristics, your vision of the world and your natural talents. When you excel in knowing yourself (something that only a few people do), you’ll bring home exceptional results.
3. What do you want your future to look like?
Once you’ve found your path, it’s not enough to just aim at that direction. You need to be able to envision yourself in your dream role to discover how it will make you feel. When you visualise yourself in that situation, you will think, act, speak and feel as if you were already there.
Shall we give it a go?
STEP 1: Close your eyes and imagine where you’d like to see yourself in five years. Do you want to be meeting people you’ve always wanted to work with? Or maybe you see yourself celebrating your first £1 million or saving people from poverty and starvation or selling your art around the world?
STEP 2: Now, step into that image and start feeling the emotions and sensations that this situation brings. Feeling them is key; in fact more than a visualisation, I call it “emotionalisation”. The more you use your senses, the more real it will feel, which will inspire you to make concrete steps in that direction.
The key is making your brain and your body feel that it is real, it possible, and it’s already here. That will remove all those barriers you tend to put to protect yourself from potential disappointment, believing it’s not going to happen, it’s not possible, you’re not good enough for that… you know what I mean.
But the time to play safe is gone, now it’s time to move on and to do so you need to Think & Act differently. So if doing this exercise makes you feel uncomfortable and triggers some doubts… you’re on the right route! Keep pushing, that’s how it has to be in order to work.
Remember, the quality of your life is impacted by the quality of your emotions. Always keep an eye on how you feel, what makes you lose sight on time and what drains your energy. When you honour all that, life always responds with great opportunities.
Then see and feel yourself “there” before you make any move and it will all look much more doable.