Sweeping away the remains of winter and getting clean and fresh for spring? Don’t forget the one corner of your life that may need your attention most: managing your career.
But how do you spring clean a career? A box of Swiffers and a bucket of bleachy water won’t help. The first thing to do is to shine up your vision. Here’s how (and there’s a free tool for you to use, too).
Shine Up Your Vision
Before we launch into a new season, let’s make sure we have clarity about what’s important to us right now—and what’s not.
What’s important is different for each of us, and measured by us alone. Let’s take the example of cleaning.
We all make different choices about what we clean, how, and how often. For example, at my house, I don’t scrub the back deck until the pollen season is over. But my sister, a person who puts a high value on cleanliness, would likely not be able to sleep at night unless the deck was hosed down daily.
Neither of us are right or wrong; we just have different points-of-view about what’s important.
In our careers, we won’t know where to start sweeping up if we aren’t clear on what’s important to us. That’s why we’ve got to start by shining up our vision.
But what exactly is “vision?”
On the surface, the word implies simple sight—what we see right now, here in front of us (in my case, a half-empty glass of Diet Coke and a laptop screen that needs dusting.)
But it also means looking forward, ahead, seeing longer-term (as in “Those Google guys sure had vision–who would have guessed we’d ever need a way to look up the theme to ‘Gilligan’s Island?’“)
To clean up your career, you need to shine up your vision for the future. One way to do this is through our worksheet, Creating Your Personal Vision.
How it Works
I use this worksheet a lot when someone begins coaching with me. It’s a great tool to help make sure you’re focused on the right things while managing your career and deciding what’s next for you.
To get started, you’ll pick a date in the future. Choose anything you like—a year from now or three; your next birthday or your 70th birthday–it doesn’t matter. (If you’ve never done a vision exercise before, I recommend you pick something within the next three to five years.)
Then, simply answer the questions as honestly as you can from the point-of-view of you on that future date. Don’t judge, censor, or overthink your answers–just write.
When you’re done, you have an initial architecture of your vision for your life.
Waitaminute–we were talking about my career, weren’t we? What’s my life got to do with it?
In short, everything.
Shining up the vision for your life gives you data and information you can use to sharpen up your career. For example, if your vision includes opening that paddleboard shop on the beach by the time you’re 50, then you may need to focus on accelerating your retirement savings and learning how to manage a business. Or, if you see yourself living closer to your family in Minnesota, it’s probably time to start researching great Minneapolis companies.
Your life is why you have a career in the first place. And hopefully, the right career is a sparkling part of your right life.