Welcome to day two! Today we focus on getting clear about what we want. 

I know 2020 left all of us with a sense of uncertainty because the goals we set could no longer be achieved or had to be delayed. So, if you are thinking to yourself: “I can’t plan for my future because we just don’t know anymore”, I want to remind you that we cannot wait for perfect circumstances to plan for our future – because we could end up waiting a very long time. 

I would like to invite you to spend time thinking about the future today and what you really want. You cannot plan your exit if you don’t know where you’re going. 

You need a clear idea

 The thing about not having a clear idea of what you want means you can’t really plan. The world is constantly changing, which means you will definitely end up somewhere, the question is just where exactly, and is that where you want to be at the end of 2021?

When I started working on my exit strategy I had to decide if I wanted to join another company or start my own business. In the beginning, deciding between these two options were difficult, so I spent time working on both options until it became clear what I wanted for my life and career. When what I wanted became clear I was able to focus on starting my own business. 

If you are not sure what to do next or what you want, think about whether or not you want to work for the company you are currently working for. If the answer is yes, then you have a starting point. So, now you know you’re staying. If the answer is no, then you have a starting point, so you won’t plan anything around what your company offers. 

Our career goals must support our life goals

This week’s focus is developing and planning your exit strategy based on what you want for your career. I believe that our personal lives are so closely linked to our professional lives that we have to consider both when we design our exit strategy. Your strategy should help you achieve both your life and career goals. 

When I started working on my exit strategy in 2017, it was sparked by the fact that I wasn’t living the life I wanted to live. I was always working and the working environment I was in did not align with my values, or my need for a balanced or integrated life. 

There are many things that get in the way of success. 

Here are some I struggled with when I had to get clear on what I wanted: 
    • We think we don’t deserve success

When the thought of starting my own business first popped into my head I thought, “that’s silly, what do I know about starting a business, it’s not for people like me.” 

    • We worry that others might judge us for what we want for ourselves 

The truth is, they will. But not because of our goals, because of what they are not able to do for themselves. When I first mentioned that I wanted to start my own business to my family, there wasn’t an overwhelming joy for what I was about to do. I decided not to tell my mom about my plans and my husband’s mom was so happy when my consulting gig came through (we were newly married and I wasn’t “working”) 

    • We are afraid to say it out loud because what if we fail?

Failure is just a lesson to help us stop, reflect, make some changes and try again. I fail all the time and no, I don’t love it but I am still here reflecting, making changes and trying again. We don’t get to success without the lessons and failure is part of that journey. 

    • We make excuses like, this is not the right market, jobs are scarce, the economy isn’t great, I don’t have enough experience yet 

And my all time favourite, I can’t move because I haven’t learnt the lesson yet. I stayed in my last job because I thought I needed to learn the lesson so the challenges wouldn’t follow me to another job or organisation. The timing will never be perfect, as Rumi says: “As you start to walk the way, the way appears.”

    • We hope things will change; our work environments, our bosses, the workload… Because in our minds, this must be easier than us trying to do something more aligned to our purpose and vision for our lives

This is fear in a different form. We ask questions like: “What if I cannot handle it?” “What if my manager is right and I am actually not capable of more?” “What if I am successful and I lose it all?”  “What if I am a bad manager?”. When we allow our ego to lead, we settle for jobs that we stay in too long and ignore opportunities for a better life and an inspiring career. 

When you are clear about what you want, the life you want to create for yourself and your family, the work you want to do and the environment you want to do it in, you can overcome these challenges – because you know what is at stake when you don’t pursue your dreams.

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