How is this possible! The end of 2021 is nearly here. While certainly a vast improvement over 2020, 2021 was nevertheless a year that challenged us all and showed us how much resilience and strength matters.
And as one of the women in our community reflected on her career transition this year, “you have to get comfortable with the uncomfortable”.
For 2021, that meant getting comfortable with hoping for a return to normal, but not knowing. With being flexible. Adapting to the moment.
In the midst of so much uncertainty, even if we knew we'd probably have to reconfigure our plan, it helped to have an idea for our future as a starting point -- a North star.
What’s in store for you for 2022? (Excuse the rhyme!) We all want a brighter future, and this year is no exception.
What do you see happening for yourself in your career? How will you get there? You want a reset. What will you retain from your time living and working during the health crisis? What will you cast aside?
In January, setting goals for the next year is top of mind. Inevitably, however, 80% of New Year's resolutions fail by February. How do you make your goals for the coming year stick?
The secret is to set your vision first, rather than focusing immediately on your goals.
Your vision is the image you see for your future, whereas goals are specific targets or sets of tactics that move you towards your vision. While goals help you to stay focused and on track, your vision is your Northstar. Having a vision of your future will inspire you to stick with your goals and will fuel your perseverance. Research demonstrates that having a vision helps women stay motivated at work. A defined vision ensures the outcomes we pursue are intentional.
While goals help you to stay focused and on track, your vision is your Northstar. Having a vision of your future will inspire you to stick with your goals and will fuel your perseverance.
Here are three things you must know (and do!) to start developing a clear vision -- that big-picture future self.
1.Reflection for Your Big Picture Future Self
It’s hard to think about long-term professional dreams in the abstract. It’s difficult to know where to begin. With competing demands, women often put others first and their career dreams on the back burner.
That’s why it’s often not until midlife that we wake up wanting more from our work lives -- more meaning, more fulfillment, more challenge. One of the first steps to distill a career vision is to think about the components that will drive you in your next chapter.
Start by asking yourself these questions and use the answers to draft a list of the values that shape you now. Then narrow down the shortlist to five that speak to you most.
Think about your past interests - what activities do you love? Which comes naturally to you?
What did you love to do as a child?
What current interests or activities do you lose yourself in -- whether for work or in other parts of your life?
What “superpower” do you possess that has people (in your professional or personal life) coming to you for help or advice?
What’s the most fulfilling professional role (paid or unpaid) you’ve had and why?
What elements in your life need to come together in order to fulfill this dream? Think about work/life integration.
What does success look like for you now?
Are there women whose careers inspire you? Why?
What is a problem that needs solving and to which you can uniquely contribute?
What is the impact you want to have in the next five years?
2. Write it down
Write down your responses to the questions below to start crafting your career vision. Circle the responses that signal “expansion” -- that make you feel like you’re stretching yourself or getting out of your comfort zone. In addition, circle patterns, trends, or areas that have remained constant for you.
Craft four sentences about how you see your life in five years: what are you doing, why you are doing it and what impact you are having in the world.
A career vision cements our desires and enhances our well-being. Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) makes it more likely to stick. Writing a letter to your future self is a method that can help you paint a picture of the life you want and increase your odds of achieving it.
Research demonstrates the power of writing for career success: You become 42% more likely to achieve your dreams and goals simply by writing them down on a regular basis.
3. Share your goals with others
Connecting with others who support your vision is key to this process. The more you share your vision with others, the greater points of connection you build for people to help you advance.
Reflecting on your achievements and goals is common in the workplace. But what if you’re transitioning from a career break or wanting to change industries and you’re left to figure it out on your own?
Research demonstrates that women who plan together have higher aspirations. We know that women who support women are more successful in their work and are happier too.
Why try to sort it all in isolation? The past two years have shown us we need community more than ever for connection, inspiration, and accountability!
Hear it straight from women who've participated in the Evolveme Reinvention Collective, our signature 10-week virtual training program:
“My win for the fall? Signing up for the Reinvention Collective! It's just what I need and I’m so much clearer in where I want to head now with my career!” - Adrienne T.
“EvolveMe was one of the smartest gifts I’ve ever given to my professional self. It’s a safe space, serious and full of good information. I love engaging with smart women who care about their careers. Thank you!” - Elizabeth L.
"If you’re looking for a refresh, a new connection, a new framework for your next and BEST step, I highly recommend working with Linda and Judy!" - Davia M.
Join EvolveMe in 2022 and start the year with a group of women already in your corner. Check out our website for opportunities to connect with others interested in professional transition and make a commitment to yourself for 2022!
Sign up for a 1:1 Reinvention Breakthrough Session to see if the Collective is a match for you!