The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is today. If you have never heard this before read it a few times and really think about it. The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago; the best time to train for the career of your dreams was twenty years ago, wouldn’t you be an expert and even leader in your field by now? The second best time is today! Of course, if you start today, twenty years from now you will be an expert and possibly even a leader in your field. If you don’t start … well, twenty years on you might still be where you are now; is that an acceptable option to you?
When you want things to be different, you have to be different. The next step on the ladder has different responsibilities, which is one of the things that you find attractive about it. But of course different responsibilities require different skills. Don’t wait for someone to notice you before you take action. When you take action people will notice you.
How high does another person’s career figure in your thoughts? You might give some thought to your spouse’s career plans because it impacts your time together and household income. You might think about your children’s career plans because you want them to find something to passionately enjoy that gives them the financial freedom to have fun. Do you ever think about your boss’s career hopes, dreams and plans? What about your colleagues? Even if they discuss it with you do you give it any thought the minute after the conversation is over? What about the minute after that? How about an hour later?
If you answered ‘zero thought’ then you are with the vast majority of people. There is good and bad news now. The good news is, that not giving any thought to someone else’s career gives you so much more mental time and space to think about yours; that’s the good news. The bad news is that no-one is giving your career any more thought than you are giving theirs! So you may have told a colleague you want to be promoted. You may have sat with your boss and talked about your ambition. But neither of them are giving thought, time or attention to what you want and how best you can get there. The only person that would do that for you, other than you, is your coach.
So it seems that your work, is your work. It is your job to work on yourself. To plan your career. To work on making it happen the way you want it to happen. Any other route is going to be haphazard and unpredictable. You might be the best in your team and you might get offered the role of team leader. You might be the only one that knows the role and company inside out and get offered the role of manager. If you wanted to side-step into something more creative and move up at the same time you might be unlucky, unless you go out there and make it happen.
Start really thinking about how you can get to where you want to get to professionally. What will you need by way of skills, experience, qualifications? Then even if you have to self-fund everything get going on your plan; you are the only one who has a vested interest in the outcome. It may be you are the only one willing to invest in your getting there. One thing is for sure, if you don’t invest in yourself, with time if not money, then no-one else is going to. You can create anything you want, but accept that you might need to go out and do something different. It will probably be outside your comfort zone, because it is new and you haven’t done it before. Do it anyway.
Get excited. Now you know it is your job, it is within your control. Get planning, get hopeful, get persistent. You are never too old, you are never too far away, you are never anything other than full of potential waiting to be realised … Get going!
For help identifying and committing to a programme of self-improvement or making the transition from where you are to where you want to be please contact one of our Consultant Coaches at firstname.lastname@example.org