Today the idea of a career plan is so popular because it promises certainty.
That if we follow a linear path to success, happiness will follow.
But trying to predict the future is a losing battle.
It’s impossible to know what your priorities will be a few years from now, let alone the opportunities you’ll be presented with.
Obviously it’s great to be goal-oriented. But in my coaching practice, I see how a rigid fixation on planning your future can backfire, closing you off from important opportunities to grow.
The result is that you can stay stuck.
Luckily you can move forward confidently in your career without a rigid plan.
For example my career has not been linear, I have just made the best decision I could at the time.
You can still be successful, while doing it from a place of agility and resiliency, not pushing and forcing.
Infact one of the biggest life lessons I’ve learned in this last decade was; seize the startup mindset, and watch uncertainty, creativity and imagination light up my career journey.
I have mainly followed this path trying not to have a professional identity.
That’s the real key: To keep challenging yourself, to keep finding new things to do, to keep finding new challenges in life.
You reach different benchmarks at different times and you have to make that transition and adapt and change.
Change is the hardest thing for all of us.
But change is where you can shed one skin and grow another.
So, how can you really cope with uncertainty in your career ?
First of all start with a career model, not a career plan.
What’s the difference?
A plan tells you what to go out and do: assuming that you already understand the environment you’re working in.
A model, on the other hand, sets out the core aims and hypotheses of a career path, but is designed to be flexible and change rapidly as you learn more.
A plan’s focus is execution, whereas a model is much more centered around learning.
A Career plan can help by providing direction and motivation, yet also hinder by narrowing focus and inhibiting learning.
Having some kind of career “model”, as opposed to a rigid plan seems to potentially provide the solution here.
The key idea is to have a long-term vision than a short term plan, which provides direction whilst also leaving you open to change and learning.