We’ve all been asked THOSE questions. The likes of “What next?”, “What would you like to do with your life?” and “What’s the five year plan?” can often leave us wanting to run for the hills and allow the questioner to eat our dust.
After all, our plans are ours alone and while discussing them with others can certainly help, it doesn’t always take away the responsibility of actually figuring them out and having to take those sometimes terrifying steps.
There’s probably a Masters that you could do, some extra training or indeed, a conference or two lurking on your list of possibilities. You want to move forward, progress and reach out of your comfort zone all the while staying within the boundaries of your resources.
The truth is that we might have goals we’re working towards – some unbeknownst to even ourselves. This can depend on our age, experience and confidence in terms of the future we think we can create for ourselves. Perhaps there’s a super cool business idea festering in your creative mind or you’ve been in a particular career for several years (with great success) and yet, there’s another option calling that you just can’t shake off.
Well, you’re certainly not alone.
When I was 23, I finished University and was totally unsure of where I wanted to head – career wise. When people would ask me what I was doing, I’d say “I’ve applied for Nasa” then head back to my desk to cold-call marketing businesses. After saving money from my old summer job, I went out and got endless international experience in marketing across five countries. Queue five years later to 2014 and having fancied a more people focused role, I started working in Retail Management – a totally different career and lifestyle which I’m still doing today.
Without pulling the rug from under ourselves, how can we move towards our goals without breaking the bank or wreaking havoc on our lovely lives?
*Network as much as possible. Whether it’s at family occasions, through work or at official networking events, meet people. You never know who you’re talking to and what they can teach you. While standing outside a business waiting for a friend a few years ago in Chile, I ended up engaging with a guy who became a short-term business partner. A quick chat, cup of coffee and enthusiasm needn’t be underestimated. Pay attention to each and every interaction.
*Find free resources. I’m always looking for ways to improve my knowledge on psychology and the physiology of the mind. Recently, I discovered www.futurelearn.com and found a free online course to teach me about this. Aside from the free sign-up, there’s a low fee if you want to get a certificate for the specific course. As well as that, Eventbrite is packed full of cool events related to a range of topics – many of them, free. Who says big fancy qualifications are needed to get you where you want?
*Journal it out! A good notebook can change your life, seriously. I journal about a range of day to day happenings, what I’m grateful for and what I’ve achieved in terms of working towards my goals. There’s enormous value in getting your thoughts on paper – it can definitely offer more clarity and it allows for a reference point down the line to see how far you’ve come.
*Have a plan and stick to it. If you have a goal to change careers, take a huge trip or adopt a new cool hobby, planning ahead will allow for clearer milestones, distribution of resources such as time and money and create excitement for yourself. Mark those dates in a funky calendar, set yourself rewards for achieving them and if necessary, work with the likes of a life-coach or sponsor to help get you there.
If you know what you want then you’re half way there. Taking the next step, drawing out the plan on paper or a simple action like signing up for more information on a course can be enough to spur you on to the next step. Take it from me, it’s worth it.