In my last post I talked about the four things you need to focus on to keep pushing your future forwards, but of course in order to get started the first port of call is a good PLAN. Now there’s a word that covers a multitude of sins!
There are many ways to make a plan and I’m certainly not going to tell you which kind to choose. Whether you make lists, set up a spreadsheet, diarise, war-game or make it up as you go along, the most important things is to have some sort of strategy, ideally on paper rather than just in your head. The next most important thing is to make that plan realistic.
If there’s one golden rule, it’s that things always take longer than we expect, whether that’s redecorating your living room, losing weight or going for a new career. Your timescale needs to allow for other people and unpredictable factors. It also, however, needs to remind you to keep pushing, whether that’s pushing your own online profile, pushing other people for responses or pushing yourself to achieve individual steps. Constant updating of and reference to your written plan will keep it moving, even if the timescale shifts.
Can you fit all of this in, given your current busy life? Do you need to plan additional time or do you need to cut something out? Can you sustain this? Only you know how much self-discipline you have, but a major factor in projects failing is that people struggle to keep going when the results are not immediate. It’s only too easy to hit the snooze button or take a night off and go to the pub instead. What’s more, it’s fine to do those things – just not every day.
It’s unlikely you are going to achieve your goals in one hit, so you need to plan the path to reach them and you need to be very clear about where that path will take you. For example, finding a new post is not just a matter of an interview and then a job offer, it’s researching the market, targeting the potential options, updating the CV, tapping up your network and so on. The interview is, in many ways, the end point not the start. Detailed planning will not only keep you on track but will ensure that you have thought through all the steps you should be taking before you begin.
If we knew how or when things were going to go wrong, we wouldn’t make mistakes in the first place but if one thing is for certain it’s that the path will NOT be smooth or straightforward. Setbacks don’t just affect the timescale, they affect our confidence and our commitment. We need to plan for the possibility of problems and think about how we are going to deal with them because it’s how we do THAT which really finds us out.
At the Pluralists Club we are with you every step of the way, advising, supporting and encouraging. We help you to keep on track, set the right goals and cheer you on.