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Do you have a vision for your career goals? In my article on Big and Bold goals, I wrote about taking the time to set goals that are beyond your wildest dreams. These goals are best imagined and defined by a vision.

A vision is the first step to bring life to your goals. It can allow you to experience what you want to accomplish using your senses. The vision is a way to help you to truly define and paint the picture in your mind’s eye of what it looks like through writing or other media.

Taking the time to create a solid vision of the future for your career and for your goals, enables you to really think through your options and priorities, and think of alternatives as you define the outcome. For example, I have a client who was laid off recently from his job. He is in Marketing and loves what he does, but he’s not sure what options he has or wants to pursue for the future of his career. I had to ask the question…”How do you want to rewrite the script of your career?” It’s a powerful question that invokes a Vision. A new vision for the future.

How do you want to rewrite the script of your career?

When it comes to careers, you can set a vision for your career overall…where you want it to go, what’s most important to you, salary, promotion, leadership (at what level?), remote worker, etc. That’s the first step. Know what you want your career to be. You can set a timeframe for this year, the next 5 or through to retirement. Whatever makes the most sense for you. I work with clients to paint this picture for their overall careers.

You can then set a vision for the big and bold goal(s) you set. Same process. What are all the details around the goal? How do you define it? What does it look like in all aspects?

It’s important to have the vision be yours and no one else’s. Certainly, you can set a vision with a partner, family, or team. But your influence needs to be a part of the vision for it to truly resonate for you.

The vision doesn’t need to be a goal, per se. It can also be visioning the outcome of an event. For example, if the goal is wanting a promotion at work then the vision can be all of the elements of the discussion with your boss…understanding all that you should prepare in advance, anticipating your boss’s questions or statements, lining up the business case for a promotion, or preparing good negotiation skills in advance. The vision can help you prepare for the outcome of successfully closing the deal on a promotion or more money, etc. and help you to see the outcomes you want and need.

Some ways to express your vision:

1. Work with someone to create the vision. The first step I request with all of my clients is that we set a vision for the future, for their ideal careers and the outcomes that they want to achieve.

2. Have something close by to remind you of it. In my office, I have framed my coaching certification. It always reminds me of the vision I had toward becoming a coach and building my own business. When the going gets rough, it’s so helpful to have that visual reminder.

3. A Career Vision Board: a collage of pictures and phrases that define your vision. You can limit to one goal or present all the goals for your life on the board. Simply cut out pictures and words and affix these on a poster board. A Vision Board can be created every year, defining what you want to pursue in that year, or you can limit it to one specific goal. It’s all up to you.

4. A Vision Statement. This is a declaration of where you want to be in the future. Companies do this at times to declare the organization’s objective, and it serves as a guide for decision making or prioritization. It can work the same way for you.

5. Wordle is an interesting way to present your vision. www.wordle.net It allows you to put key phrases and words together in interesting word clouds. A visual reminder of your vision and goals.

6. You can also write the vision out. I like to put my Vision(s) in journal formats, but you can also just grab the nearest pen and paper and write your vision down.

Anything you can do to both set a vision and remind yourself of it every day is important to focus on bringing it about. A career vision is really a dream made real to allow you to focus on and define the steps toward.
Happy visioning!

ACTION CHALLENGE

Take some time this week to set an effective vision for your career or for a goal or outcome. Use one of the methods above to define your vision and make it come alive.

 

 

Up Coaching LLC.

Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a certified Career/Executive Coach. She coaches individuals and leaders to career fulfillment, transition, and advancement. She also consults for results with businesses and solopreneurs. Her background includes 12 years in senior leadership for a Fortune 100 corporation and 7 years as a coach, with a Master’s degree in Organizational Effectiveness and Executive Coaching.

 

For more information, please visit my website at www.upcoached.com

 

 

 

Happy New Year everyone! Hoping 2019 is your best year ever!

A new year brings fresh opportunities and possibilities for you and your career. Make this the year that you take the reins of your destiny and decide what direction it will go in. In this first post of the series, I’ll demonstrate the importance of managing your own career.

There are advantages to taking control of your future direction.

In the past, employees were expected to perform and deliver results for the organization. This determined your next promotion (up or out) in the company. It was based on the results produced but also on key partnerships and strategic alignments (no one ever got promoted based on results alone!).

