In my last post, I promised you some actionable advice on how to get a clear sense of direction of what you want from your career. Few of us find the time to take a deep dive into what we have achieved, where we are going, and where we want to be, but it’s a very powerful tool that helps you set your intention.
It’s also very important to have these answers before you seek out a mentor. A good mentor can draw out some information and give you ideas you hadn’t thought of, but they don’t have all the answers – only you do. So, here are some ways you can prepare yourself before you approach your prospective mentor.
Take an Inventory
Take some time to reflect on what you’ve achieved over the past year. Every little thing you do one day turns into the big picture, and it’s worth recognizing that all your hard work has paid off and giving yourself a pat on the back. It’s also a good time to take stock of what your strengths are, and what new skills you developed. Maybe you have even found a new professional interest – taking an inventory of these things will help you create a more focused plan.
Find Your Why
Next, you have to discover why you want to change. Often, we get hung up about our salary or other factors, but usually there is a deeper reason. In fact, studies often show that money is not a good motivator in the long term. Maybe you feel unfulfilled or disconnected from the team you work with, or you want to start a family and can’t see how it would work in your current department. Maybe your job isn’t challenging enough, or perhaps you feel that you need to move on (or up) in order to keep growing and developing. Whatever your reason, it is important that you understand your motivation before you find a mentor.
Visualize the Future
Next, consider where you want to go. If you aren’t where you want to be in your career, then you need to spend some time deciding where you want to be instead. (And often, this can apply to life in general as well.) If you don’t know, then spend some time researching other roles or reading about people that are doing well or who interest you for inspiration. Accept that the answer may not come to you immediately – it may take several days before inspiration strikes.
Set Your Intention
By deciding what you want, you set your intention. Imagining where you want to be is an extremely effective way to help you focus your efforts and achieve your goals. However, I also realize that this is probably the hardest step of all – sometimes, it’s hard to know what your options are or what would be a good fit for your skills and interests. That is where a good mentor will help: by having a bigger view of you, they can give you a steer on where you might be best placed.
This is the perfect opportunity to spend some time focusing on yourself and where you want to be. And it will also put you in a better place when you do find and start working with a mentor. But even if you don’t necessarily want a mentor, this is a good exercise to do on a regular basis – think of it like a self-review of your current progress.
Next time, I’ll be giving you some pointers on how to put these intentions into action. Following this process is what helped me publish my book, Health Well Done: A Patient-Centered Management Approach to Building Healthcare Environments – and it can also help you get where you want to be.