I have a horrible sense of direction. So much so that if I think I should turn right, 80% of the time I just automatically turn left. I’m so grateful to my GPS that I just might name my next child Garmin or TomTom!
When I made the cross-country move from Michigan to Phoenix in 2010, I had a more astute traveling partner with me (thanks, Octavia!) to ensure that it didn’t take a week to find my way here. If not for her, there’s a pretty good chance I would have been doing something crazy like driving east on Interstate 10 when I needed to be going west.
Time and time again, I learned that no matter how long or fast you drive (and I have the tickets to prove it), if you’re going in the wrong direction, you just won’t reach the destination you set out for.
It’s no different when it comes to the professional destination you’re seeking. No matter how hard you work or how quickly you ascend the corporate ladder, if you’re not doing the work that will allow you to achieve your personal definition of success, it’s like driving east on I-10 from Houston and expecting to reach California.
So what do you do if you realize you’re on the wrong road? Here are three steps to consider:
- Begin by crafting the vision for your life and make sure your professional goals line up. Don’t write down what others want you to do or where you think you should be at this stage in your career. Be honest with yourself about what’s in your heart and what will bring you true satisfaction.
- Brainstorm multiple options that will lead you to that destination. This is a critical step, because you may be shocked by some of the roads that will get you there. And if you can’t find the road, consider building it.
- Create the roadmap to get you there. This may be an exit strategy from your current job or business, or a plan to develop new skills to open up new opportunities within your current organization. If you’re a business owner, it may be as simple as serving a different clientele or offering a new product or service.
The bottom line is this: If the path you’re on right now isn’t going to get you where you want to be, you have two choices – change directions or change your destination. Stop being mad at your boss or frustrated with your customers if what you’re doing now isn’t equipped to give you what you really want.
You don’t have to make swift, drastic changes, either. Even if you only drive 20 miles a day, if you’re on the right road, you’ll eventually get there. Create the plan and commit to making progress. Wonderful things await you at the destination!