We are in a new era where employees can decide their own future career tracks while delivering results for both the company and their career. The advantage of this is that it allows you to have the flexibility to address what you want to do in the future. Do you want a promotion? Would you rather try learning new things, regardless of the title? Are you open to changing careers completely? Taking control of your career promotes employee independence that makes you flexible and adaptable to any changes in the organization. You develop an independent mindset.

When it came to my own corporate career, I’m afraid I was guilty of letting others make decisions for me. I was fortunate to have two amazing sponsors at different points in my career. I didn’t plan these two senior leaders as sponsors; they sort of happened as I went along and continued to deliver in my role.

Yet, as I look back, they appeared because I was driving results and that helped to open doors to increased levels in the organization. Which was great, but….I basically gave control of my career, promotions, assignments, and roles, to others who I thought had my best interests at heart.

Ah, but what happens when one sponsor retires early (forced out) and another sadly passes away at a very young age? This was the exact situation I found myself in. While I mourned the loss of my sponsors, I realized that I had not taken the time to structure and strategize my career in the way that I wanted and needed to.

But it’s never too late. It’s always a good time to take stock and take control of your career.

Wouldn’t this New Year be a great time to do that?

I like to think of taking control of your career as becoming the head of a new startup company called “My Amazing Career, Inc.” (or any other creative name). The analogy is one of equating your career development to a startup company of which you are the Chief Executive Officer (as well as COO, CMO, CRO…OK, so let’s just say you are the Chief). The Chief is responsible for defining the path of career self-advancement and ownership.

You continue to focus on driving results for your company in your role, but now, you also think about meeting and achieving goals for your own personal career future. It’s a mind shift that you need to make to view your accomplishments to the benefit of your role and career.

There are many facets to consider in this startup effort…please watch subsequent posts for inspiration.

For now, start thinking about what you would like to accomplish in your career this year, short term, and longer-term view. In the next few weeks, I plan to explore all of these facets as we co-create your own Career Company and begin to strategize and plan for your next successful moves.

ACTION CHALLENGE

Happy New Year! Start this new series by taking some time to think about what you really want to accomplish most in your career this year. Write down some career goals (no more than 5 to 7 goals) and continue to follow this series!

 

 

Up Coaching LLC.

Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a certified Career/Executive Coach. She coaches individuals and leaders to career fulfillment, transition, and advancement. She also consults for results with businesses and solopreneurs. Her background includes 12 years in senior leadership for a Fortune 100 corporation and 7 years as a coach, with a Master’s degree in Organizational Effectiveness and Executive Coaching.

 

For more information, please visit my website at www.upcoached.com

 

 

 

Hello everyone! I’ve been on hiatus, but now back to the blogging. I have other changes coming up soon as well…a new website and social media presence. For now, it’s good to be back to writing! Hope your new year has started out fantastic. Please drop me a note and let me know how you’re doing! Thanks!

In Part 1 of this series, I described the business case for taking control of your career with the analogy of becoming the CEO for My Amazing Career, Inc., a company devoted to your career, and run by you. As a good Chief Executive Officer, you want to know which way you want the company to go. It’s the same with your career. It’s time to do a little strategic planning.

Crafting an initial vision for your future is helpful.

A vision can help to clear up any ambiguity and give you a target to shoot for. It can be long term, ultimate, or short term, whichever works best for you and your career. As you set a long term vision, you may have interim visions along the way, and because things change, it’s always a good idea to revisit the vision at least yearly.

Once you have the vision, it helps to confirm this with an advisor, coach, or friend. Get feedback on the vision from someone you know and trust.

With a vision in place, it’s important to understand where you are right now against some key dimensions. This is usually called your current state. Values are a key component to understanding what your natural talents are and how to best utilize these in your career, present, and future.

