Your career is your business. A successful business model is an intentional implementation of vision—not a reactionary fix.
Unlike an organization, your vision is not set in stone. Being a business of one makes you nimble and adaptable. Being human means that the only thing you can’t do is stay the same.
Your long-term vision is not a specific destination. It’s a general direction.
Like your favorite video game, you unlock new areas of the map as you go. There’s no player’s guide. Surprises and detours are guaranteed.
That’s why tenet #1 of an intentional career strategy is a six-month self-check-in. There are new areas on the map. There’s also an ever-new You. Does September You’s vision best serve March You?
Accepting that your vision is a direction that is more likely to change than stay the same is liberating.
You’re not deciding your forever. You just need to pick the best vehicle to get you across this part of the map in the general direction of your next level. Check-ins highlight the fact that your vision and value system are moving targets.
Your value system is the overlap between your strengths and interests.
The overlap of your strengths and skills forms your value system. These are the most effective tools and techniques for realizing your vision.
These things often come naturally to you. But that does not mean that they don't require intense effort. It’s the opposite. Things that come naturally provide the most gratification for the effort. This is when you flow. When the process is as, if not more, rewarding than the outcome.
Reviewing your vision and value system is like a 6-month dental cleaning.
First you check-in with yourself. You polish and refine your vision and values. Then, there's the second part, when the dentist does the official inspection. That's when you check the alignment of your vision and values with your environment. Routinely examining your environment in the context of your vision prevents and discovers disconnects long before you feel any pain.
By understanding your current vision, value system and your trajectory, your network can provide the best insights on your personal fit in a potential work environment.
Intentional networking is more than establishing relationships before you have an ask. Intentional networking goes beyond exchanging business cards. Your network needs to know you. And how your career strategy evolves over time.
Keeping your network current is a two-way street.
A genuine mutual understanding creates virtuous cycles that amplify the clarity, relevance and value of the insights you share with each other. This is the difference between the first-date material you get in the interview process, and a nuanced understanding of the realities of the environment as well as your actual fit.
Cultivating an intentional vision and value system makes self-confidence an inherent part of your decision-making process.
Small, day-to-day decisions add up. Over time, these tactical choices accumulate powerful force. Asking yourself if something serves your vision—even if it’s just a small project—keeps that power focused and in your hands.
For many of us, the most difficult parts of actualizing our visions is saying ‘No’ or taking a risk.
A clear understanding of yourself, your vision and your values stabilizes your perspective. An intentional career strategy will keep you grounded and objective when you need to make tough calls or handle the unexpected.
Being fearless and being brave start with self-awareness and self-confidence. Join WEST for a workshop lead by executive coach Kim Meninger. Kim will explain how you can develop an intentional career strategy that reflects your vision, your value system and your personal evolution.
Want to get a head start on the workshop? Kim recommends these books:
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