No point planning careers right now. Wait and watch.
The statement has become a cliche over the last few months.
Yes, we are living in unprecedented times. Amid an ever-evolving pandemic, what is and isn’t “safe” is ambiguous and left best to be decided by time.
Tomorrow is uncertain.
But wasn’t it the case always?
Then why are we thinking of leaving the planning for tomorrow?
If we left the planning for tomorrow, in the times to come others will execute and get ahead, while you will be busy planning.
So, though it might seem futile to plan anything right now, it is in fact the best time to do so.
Want some handy tips? Follow along.
So you might have heard people saying it is futile planning anything right now.
Whatever we planned for 2020 has not worked. We never expected such a situation. We never expected the coronavirus pandemic to take away jobs, create a scarcity of jobs, and a huge uncertainty of what the future holds.
But let me warn you, these are the talks of the tramps (the people who believe in having a drifting career).
The highfliers think the exact opposite.
The situation we are in will eventually get better. But the uncertainty will forever prevail.
If you fail to plan now, you are planning to fail, eventually.
So here are 5 ways to take advantage of the current situation and gear yourself up for making powerful decisions for your career.
#1 Be a visionary
Don’t focus on short term gains. Instead, think of what you want in the long term.
Where do you want to be in the next 5 years? A classic question that used to be asked in the interviews has become the thing of the past.
Planning for the next 5 years is short term planning.
Instead, you should be thinking of what do you want at the fag end of your career.
What will tell you you are at the peak of your career?
And when would you want to achieve that?
Reflect on these 2 questions and you will arrive at the ONE thing that matters to you the most – your purpose of being.
Now I am not saying it will be easy to arrive at. But the lockdown presents to you a wonderful opportunity to stay at home, connect with your real self, and reflect on what really matters to you.
Make the most of it by –
- Concisely spending time with yourself. Keep the distractions out. No phone calls, webinars or music, Netflix, or podcasts. Just you and your thoughts!
- Making notes. Write down the thoughts that cross your mind while you are alone. They can give you a lot of clues about what you are and what you want to be.
When you realize your purpose and work towards it, you can make tough decisions in tough times in a jiffy.
#2 Focus on your personal brand
You are a brand. Whether or not you like it, you already are one!
The million-dollar question is – are you aware of it? Do you know what others think, feel, and say about you?
If yes, are you happy with the image you have created?
If you are not, what are you doing to change it?
You will get preliminary answers to the above questions, when you spend time with yourself, reflecting.
But let’s not forget the treasure of the friends we have.
The lockdown will present to you ample opportunities to connect with your friends, family, co-workers, and others and seek feedback.
Make the most of this opportunity by –
- Short-listing the set of people who would give you genuine feedback.
- Preparing a set of questions you would like to ask them.
- Connecting with them personally to get your answers and getting to know yourself from their perspective.
- Reflecting on what perceptions need to change.
- Putting a plan on paper to make the necessary changes.
Being aware of the personal brand you would like to create in the future, will help you decide on what needs to be done today and the though times in the future.
#3 Know what problems you can solve
The world is full of problems. Everyone is cribbing about it. If you, too, do the same and focus on problems alone, you will stay where you are.
You will be busy cursing your luck, while those who see opportunity in adversity will get ahead.
The adversity of the pandemic has also brought along many opportunities. It has increased the number of problems people are facing.
And that is a good sign.
Every problem has a solution. If you become the solution provider, you are in the game.
So, make the most of this by asking yourself –
- What problems do I see around? Personal, social, organizational – make a list of all that you can.
- Which of these or similar problems have I solved in the past? How did I approach them? Can I use the same approach to solve the current problems?
- What can I do / which problems should I attempt to solve so that others can benefit?
Thinking about solving others’ problems has always helped people make the right career decisions and emerge as heroes.
#4 Learn the art of influence
Influence is the most underrated skill. But the matter of fact is that leadership is synonymous to influence.
And you need not do big things to influence the world around you.
Small, meaningful acts can make you extremely influential.
And the current situation has on offer a ton of opportunities to be influential.
Make the most of these opportunities by –
- Showing empathy. Be mindful of how the lives of people around you have impacted. Understand what they are going through.
- Communicating. The least that people expect in the tough times is someone to talk to. Be the person who they can open their hearts to.
- Supporting them in all possible ways you can – financially, emotionally, or just about any other way you can.
Learning to care for others and thus mastering the art of influence will help you decide to place others’ needs above yours every time in the future.
#5 Network to build your ‘A’ team
It is natural to feel you have to walk the path alone.
But remember – Alone you can walk fast, together you can walk far!
It isn’t wise to do everything by yourself and delay the results.
So make the most of this time by-
- Discovering the people who can help you succeed.
- Being a part of masterminds.
- Finding people to mentor you.
- Creating a system to set you up for success.
A group of people who are happy to see you succeed doesn’t allow you to take the wrong decisions. They are your guiding light in the though times.
If you master these five ways, you don’t have to bother about the uncertain times. Instead, every single time when the uncertainty strikes, you will be most sure what you have to do, the decisions you have to take, and thus have a grand breakthroughs in your career.
These are timeless principles of career growth, and these have proven to work for all who I have coached. If you wish to learn these from me personally, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org