  1. Starting with core values, what your priorities are right now? For example, if a family is a core value, you may want to figure out greater work/life balance in the future. Or, if the achievement is a core value, then you want to ensure goals and successes along the way to validate that. Values are really about what’s most important to you. List out all of the values and strengths you currently have. There are several guides that you can Google to help list your values. These are the cornerstone for you, but also, you want to ensure that your future career resonates with these values.
  2. Put the list of values into rank order and understand what your top values are.
  3. There are some tools to assess values/strengths including Strengthfinders. I am a definite fan of Strengthfinders. This relatively easy assessment will give you your top 5 strengths. It will also give you your whole list of 34 strengths in order. These are your natural talents in professional and personal situations. For example, my own top strength on the Strengthfinders is Restorative. This is strength in problem-solving. I would never be happy in a career where I wasn’t solving problems, so this would be an absolute for me, and essential to understanding.
  4. Strengthfinders also has a Leadership assessment that shows how to leverage your strengths as a leader in an organization. Well worth the read.
  5. Another value/strength support is the VIA Strengths Tool assessment. This tool is free and allows you to get a report online outlining your core strengths/values.

Effective strategic planning begins with a vision and current assessment of where you are and what’s important about that. In our next article, we will continue to explore your career by looking at your successes, opportunity areas, and core competencies.

ACTION CHALLENGE

Set up a Word file, or notebook, however, you prefer to capture information and take some time to document your vision for the future of your career and values/strengths. Take any necessary assessments to provide clarity. This will form the foundation of your career master plan.

 

 

Up Coaching LLC.

Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a certified Career/Executive Coach. She coaches individuals and leaders to career fulfillment, transition, and advancement. She also consults for results with businesses and solopreneurs. Her background includes 12 years in senior leadership for a Fortune 100 corporation and 7 years as a coach, with a Master’s degree in Organizational Effectiveness and Executive Coaching.

 

For more information, please visit my website at www.upcoached.com

 

 

This series began by encouraging you to make a decision to take control of your career. It’s too easy to defer taking control, especially in the midst of driving results. You may have the anticipation that the boss will “just notice and reward” all of the hard work you are doing. Take the time to proactively manage your future direction. Taking control of your career puts you in the driver’s seat. It makes a difference to your future when you spend time following your own roadmap. You can achieve what’s most important to you, not just to your company.

Vision and Values are important determinates of your future.

You can use your vision and values to provide the destination for your career, as well as point out what is important to you about reaching that destination. Values provide a touchstone for what resonates most for you in the future.

The bottom line message…do not let someone else determine your next career move!!

As your career plan proceeds, it’s important to check in on yourself and identify your core competencies and opportunity areas. This provides a realistic balance of strengths and weaknesses in your career journey. This is strategic career planning and these elements are important keys to the analysis and process.

These aren’t things that you normally consider, except at performance review time, or for the purposes of putting a resume together, for example.

Core competencies are best defined as those items that are strengths for you. The competencies are also defined as specialties that others recognize your expertise in. It’s those things at which you truly excel; the unique accomplishments that over time have become a part of your career brand and persona.

It also helps to engage others in defining these. You can view 360-degree feedback or look at past reviews to see what others have defined as your strengths.

Also, thinking back to the self-assessment exercises described in Part 2 of this series, your values and strengths will guide you to your core competencies. The Strengthfinders assessment gives you the top 5 (and more) strengths that you use in your work and life. I mentioned that the strength called, Restorative, is my number one strength. Restoratives are strong problem solvers. They solve complex people and project problems and drive results. That’s definitely me!

What do you know well and can contribute effectively?

Think of the things you know best and list these out. Where are you sought after for your knowledge on a particular topic? What do you feel is a real strength for you? What could you give a Ted Talk on if you needed to?

Now you also want to assess your opportunity areas. Those places where you want and need to improve.

Go back and look at performance reviews, think about feedback from the past. None of us are too crazy about negative feedback, but are there nuggets there that can suggest areas for improvement? Do you tend to be too sensitive to feedback? Are you disorganized and/or not presenting well to others? Do you have a conflict with peers often? Are you not strategic enough? List these out.

An honest assessment of those areas for improvement is essential to assist you in shoring up and building strengths. It’s a starting point for where you want to go in the future, and coming up with a plan to work through opportunity areas is a great development focus.

Now you have a composite picture of you and your career. It should include:

The awareness of the need to take control of your career direction
A Career Vision
Values
Strengths
Core competencies
Opportunity areas.

All of these are essential in career planning. The next stage is taking all of this information and developing your personal road map…strategic planning of your career.

ACTION CHALLENGE

Take some time this week to assess your core competencies and areas of opportunity. Make a list of each for your career planning objectives. Review your materials to ensure you have the full foundation for career planning.

