Spinning out thinking of all the different possibilities for your life, career, or business? Endlessly researching all the educational programs and opportunities that you should consider? Stuck not being able to take a first step in a new business or career? Scared that if you go in one direction, then you’ll be pigeon-holed in that specific field? Terrified that you’ll do something sub-par and then be judged poorly by others and unable to regain their respect? Frustrated that you have the potential, but you lack the skills to get going? Lost as to where to start?
Try my Lean Career Canvas and experience the relief from getting clarity and making shit happen!
The problem is that there are endless career options, you are scared to commit to a specific path because of failure or getting stuck there, and you procrastinate taking immediate action.
The solution is to choose one career path as a goal for right now (don’t worry: you can change it anytime you want, I promise), break this goal down into smaller steps, identify your existing and needed resources to achieve it, and start taking action right now! You will learn more about what you really want to do by committing to a long-term goal and taking action today than by any of your bullshit journaling and researching. And, I promise, you will start to see that changing your mind, learning that something is not what you thought, and failure are all integral parts of you manifesting the career and life that you really want.
So, let’s quit talking about it and avoid making this one more of your procrastination sessions….
I will lead you through a series of short intensive exercises to get your goals, knowledge, and fears out of your head and onto paper. You will walk way with a big picture strategy, a clear plan of action, key areas to focus on, and a specific first step to move forward. The whole experience will last about 25 minutes, so please carve out some time to get away from others, turn off your phone, and organize yourself in a focused space.
If you’ve got them handy, I recommend that you get out a pen, a sheet of paper, and a stack of standard sticky notes.
Please also grab a timer (smartphone is OK if you promise to put it on airplane mode—seriously!). If you don’t have one, I strongly recommend the beautiful analog Time Timer
If you don’t have sticky notes, you can draw 10 equal rectangles on a sheet of paper.
Step 1: Five-year goal (one minute)
Set your timer to one minute and then commit to writing your primary five-year professional goal with as much detail as possible on a post-it (write it in the top left-hand corner if you don’t have post-its). You may have a few goals that you have a difficult time choosing between. Just choose one. This is an exercise, not legal testimony. If a couple goals really fit together, then write both of them. Do not write two very different goals or contradicting goals though. Just keep it simple to something you want to achieve that feels slightly ambitious.
When the timer goes off, be sure to stop immediately and reset the timer.
Now take this post-it and put it on the top left-hand corner of your piece of paper.
Step 2: One-year goal (one minute)
Don’t waste any time! Start your one-minute timer again and now write on a new post-it (or in the rectangle to the right of the last one) an important one-year professional goal that will help you achieve your five-year goal. Again, don’t worry about picking the perfect goal. Just choose one that you care about.
Now take this post-in and put it next to the other post-it on the paper.
*From this point on, please set the time for each exercise and write in a new blank rectangle or on a new post-it (and then put that post-it on your blank paper) for each exercise!
Step 3: Three-month goal (one minute)
I assume you’re starting to get the picture….now, reset your timer to one minute and write a three-month goal on a new post-it.
Step 4: People and networks (Two-minutes)
Spend two minutes listing all of the people and networks that would be helpful in you achieving this three-month goal. These could be family, friends, acquaintances, clients, colleagues, people you don’t know yet, and dream contacts that would be amazing to know. They simply need to be someone from whom you would benefit getting advice, feedback, introductions, etc.
Step 5: Personal Assets (two minutes)
Now take two minutes to list assets that you already have that will help you achieve this three month goal. For example: specific software skills, patience, confidence, high-risk tolerance, public speaking skills, dad is a rich banker, access to Nike’s President, etc…
Step 6: Needed skills and competencies (two minutes)
Which skills and competencies are you missing or do you need to develop more? Spend two minutes listing every skill or competency that you need to develop (or contract out to someone else) in order to successfully achieve your three-month goal.
Step 7: Blocks (two minutes)
Finally! You get to list all of the excuses that your “wimpy sabotaging voice” has been yelling about while you’ve been doing the previous exercises. Take two minutes to list every block, fear, concern, and reason why you can’t achieve any of the goals you listed above.
Step 8: Project 1, 2, 3 (three minutes)
Time to get practical. How can you break up your three-month goal into three projects? Think of these projects as three concrete stages or steps towards manifesting your goal. If you want to, you can give each project its own post-it note.
Step 9: First step I can take in under 10 min (one minute)
What’s the first action you can take to set your first project in motion. Be sure that the step is small enough to do in less than ten minutes. And, ideally, you will do this step immediately upon finishing Step 10!
Step 10: Why?
Now’s it time to tie it all up and finish strong. Why is your five-year goal so important? Why do you really want to do this? What makes it so critical to you and your life? Think hard and write an answer that feels like it makes this five-year goal and the first step worth taking right now. And, just remember, you can always change your mind later. Just take the first step…and keep moving forward.
So now that you’ve completed the exercise and taken the first action (Step 9) toward achieving your goal, how do you keep going? I recommend the following:
- Ask a friend to do the exercise with you and check in with them once a week (or even every day) to hold each other accountable
- Reach out to the list of people that you wrote down in Step 4…even the dream list…what do you have to lose?
- Leave comments below so that I and others can respond and support you