Mid-Career and Unclear?

Many people find themselves going down the career path not knowing exactly where that path is leading them. Unfortunately, people often have to travel a bit down the career path to realize they are not traveling down the path they want to be on. There are many reasons for this.  One is the fact that if your focus is on near results, you can be a little off and still come close to the mark.  The further you travel down that road, the clearer it becomes that you are off course.  If you have ever taught someone to drive, you will have very real demonstration of this.  Most new drivers are worried about the 50 feet in front of them. They keep over-correcting, turning the wheel right, then left, then right…  They get where they are going (most of the time) but they keep having to jerk the steering wheel in the opposite direction.  In contrast, most experienced drivers know to steer by keeping your eyes on the horizon/distant road while still maintaining a focus on the near road for obstacles (like a car that just change into your lane without signaling).  As you travel down your career path, are you focused on immediate or short-term goals and obstacles, or are you focused on your long-term destination? 

How does one keep the destination in focus while still making and achieving their short-term goals and avoiding obstacles?  Similar to driving, you first have to determine your destination.  Imagine planning a road trip.  Focusing on the short-term goals would be packing the car with the essentials and filling up on gas, and then getting on the highway.  Where are you going? Focusing on the long-term goals, you would first plan a destination. You then plan out the route, perhaps with some side trips to attractions along the way.  Then you pack the car, fill the tank, and head out on the highway.

To use another well-worn analogy, many people are merely shooting the arrow at the side of the barn. You will most likely hit the barn, but you have no clue if you hit what you were aiming for. Granted, you could go and paint a bullseye around that arrow. (That would be like waking up one day and deciding you must have arrived where you wanted to be, because you are somewhere, and that somewhere must be where you have been wanting to arrive all your life.) To truly arrive at a destination where you want to be, you must examine your life and career and make choices on goals and then decide which steps and directions will help you arrive at that predetermined destination.  This would be like first painting the bullseye, then aiming at that bullseye, and then shooting the arrow.

Bottom line:

You can keep going on the path you’re on – and hope you end up someplace you want to be.

OR

You can evaluate the path you are on, determine where you want to arrive, and change direction if needed.

The choice is Yours!

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