Are you moving forward in your career?

How often do you find yourself, ruminating on what you didn’t achieve? Of not getting to where you want to go in your career fast enough? How about all that went wrong? Does any of that keep you moving forward in your career? No.

That was me a decade ago. I was stuck and frustrated with my career. I felt that I had more potential to contribute, and that was surely the answer to me finding happiness in my career. The problem was that I couldn’t figure out what would make me happy. I saw other people who loved what they did, and that made me feel worse because I couldn’t figure it out for me. I was so focused on what wasn’t right that I never gave thought to what was and what could be. That’s a common way of thinking when you’re stuck and feel you’re out of options.

What happened next was a game-changer for me! I discovered how my focus was a self-fulfilling prophecy and learned to get curious.

So this becomes the new question, “What went right in 2019?”

I’d like you to think of all the things that went right. Make a list of everything that happened, no matter how small, that moved you forward in your career. Did you make a great new contact? Get more efficient at prospecting the perfect client for you? Did you make a stellar presentation and got great feedback? Maybe you acquired a mentor. What are the things that happened that moved you forward this year professionally?

Here’s the reason the question must change. You beat yourself up for what you perceived went wrong, but you don’t give yourself credit for what went right. It’s a different mindset when you are searching for the positives in the past. It allows you to find more of the same kind of success that you had probably forgotten about or not given yourself credit for.

This question also allows you to get a clear picture of where you are at professionally, and when wanting to get from point A to point B, you’ve got to know where you are starting.

Now, how about moving forward in your career 2020 in an intentional way? Here’s a tool for you to do just that. I use it all over the country when speaking and strategizing with clients to help them get more clarity of career direction. It’s a career bucket list exercise, and it works like this.

Step 1.

Make a list of everything you would like to achieve in 2020 in your career or business. Just do a brain dump and write down anything that comes to mind. No judging! Maybe it’s an income or salary goal. Perhaps there is a certification that you’d like to acquire. Want more clients? How many specifically?

Step 2.

Create three buckets labeled A, B, and C. Divide your brainstorming list among the three buckets. The A Bucket are the items that mean the most to you. These are the items that will move you forward the fastest towards the goals you have in career or what your next level is. The B Bucket are the items that are important but just not as crucial as the A Bucket items, and the C Bucket items are the things you want to keep an eye on because they may become more critical as you progress professionally.

Step 3.

Categorize your items. Here’s the catch, though. Those of you who are overachievers will want to put everything in the A bucket because all the things are important to you. That’s a recipe for stress! In this exercise, you must evenly distribute your brainstorming list equally among all three buckets.

Step 4.

Prioritize within each bucket. Prioritize each entry within the A, B, and C buckets. So you should have an A1, A2, A3, etc. Also, a B1, B2, and C1, C2, you see how this works.

What did this do? It gave you clarity of direction. You now have a benchmark to make decisions and a barometer for how you spend your time and money. This clarity provides you a great way to keep moving forward in your career!

Here’s wishing you the clarity and professional success you deserve in 2020 and beyond!

P.S. If you’d like a little help in figuring out what the way forward is for you in 2020, let’s chat. I promise to give you clarity around your A1 goal for this year! Click HERE to schedule a free strategy session.

Debbie Peterson is a Keynote Speaker and Career Growth Strategist, helping women and emerging leaders advance by reaching for and realizing their potential in career and business.