Many of us think we need a defined career plan—a strategy of sorts that puts our careers on an upward trajectory, like a line graph that moves up in responsibility, salary, and satisfaction. , which results in success. And we think that if we don’t have that plan, if we’re unsure of what to do or what the next best step is, we can drown.
Some of the most frequent comments from clients, friends and family that I hear about feeling harassed in my job are:
“I don’t know what I need. I need a plan that will keep me on track.
“I wish someone would tell me what job or what industry to work in so that I would know what to do with my life.”
“I need clarity about my career goals and priorities. I want to map out my next 5, even 10 years.
This is normal because a natural response to job uncertainty is the belief that not having specific answers and a plan is what is keeping us from the career we want. But what if I told you that embracing uncertainty is exactly what you should do to build your career, and that this approach could lead you to something great?
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Like a former colleague of mine, Gabby (not her real name), who was ready to move on from her current role but didn’t know what her next step should be. After surfing LinkedIn, he found me. She was curious about the company I worked for at the time, and what kind of work I was doing. He sent me a message explaining this and asked me to meet to know more. She was ready with specific questions and I was impressed by her curiosity. What Gabby didn’t know was that I was planning to quit my job within six months to start my own firm. We kept in touch so that I could resume when I put in my notice. you guessed it; Gabby got my job.
Without knowing it, Gabi had applied”planned eventFor exploring her career, and you should too. Planned event is a published career development theory—and a deliberate contradiction. Here’s how it works: You make an effort to seek out new experiences and people. You can take a class, grab coffee with a friend of a friend, volunteer at an event, or connect with someone on LinkedIn. It is the “planned” part that creates the chance or opportunity to happen.
The mindset required during these encounters is one of learning and a willingness to be flexible to see where the experience can take you. The activities don’t have to be related to your job, and you are welcome to not know what will happen, even if it results in a disapproval.
For example, let’s say you sign up for a class at a local community center, but upon arrival, you learn that it has been canceled because the instructor is sick. Instead of going home, you can ask other people passing by if they’d like coffee. Now suppose that the people you ask out for coffee decline the invitation. They decide to go home. You’re not discouraged, but you see it as more options: maybe you go to a bookstore across the street to see if there’s anything going on, or maybe you even go home. Go and try again another night. The planned event is an openness to… well… whatever!
Here’s what a planned event isn’t: You can’t just show up at Starbucks or stand in the middle of a mall waiting for someone to walk you up. This is not magic. you have to take action and Then Let fate happen. It’s vague, it’s abstract and thus, probably unreliable. But take stock of your life. How many opportunities have you enjoyed that resulted from a combination of action and luck? Probably more than you realize. It’s a tried-and-true method for developing, even advancing, your career.
How to start applying more luck in your career
The first step is to accept the uncertainty of a career. This means feeling comfortable knowing what you want or where to go next. This is a common and natural place. Then, go out and explore new things to create unexpected opportunities. Here are some tips and ideas:
- Reach out beyond your current circle of friends and coworkers and ask them to introduce you to people you don’t know. You can also use LinkedIn, like Gabby did. Request an informational interview. You may worry that you’ll be upset, but for many people, it’s a great break from the day-to-day life to discuss career aspirations with someone who is interested. People you ask will probably be flattered.
- Making friends. If this is too much to do on your own, bring a friend along. Identify a new activity to engage in, but upon arrival, separate. That way, you have the comfort of coming together and then you split up to create an individual opportunity.
- Look at your childhood. What activities did you like to do? Was it learning a language, singing in the choir, participating in 4-H, skateboarding, or something else? It is not related to your current career; Rather, it is something you once enjoyed.
- Regularize it. Chances are once you try, opportunity will not knock. Maybe every month you go out to dinner with people you don’t know; You and a friend each invite an acquaintance, and that person also brings someone. That way, everyone has a connection to someone, which invites more to join in and yet, everyone is having dinner with four people they’ve never met. Let the conversation go wherever it takes.
Contrary to popular belief, careers don’t really require specific plans. Rather, they require openness to learning, some risk-taking, and persistence. Who knows what might happen next? Our future is uncertain; This is a guarantee. Letting go of the pressure of not really knowing what’s next creates energy, space and time to explore something new and allow chance or luck to take hold.