- Stop saying “should”
Here’s the danger of shoulds when planning your career, or your life for that matter. Every time you believe that you should do something, you are implying that you neither want nor need this, but somehow you feel required to do it. These shoulds will create dissonance in your heart and mind which will drain your energy and take your focus off of what is truly going to guide you towards your vision. If you base your plan on being accountable for the shoulds, you are limiting your opportunities as you make your career decisions. It would be like driving a car with your foot on the gas and the break at the same time. The goal is to eliminate as many shoulds as possible or as Tony Robbins cleverly states it, “Stop shoulding all over yourself!”. Shoulds need to either be reclassified as a need or a want, or else be taken off the table entirely.
- Get clear on what you need
If the goals that you are setting are based on what you really need and want out of life, you will have the belief, clarity and motivation that will make you more likely to achieve them. If the goals you are setting are meeting someone else’s wants or needs, or based on your shoulds, you will probably find it frustrating to try to attain them. It is extremely important that you take the time to explore and identify your actual needs. Once you have identified these, you are now beginning to identify what it means to be successful by your true personal standards.
In career planning, it’s important to have a vision and set clear goals in order to align yourself with your longer-term vision. Your wants and needs are the foundations on which you set realistic and attainable goals. It’s critical to categorize your needs and your wants because it guides you through a powerful process that will help you prioritize your goals and most importantly, shake out the shoulds that we often mistake as true needs.
- Prioritize and plan
It’s time to prioritize your goals based on the needs and wants that will be satisfied with your career. Very simply, your needs are the things that are essential to survival. This is a very personal area and most people significantly over-estimate what they truly need. Your wants have more to do with enriching your life. Remember, you can’t enrich something that has fundamental bare spots.
I recommend taking pen to paper for this process and be ready to revise. The trick to doing this effectively is to “ask like a two-year-old”. That goes like this: “Why….why…why…” You’ll be setting out to prove to yourself that something is truly a need, or not. True needs are aligned with our natural priorities. Understanding them and putting them in their proper place is fundamental to the pursuit of happiness.
If you are feeling stuck or unsure of what direction to take in your career planning, use these 3 simple guidelines to get unstuck:
- Formally write down what you NEED to live at survival level.
- Clarify what you WANT as well as when and why you want it.
- Eliminate the SHOULDS that you have become tied to.
Now, you can define your career plan to support your basic needs and work calmly towards satisfying your wants.