I have directly encountered thousands of people (yes thousands, no exaggeration) in the last 10 years that really don't have a specific idea of what they want.
Here's a recent example: I was talking to a guy who did maintenance for a company, it was clear that he was stressed about his job and not having as much fun as he probably deserved. It was also clear that he had no real idea what he wanted, he said things like “well I just try not to think that far ahead” and “I just want to promote to the next step”
This is where the brass tacks meet the road (yes it's so important it requires jamming together multiple cliched sayings)
We operate on a very simple plan here at HTYC
Know what you want and execute on a plan to go after it!
One problem: Very few people know what they want. Likely if you are reading this you don't either. You might be like most people in the world and say “I know what I want,… I don't want to do work where I have a boss who's always on me and really not very appreciative”
That's great but that's NOT what you want, it's what you DON'T WANT. It's important to define both. Specifically.
Why? because if you don't you could end up anywhere, and it will likely NOT be where you want to go. I am guessing that you are here reading this because you don't want to be like everyone else, so this is the work you will need to do to make it “happen” (pun intended)
Here is what you need to do
Step 1: Get out a piece of paper, walk to a whiteboard or open up pages, word or google doc. It's extremely important that you take the time to write this down. It makes it real and forces you to think through it at a different level
Step 2: Start with the things you don't want. Write them down. Make a list. Go job by job, experience by experience with what you have done in the past and get on paper/board/digital screen each thing you don't want. This serves two purposes, it is a place to start when thinking through what you want and serves to distinguish very clearly that these are not what you actually want.
Step 3: Once you have down all of those don't wants open up a new screen, take a picture of your whiteboard and erase it, or get out a new piece of paper. This new writing surface will serve as a defiantly separate place to start forming what you want.
Take your list of “don't wants” and with each one ask yourself “why do I not want this?”
You may need to ask yourself “why” several times to get to what you really want
Here is a personal example from my own life:
Don't Want: A place where I have to meet a schedule
Why?: Because I want to have flexibility
Why? Because I want to have the freedom to attend my kids events and be more involved with their daily lives
Why? Because I believe that it's actually the small things that count for my kids and me not just being around for the big stuff
Why? Because I didn't have that and I want to show them it's possible for their children.
So if I look back at all those statements what I really actually want is not just work that isn't on a schedule (there's lot's of that out there) but I want work that allows me the freedom to be with my children for the small things to set an example for them in the future.
Yours will be different and that's completely ok.
The point here is that most people will never make it past flexibility to define what they want!
You have to in order to get what it is you want.
Start Now, Complete the steps,
This is hard stuff and that's why virtually nobody will do it.
I DON'T WANT YOU TO BE IN THAT SAME GROUP WITH EVERYONE ELSE! That's why you're here. This will be uncomfortable, I promise you, If it's not you haven't asked why enough times.
Intentional Discomfort will lead to continuous growth.
TOdays Actions to Take
- Begin a list of what you already know that you “don't want' in your career?
- Start with those items on your list that are highest priority for you (or you feel most strongly about) complete the “5 Whys exercise” to determine what you really want and need in your next role.