Career Alignment Road Map Step Two: Take Stock

In a previous blog post, I suggested that the first step to career alignment is to get to know yourself.  In reality, self-awareness and self examination is a thread that gets pulled through the entire career development and management "process."  I use the term here loosely, because career development and management is a process that is never-ending.  It is ongoing, and requires focus, clarity, and time.  When you really commit to having the career of your dreams, you are checking in with yourself regularly to set goals, identify a learning plan, and take steps that are aligned to your unique values, aspirations, and skill-set.

So, along with this getting-to-know-yourself stuff, taking stock is critical. It's like stepping on the scale when you start a weight loss program, or creating an itinerary/map before you hike up that mountain.  You wouldn't start any of these exciting endeavors without examining where you are now, imagining what it looks like when you get there, and assembling the proper people, gear and tools for success.  Career management and development involves the same level of attention.

Taking stock is about confronting reality.  It's about asking yourself the right questions -- questions that go beyond the j.o.b. wants and venture into the wider territory of possibility, priorities, and progress.

Here's a quick activity to take stock of your current situation and identify goals and actions to move yourself, and your career aspirations forward this year.


Take 10 - 15 minutes to write out and respond to each question, review your answers, and then, make a move! 

1.  Why this why now? Take a moment to reflect and write about your current situation.  What prompts you to take action now? Where are you satisfied? Where are you dissatisfied? What else is going on?

2.  What would I most like to change?  If time, money, and current commitments weren't an issue, what would I change about my work or livelihood?  What would it look and feel like to fully live this out? How would I know I was successful?

3.  What could I do first?  Given my responses to question #2, what's working for me now? What one action can I take to build on that or to shift the direction and energy forward?  Who or what might be a resource? What might I need to learn?

4.  When will I do it? What timeline seems reasonable?  How will I hold myself accountable? 

Having done this brief exercise, you may notice that it's less about the work and more about finding satisfaction in other areas of your life.  Or, you may observe that your best career intentions just need to be unearthed and re-examined -- given some light, air, and nurturing.  Whatever the delay, it doesn't matter.  By taking stock you are clearer on what you need to do.  Now go do it!

Mary McGuinness, M.Ed., PCC is a career transition and shift-it coach based in Chicago, IL USA.
Mary uses visual coaching and design-thinking techniques and practices to accompany her clients on a journey of self-discovery that results in creative solutions, faster results, and happier, more fulfilling careers.  


Mary McGuinness