Post Career Planning – From Seeing to Doing

Getting started – part 2

this is a second post in my series on post career planning. In the first post, i talked about the idea of “winning”. As a first step in our thinking about life beyond the daily routine, we need to broaden our understanding of what success is all about. We  need to visualize it and understand why it is so appealing.

This is a critical step to enlarge our focus. Chip and Dan Heath point out in their book Decisive that we all share as humans a natural tendency to narrow down our options.  To become more creative about how to live beyond our fixed career path, we need to work on widening our options. And the first step is to start seeing them. As Peter Drucker points out in “The Effective Executive“, we need to give the creative side of our brain regular practice for it to start producing ideas.

But this is only a first step. In order to get any value out of this thinking, we need to move into the “doing” part of the agenda. Keep in mind that it matters not if we achieve the things that we visualize. It matters a great deal whether we see opportunities from what we do.  Creativity comes out of action, not the other way around.

So we need a way to move from visualizing to doing. There are two ways to do this. One way is to do an inventory of what you are very good at and work from that. This is the approach taken in this LifeHack post. Notice that once you have this list, you need to refine it by seeing what things you are really great at offer any passion. Sir Ken Robinson makes this point that we will not stick with things we are not passionate about.

Another way of moving from seeing to doing is to look outward. What things outside yourself are you passionate about? What things could you dedicate yourself to? As Dan Pink points out in his book Drive, connecting to a great purpose is highly motivating. It is a way to get active. Mastering a great craft or skill is also highly motivating. Again, committing to mastering an external challenge is a way to get started.

Which way to start? There is no right answer. Though, Dan Pink brings out in his book “To Sell is Human” that some of us are more inwardly focused and some of us are more outwardly focused. Which are you? do you know?

Either way, take a step from vision to acting on your vision. Move from beautiful daydream to interesting challenge. And start acting. You might be surprised in how it opens the mind!

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