Do you find career planning easy? Could I persuade you that it’s not only easy, but fun too?

With an inside-out approach it can be. Take these three essential steps now and you’re on your way.

3 Essential Steps to Effective Career Planning

1. Know what makes you unique, and leverage it.

Gone are the days of having to work on your weaknesses.

Career planning in 2016 is ALL about how you make your best bits, better.

If you struggle to know what your assets are – ask! Get as many different people’s feedback as you can and get really clear on what makes you different. What do you bring to the world that is uniquely you?

Get crystal clear on what is YOU. I can’t tell you how much I love the creative process of gathering random bits, connecting them together and creating something new. This process happens for me all day long, whether I’m at home making art or in the office imagining up a concept. My point is this – what you’re good at, you naturally love and are always doing it.

And once you know it, use it. Find those roles, or create them, where most of the time you are leveraging your most prized assets. It’s a recipe for healthy career progression. Every. Single. Time.

2. Stop dreaming, start doing.

I have an amazing mentor that continuously reminds me that ‘The experience has the value’.

What exactly does she mean?

It’s that we have to get out of our heads and into action. To try stuff out. It’s all very well to have our career vision, to be inspired to make changes to move towards it, but unless we actually do something different, well you know how it ends. Cue merry-go-round emoji.

Doing, especially when it’s beyond your comfort zone, is not…. comfortable. For me moving from over a decade in the food industry, to the agency side was certainly not comfortable. But since high school I’ve had a love for effective communications and now having made the leap I get to explore it on a level far deeper than I ever could within the food industry.

If you are reading this you have enough life experience to have seen with your own eyes that some of the most uncomfortable places lead to the most incredible possibilities. Which don’t always work.

This idea of stop dreaming and start doing no matter the outcome is best summed up in mantra fail fast.

Try it out. For real, not just in your head. And if it doesn’t work for you, keep on moving.

3. Be a life-long learner, and always a beginner.

Can you remember back to your first job? How important was learning to you then?

Can you call back some of that curiosity and willingness to try new things? That hunger to learn.

For me personal growth is one of the most satisfying parts of being alive.

Watching yourself transform from being caught in fear, to achieving what you didn’t think was possible is one the best fuels for a fulfilling life.

There’s no way you can go places without learning. The more you learn, the more places you get to go.

And if you aren’t convinced for your own personal development, I believe you owe it to your organization to keep learning.

In any organization, when the people are stuck, the business is stuck which is bad all round.

The bottom line

Conventional career planning says the 1-2-3 to career planning is to know where you want to go, map out a plan to get there and thinking your way in chess like moves to your ideal job finish line.

What I am proposing in these 3 essential steps is a much more organic and maybe realistic way to navigate a career that you love. Because that’s the point, right?

To love it, and keep on loving it. To love your career it needs to match with who you really are, today. And it needs to evolve as you do.

Continuous introspection, a commitment to trying it on for size and lifetime of being a beginner are the keys to effectively map the path to your fulfilling career.

Michelle Celander, PhD Senior Account Director – Nutrition Appetite Communications

[email protected]

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