We’ve all had this question asked to us: What do you want to be when you grow up? Some of us actually became those things and some of us changed our minds along the way or got caught up in constant shoulder-taps that forged our way. Regardless of what path we took to date, having a game plan is crucial for what comes next. Think about it this way – would you play a game that has no specific achievement at the end?
Level 1: Set your end game
Good career decisions come from knowing what you are working towards. If you don’t have an end game, you will make decisions based on things that will add no professional value. Making decisions solely based on variants like money, a shiny new possibility, and job titles will set you on a haphazard path to nowhere. At some stage, you’ll find yourself feeling like something is missing and before you know it, you’ll feel like the worst player in a never ending game.
Be assured this problem isn’t unique to you. A lot of clients I’ve worked with have been confused and dissatisfied with their current situations but it’s not too late to make a change. Setting your end game will bring more clarity on the decisions you need to make going forward. It doesn’t have to be 10 – 20 years down the track but it helps if it is at least two career steps away.
Level 2: Bridge the gap
Just like in any game, the more you play and the more levels you pass, the more informed you become. You know where you need to improve and you know what “upgrades” you need to perform better at the next level. Similarly, knowing what you’re working towards makes it easier to identify the developmental gaps. Identify what roles and opportunities will help you learn and gain the knowledge you need to progress towards your final destination. Do you need more experience in P&L, people management or strategy creation? Or exposure to another region, industry or stakeholder type? Do you need expanded scope and more access to the wider business or a role that helps you deep dive and master a skill set or mindset?
Level 3: Cancel out the noise
Seriously, put on your gaming headphones. You’ll have a lot of options given to you, many opportunities coming your way and of course, all the people with their opinions on what is best for you. Cancelling out the noise is easier when you know what you’re working towards and how you’re going to get there. It will help you stay focused, be more strategic about your decisions and stay motivated knowing you’re on the right path.
By having a concrete end game and a laid out game plan in mind, you will be able to make informed, strategic and laser-focused decisions which will help you accelerate your career journey. Working with a clear purpose in mind leaves little room for distraction, and offers a greater level of job engagement and job satisfaction.
If you focus on your end goal, follow your game plan, and strategically play each level of your career, there’s no stopping you from winning.