Get crystal clear on what your career success looks like. It makes it far easier to achieve.
Can you name anything that mankind has physically created that didn’t originate in the mind first?
Not sure I can. Every bridge, piece of furniture, item of clothing, device and so forth was imagined, thought up or visualised first. They began as ideas or dreams. Clarity around the design then followed.
Why is this a critically important question for you to consider?
There’s a lot said about success beginning with a goal. Yet setting goals without achieving them is familiar territory for most of us. Not all of the time, but some of the time. And it kind of grates when it involves the bigger picture stuff, like career advancement or improved lifestyle.
Qs: So what makes us more likely to achieve certain meaningful goals than others?
Ans: Being crystal clear on what success looks and feels like in advance is the best place to start.
This is why athletes and sports stars visualise their moment of success. It’s why successful businesses and inspirational leaders picture success and then communicate a clear vision of exactly that to their shareholders and employees enabling them to connect to it. Visualisation techniques are used to achieve the greatest accomplishments mankind knows of, as well overcoming more ‘everyday’ challenges such as public speaking or weight loss.
So let’s discuss how you can use it to advance your career in the direction you really want it to take.
It’s important, isn’t it? Your career that is. Your own fulfilment in life largely depends on it. So why not make the most of it. The time is now, not ‘another day’. Your fulfilment and happiness impacts all of those closest to you such as your partner, friends, siblings, parents and colleagues. And if you have children…..well we’re all different, but that’s when the penny finally dropped for me.
Let me explain. It’s kind of clichéd, but I make no apologies for it. Because it’s genuine. And it involves my daughter (see picture above). So tread carefully!!
Soon after Edie was born in February 2013 I remember holding her and wondering who she would become in life – what sort of person, what would she look like, what would she work at……and then I said it out loud….. “You can be anything you want to be”. That line every proud father utters at some stage, it took me a few days at most.
But then it sank in, this hollow feeling permeated through me. That niggle – the one I referred to in this post. Was I going to be a complete hypocrite? Was I going to continue working in a role and industry that I knew wasn’t right for me? I flat out knew I wasn’t getting anywhere near as much out of myself as I could. I felt like a fraud. I’d convince myself that I had a good salary and that I was working for my family but it was bullsh!t. And I knew it. I was scared of facing up to the truth. I had a fear of failure. I had a fear of the unknown.
I took the step to engage a coach. In that process, I reached a number of insightful conclusions, but one very pertinent to this post. I moved from a mindset of ‘waiting’, ‘wanting’ and ‘hoping’ for things to change for me towards something far more proactive and progressive.
I saw that the opportunities ahead would be both greater in their number and their reward if I exerted more control over their design and the process of achieving them.
What caused this shift?
The critical part in the shift in my mindset was an exercise which required me to write out a visualisation of an ideal day in my future (you’ll have the opportunity to do the same in a minute). I chose the time and the occasion (it was my 40th birthday) and I wrote like a 12-year-old. I began to daydream. I actually became happier as I was writing.
The impact is immediate. You’ll see when you try it. You’ll feel proud of your scripted achievements. You’ll get a real sense of this new you and you’ll become that person as you’re writing it. Momentarily of course. But that moment exists and it’s a massive motivator. For me, suddenly my future was becoming clearer.
With my coach Sharon’s help, I worked my way back from my 40th and identified what milestones needed to be reached and what challenges may need to be overcome. You can try this alone, but it is obviously more effective with a coach asking you challenging and exploratory questions along the way. I envisioned plenty of obstacles! And I’m glad I did because it allowed me the time and space to think about ways to navigate them.
Fast forward 3 years and I was recently holding my second child, a son this time around (snip snip – 9 weeks old and I’m firmly of the view that I’ve been deprived of enough sleep for a lifetime).
This time the feeling wasn’t hollow. It was wholesome. I’m more than a year away from my 40th and there are parts of my original vision and I have achieved most of what I outlined. There are some aspects that won’t be achieved in the time-frame set out at the start, maybe never. But that’s okay because I’ve revamped it anyway. I’m now working towards my 45th birthday.
Because it will evolve. Your vision. As will you. That’s the whole point. It’s not a case of visualising and waiting. It’s about visualising, seeing how eminently possible becoming the future you are, and taking the first steps towards it. Then adapting it as you go along.
Make it your own
Lofty goals can be a noose around our neck if we don’t show the awareness to adapt them as we grow and develop. Even the term ‘goal’ – mehhh. To me, goals are tactics, stepping stones as part of wider purpose of strategy. If we’re talking about your future and the livelihood of your family, call it something a little bit more personal. Connect with it, whatever works for you. Your vision doesn’t need to be about a massive transition in your career. That was just my choice. I use visualisation exercises with all of my top performing executive coaching clients. The mind cannot create what the mind cannot see. And no one else can create a clear picture of what success looks like to you better than you can yourself.
It is how you re-engineer your self-image to become the person that you know you can be. I cannot overstate the magnitude of its impact and value in helping you achieve far more in life.
Click here to see the exercise and make a make a start. Enjoy it – because that’s really the whole point.