We all have several great careers within us. We could be entrepreneurs or educators. We could work in international development or investment banking. These careers could all lead to meaningful work. The greatest challenge many of us have is simply picking one.
For the professionals I’ve worked with to build a more meaningful career, one of the hardest things for them to do is commit to pursuing one career path. My coaching clients often have several different career interests that they want to pursue all at once. They feel like now is the time to explore before they get stuck going down one route. Yes, it’s so important to have a good assessment of which opportunities are best suited for you. But, when you’re ready to land a job, it’s time to pick one path and pursue it. Here’s why:
There’s No Right Answer
There is no perfect job out there waiting for you. There are several great jobs, but you don’t land a perfect job. You build it once you have a job. So, don’t get caught up wondering which path will lead to the best job. Just pick one and focus on finding a great job. The worst thing that can happen is that you find out you’re on the wrong path, learn a lot from that experience, and go down a different path.
Focus Beats Coverage
It’s tempting to invest time and energy developing all your different career paths so that you don’t miss any opportunities. But, if you’re putting 50% of your effort into two different paths, what are the chances that you land any of the opportunities you find? It’s better to stay focused on one career path. You’ll see fewer opportunities, but your chances of converting are much higher.
Momentum is Key
Many people treat pursuing career paths like picking which slide to go down at a water park. They think that once you commit, you’re stuck on that slide. But I see exploring career paths more like riding a bike. You slowly build momentum in a certain direction. If you’re going roughly the right way, you can always adjust your course and your momentum will quickly carry you in that new direction. Exploring a career path is no different. The connections you make and projects you work on are all building your career momentum. It’s easy to leverage these things if an unexpected opportunity arises or you decide to pursue an adjacent career path.
Hopefully, this gives you the confidence to pick a career path and get started! The only time I advise against getting out there is when you have no idea what type of work you’re interested in pursuing. It’s important to have a general idea of what really matters to you in your next job. That way you can evaluate whether you’re on your way to an exciting, meaningful career.
At Mission Driven, we offer career accelerator programs and coaching to help professionals figure out what really matters to them. If you’re interested in working with us, feel free to drop me a note.