I’m 10 years into my career and asking myself: Now what? I just don’t have a vision for the future. How do I figure out what’s next?
Hiring a coach would be a logical first step – he or she could help you take your career to a new, more fulfilling level.
But if you choose to go it alone there are many places to start this exploration. And an exploration it is: You are like Columbus setting out on an adventure, and you must remember that you are the captain of your own ship.
Plato had it right when he said: “Know thyself”. And this is one of the most important places to be applying that, because if you create a vision based on what other people think is good for you, or what you think you ought to want, it will be harder to make it happen. Instead of bringing you joy it is going to feel like one more obligation.
So let’s start with the basics. You need to do an inventory of your values, passions, strengths and purpose.
First, look inside by honestly answering questions such as: When am I most engaged in my life? In what situations do I feel the most at ease? What activities and situations make me most alive? What is the impact I want to have through my life and my work? What comes easily to me that others have difficulty with? What am I willing to stand in the fire for? How am I defining success and how will I know if I have achieved it?
Then, get the people close to you involved by having them reply to the following: What do you think I am most passionate about? What difference have you seen me make in the world? What are my top strengths and how do you see them showing up? What do you think gives me the most meaning in life?
In summarizing this information you will begin to find themes. These are the seeds of your vision.
Next create a “vision story”, a detailed description of what you imagine your biggest, most fulfilling life is. Include home life, work life, contributions you want to make to the community and the legacy you want to leave behind. Include everything and anything that is important to you. Keeping this in mind, you can start working backwards to see what you will need to do to today to actualize the dream, and what steps to take to keep you on track. This is how you will find your new world. The vision for your future lives not outside but within you.
Globe and Mail; November 14, 2007