Simple steps to your dream career

Byby Deborah Brown-Volkman
Monday, July 27, 2015
kgo-Job Journal

SACRAMENTO (JobJournal) -- There are times in our career when we are at a crossroads. Some of us actively seek our next step, while others wait for the next step to come to them. Whether you need to make a change in your career now by choice or by default, you'll need a plan. Without a plan, expect to be like a leaf on a tree, going not where you want, but where the wind takes you.

Don't let difficulties, doubt or uncertainty keep you standing still. Create a plan and work on it every day. Unexpected obstacles are inevitable, and you may not reach your goal as quickly as you'd like, but you will get there if you keep working at it.

So, how can you make your career dreams come true? Through dedicated effort, perseverance, and four simple steps:

1. Describe What You Want

You cannot get what you want until you can describe what it is. Create a detailed description of what is important to you in your career. What would you see yourself doing if there were no perceived obstacles in your way? Do not screen yourself or get bogged down with logistics. Give yourself the freedom to brainstorm. This may not be a quick exercise, and it may be frustrating at times, but it will give you a strong foundation to build on.

2. Explore Your Options

What did you learn from step one? Did you describe something you have been thinking about for a long time, but are uncertain where to start? Did you come up with a few possible career choices, but are unsure which one to select? Did you come up with a few ideas, but nothing concrete?

Take your ideas and turn them into real career choices. Begin with research. Get on the Internet and read whatever you can. Start talking with people who are doing what you would like to do. Ask them how they got to where they are, and what you can do to follow in their footsteps. Use contacts you have today or people you don't know yet. Go for it. What do you have to lose?

3. Create Your Game Plan

Once you have your description, and the exploratory process is complete, it is time to go after what you want. Answer these two questions:

How will you get there? Take what you gathered from your research and list the steps necessary to get from where you are to where you want to be. Estimate a reasonable time to complete each step and put that timeline into your calendar.

When will your goal be achieved? Be specific (for example: six months after graduation, one year from now, by the end of 2018).

4. Put Your Plan in Motion

You know what you need to do. Now it's time to make it real. The key is momentum - keep moving toward your goal, no matter what. Set daily, weekly and monthly objectives. Strive to meet them, and don't be discouraged if some steps take more time than you'd expected. Persistence and forward movement is what will ensure your success.

When you reach major milestones, don't forget to reward yourself for all that effort and hard work. Be proud of what you accomplished. Acknowledge yourself for overcoming doubt and uncertainty and going after what you wanted in spite of the obstacles. Not only does this process build character, it also proves that you can achieve whatever you set your mind to.

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