Only 37 percent of American workers expect to retire by the time they turn 65. Consequently, most of us expect to have exceptionally long careers. Whether you are one of the few looking to retire by age 65, or a member of the uncertain majority, having a career plan is a vital tool to put you on the path to professional success. While it may sound like a daunting task involving flow charts, calculators, and endless algorithms, it really isn’t. Achieving any plan you set your mind to is as easy as taking these simple tips from the pros to heart.
Top 3 Tips for a Successful Career Plan
Napoleon Hill has inspired millions of successful minds through his well-known title, “Think and Grow Rich.” In his teachings, he made a point to repeat, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” In this life, your accomplishments are only limited by what you believe is possible. People like Walt Disney, Marie Shelley, Steve Jobs, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr show us how to harness the power of a dream and turn it into success. This is why the first step to creating a winning career plan is to dream BIG.
Take time in your day to visualize what you would like your life to be like.
Be as specific as possible. And don’t be afraid to make it grand! At this point, there is no sense in being practical with your dreams- that’s why they are dreams. Let logic come later. For now, create the perfect life in your head, and then write it out on a piece of paper. If the idea of conceptualizing all this in one sitting gives you anxiety, do it three times over three days, and then combine your efforts into one cohesive vision. Once you have this dream life written down, keep the paper somewhere you will see it regularly. Seeing your dreams on a daily basis will keep you motivated to work towards them.
Connect the Dots
As a man of great accomplishment, and a fellow dreamer, once said, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” While Walt Disney is obviously not speaking directly to you or your personal struggle, he did understand the power that direct action has to change any person’s circumstances. Once he identified his major goal in life, he never strayed from it. Now it is your turn.
Identify one career goal you could achieve that would say “I’ve made it.” This could be making a living off of your online store, earning one million dollars, becoming CEO of a fortune 500 company, or even having a career which allows you to travel the world. Whatever that goal is, write it down, highlight it, underline it and memorize it. This is your main purpose. Every step you take in your career plan from this point on will be towards the achievement of this purpose.
Keep Moving Forward
Starting at your main career goal, identify major goals that must happen in order for your dream to be realized. Break it down into many easily attainable goals, all leading to your ultimate purpose. For example, let’s say your career goal is to make a living selling hand-knitted dog socks online. Your simplified goals would be something like:
- Create a catalog of hand-knitted dog socks
- Hand-knit an inventory of said dog socks
- Decide on a company name
- Create a website for your company
- Market your hand-knitted dog socks in multiple ways
- Attend any and all trade shows about the wonderful world of hand-knitted dog accessories
- Blog about hand-knitted dog socks
When you have a long list of easily attainable goals, you can prioritize them and begin to cross them off the list one by one. Breaking your long term goals up into easy tasks simplifies the process. This allows you to steadily chip away at an otherwise daunting and unattainable task, and before you know it, you will be living the life you wrote down on that page.