It’s often been said that, “The most constant thing in life is change.”
There are changes we want and those that are thrust upon us; some lie within our control and others decidedly do not. The type and range of changes we might experience can be vast.
So, let’s consider solely those changes we desire or need and which we can control at some meaningful level.
These represent are our life choices or essential adaptations. They might be alterations that address our situation or circumstance.
Perhaps we choose a new career path, partner, set of friends, behavior, past-time, lifestyle and so on. The list is endless and diverse.
Rather than just casually lean in a different direction, we typically need to truly cement any changes we undertake if we want them to succeed or persist.
So, many of these new directions will require real investments on our part. Relationships need effort, time and consideration. Careers need similar attention, as does behavior modification, lifestyle choices, etc.
All this means dedicated work. Without real, sustained effort our plans won’t hold; they just don’t stick.
The need for this effort is described in my last BLOG-POST, below (“Enabling Personal Development: Effective learning,” dated 4/4/18).
A colleague of mine read this post and commented, “but it’s often as big a problem to know WHAT to do.”
So, how do you know WHAT to do? Is there a way to set off in the right direction?
Indeed, there is. I believe the approach is intuitive and much the same, regardless of the situation you’re trying to address.
Whether refining (or choosing) a career path, tweaking undesirable behaviors, taking up a new recreational activity or working on a relationship we ultimately need to follow much the same UNIVERSAL, 5-PART PROCESS if we are to succeed…
- Define the desired outcome. Develop a complete and extensive image of how we wish things to be. The more detailed and tangible the picture, the better will be our self-guidance in making it a reality. We can aim as high as we want but should be clinically honest and realistic.
- Identify the attributes of that outcome. Make a full list of those skills, behaviors and assets that must normally be possessed to secure the goal we desire.
- Make a prioritized list of what YOU must acquire. Recognize what you currently don’t have (be it skills, training, qualifications, behaviors etc.) and must obtain to reach the chosen outcome.
- Develop a PLAN to acquire what you need. Look honestly at what must be done and set realistic, prioritized, time-based and quantified objectives to put things in place.
- Work your PLAN. Follow up. Do the work required; if the outcome is important, this is the path to where you want to be.
Some objectives are easier to reach than others. A simple, quick plan to (say) switch your spending habits and purchase a car you want is not as persistent and complex as (say) laying out a long-term strategy to reach a specific level of seniority in your chosen field.
The standards for success can be set where you choose. Results may not always need to be world class, just where you need them to be, or in the general direction you want.
The steps we take through this process may be more–or–less weighty (i.e. formalized) depending on the nature, magnitude etc. of the desired outcome and the perspective and position from which we begin.
Plans themselves are not generally hard to draft or envision. If the details of what must be done are fuzzy, complex or in some way unclear to you look for guidance, perhaps ask a trusted confidant who knows; just find out.
We can all make plans to reach those goals to which we aspire. Each of us possesses the ability to dream of what might be and invest in the means that carry us along our chosen paths. What differentiates us is the desire we possess and our commitment to do the work and follow-through.
Are there things in your life you want to achieve? Are there choices you should make and still can? Have you made the effort to PLAN and follow up?
There’s always time to get things on a preferred track. The possibilities are as great as your dreams.
NOTE: For those of you who want more detail and specific tools for Career Planning, try the book EMPOWER YOUR INNER MANAGER, Part II: Creating Your Development Plan (pages 139-149, Inc.), by Ian R. Mackintosh. http://www.empoweryourinnermanager.com