 

 

Up Coaching LLC.

Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a certified Career/Executive Coach. She coaches individuals and leaders to career fulfillment, transition, and advancement. She also consults for results with businesses and solopreneurs. Her background includes 12 years in senior leadership for a Fortune 100 corporation and 7 years as a coach, with a Master’s degree in Organizational Effectiveness and Executive Coaching.

 

For more information, please visit my website at www.upcoached.com

 

 

Throughout this series, the theme has been to take control of your career and personally own the outcomes. What happens so often is that in the busyness of driving results, career planning may fall to the wayside, leaving major career decisions in the hands of others – your boss, your company, or even a recruiter. Now you can be responsible for creating your own career management roadmap for the future.

The strategic plan begins with elements of self-awareness including assessments of your vision and values and strengths and opportunity areas.

These are all tools for introspection and evaluation which is where the career map begins. Think of this as a road trip. Now when I was a child growing up in Los Angeles, our family summer vacations were 382 miles away, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Key decisions included:

  • Where exactly we were going (San Francisco plus Redwoods or Lake Tahoe)
  • How to get there (by car)
  • What path to take (Hwy 101, usually)
  • How ready our vehicle was for travel (maintenance, oil change)
  • What maps and stops along the way (my Dad was not a fan of stopping!)

In the same way, your career roadmap must contain elements including:

  1. Where you want to go and when. Whether it’s a career change, promotion, lateral move, or a new job, where do you want to go and by when? Reference the vision you developed earlier and put a date on it. I would like to become an entrepreneur by 11/1/2020. I would like to get promoted to Sr. Manager by 12/2/2021.
  2. How are you going to get there? Just as there are many paths from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and many side detours possible (beautiful Santa Barbara, or maybe explore Big Sur), decide on the best path for you. I want to achieve a promotion to Sr. Manager first, then Director. Or I want to network and understand what I need to do to become an entrepreneur before I quit my day job.
  3. Decide which road to take. The road will be those actions that you want to take in pursuit of moving forward. The decision on the best path can be determined in several ways:

a. Perform a Gap Analysis. If I’m currently a Project Manager looking for promotion to Sr. Manager, take a look at the skills and requirements of that targeted role and compare to where I’m at currently. What do I need in terms of education, experience, etc. If I’m looking to change careers, take a look also at skills and requirements for a new career and where I need to shore up my efforts.

b. Do a SWOT analysis on your career. This is looking at Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats to a future pathway. Use these results to determine the next steps.
c. Look at strengths and opportunity areas that you developed earlier, and put together a plan to enhance these opportunities and/or maximize your strengths further.

  1. How ready are you for this journey? Go back and look at the values, strengths, and opportunity areas again. These provide clues on where you should be spending your efforts. Do you have an opportunity area to network with others to a greater extent? Maybe your career brand is good but now you need to incorporate it within your resume and Linked In profile.

a. This is a critical step to identify actions to take in pursuit of the vision.

  1. Get your maps lined up. Write down all actions and goals from the previous steps. Make these SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Time-bound). The dates are important in keeping you accountable.
  2. Where do you want to stop along the way to your vision? Are there steps and milestones you can identify on the way to the vision?
  3. Finally, assess any other items you may need to consider, such as values (work/life balance), salary requirements, location, etc.

Your finished product is a set of steps that lead to the desired vision. These are goals and actions for you to take to achieve success.

Review your finished product with a mentor/coach/trusted advisor. It helps to have an outside perspective. Make this a document with quarterly goals supporting goals for the year and look at it every week to ensure your actions are tracking with the plan.

Best of luck in your career journey.

ACTION CHALLENGE

Throughout this series, you have defined where you want to be in the future (the Vision) and where you are right now (Strengths, Opportunities, Values). Using the techniques above, create a road map of the next actions to take. Review these with a mentor, trusted advisor, or career coach.

 

 

Up Coaching LLC.

Lupe S. Wood, MS, PCC, is a certified Career/Executive Coach. She coaches individuals and leaders to career fulfillment, transition, and advancement. She also consults for results with businesses and solopreneurs. Her background includes 12 years in senior leadership for a Fortune 100 corporation and 7 years as a coach, with a Master’s degree in Organizational Effectiveness and Executive Coaching.

 

For more information, please visit my website at www.upcoached.com