I've been reflecting recently on my long term professional goals. It's a while since I've done so, and it was good to sit down and make space to consider where I'm going.
I've noticed as I did so that it caused me to evaluate where I am in a different light. Without clarity about where I wanted to be, I had an unthinking acceptance of where I was. There is nothing wrong with acceptance, but there is a cost to complacency and a lack of mindful attention. There is a risk of stagnation.
Now a way forward is emerging, it has the effect of giving a direction of travel. As my focus moves to paths leading the way I am going, it leaves behind alternative paths setting off in other directions. I have taken back the tiller so to speak, and rather than drifting on the wind I am setting my sail direction and beginning to move.
If you have a feeling that any path will do, that now is kind of OK but no sense of what would be better, then perhaps now is the time to consider what you want to have happen?
A simple exercise to do is:
1. Write a year in the future in the middle of the page, say 2024.
2. Then, pick an area of your life - work, leisure, health, relationships, or if you like, section your page into segments for each context you want to reflect on.
3. In each area, write down what you want to have happen. State it positively e.g. 'confident and well-respected' rather than 'not worrying what other people think.' This helps you mind move towards what you want, rather than ruminating on what you don't want.
4. Make sure your future aspirations are as compelling and multi-sensory as they can be. Really use your imagination to place yourself in the future and consider what you want.
5. Step in and reflect on how you will feel when these aspirations are your life experience. As you do this, notice any tweaks and changes you need to make to have your goals be compelling for you. Notice what you will need to do to get them, and check that you still want them.
6. Stick your future goals up somewhere you will see them often. Use them as a check when you plan things. Do they take you towards your goals? Reflect on your progress regularly, you may want to draw up specific plans and activities to energise your path, depending on your goals.
Deep down, in the long term, what do you want to have happen?