It is quite daunting sometimes to think about how to accomplish our major personal and professional goals. I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking I could and should be able to reach goals that take time and effort all at once and as soon as possible. However, this type of thinking has led me to abandon my goals and/or made me anxious. Losing 30 pounds is not an easy task and in the past, I wanted to see the results right away. When I did not see immediate results, I gave up. However, when I shifted my goal to losing a pound a week, I became more patient, my expectation became more realistic and I started to enjoy the process. I still have a long way to go, but I am now seeing some results.
This principle applies to our careers as well. It is nice to think about where we could be five years from now and to plan every step of how we will get there. There is nothing wrong with long term career planning to provide some guidance and motivation to advance towards what our goals maybe. However, in thinking too much and too rigid about how to get there, we may lose sight of the joys of our current situations and the learning opportunities available to us. In thinking too far ahead, we could start to neglect what we could be doing now to get to our goals. We could lose sight of the present and we get frustrated when our plans don’t go in the way we would like them to. I can tell you my dream, which is to someday become a “Dean of Student Affairs Technology“, a position that does not seem to exist yet. Will I ever become one? I don’t know. Given my not-so-typical career path to this point, who knows where and when I will be in that role. However, I do know that I have a lot of learning to do and it will probably some time until this proposed role will be an accepted one. I think I know what the position will require and so I will use each day to gain experience and learn new skills towards this goal. All I know is I’m having fun learning and growing at my current job. I can prepare for it and when the opportunity presents itself, I hope I will be ready.
One advice I received from a career advisor is this -”you can’t possibly plan your entire life, but what you can do is take the next step as it will lead you closer to what goals you may have.” For new professionals seeking your first career position, don’t obsess about where you will be five years from now. The world is changing fast and we don’t know what will happen then, so until then, secure your first position, keep learning and enjoy the ride.