Setting career goals can be challenging. When I lead activities that ask professionals like you to map out what they want in the future, some grasp the concept immediately. However, others become paralyzed with the idea of coming up with the “right” answer.
So instead of defining what we want to achieve in the future, what if we start by defining what would simply make today great? Find a quiet space, close your eyes, and imagine a scene where you are totally engaged and lit up. Where are you? What are you doing? Pay particular attention to how the scene feels. After staying with that scene for a few moments, open your eyes and write down what came up for you.
With this scene, you’ve begun to uncover the activities that put you in a flow state. This is something we should strive to make a part of our lives every day. You can use this scene to set an intention. What do you want to do most days? Your intention doesn’t have to fit exactly with the scene you imagined, but it should get at the essence of why the scene was so meaningful for you. For example, if you imagined hiking up Mt. Kilimanjaro, your intention might be to experience adventure most days.
This intention becomes another tool for evaluating career paths. The work that matters most to you will enable your intention. To build on the Mt. Kilimanjaro example, you might find adventure most days in a software engineer role that allows you to work remotely or a sales role where you meet potential customers at their offices. Any role that requires you to be at the same desk every day is probably not going to cut it.
Just like goals, the point of this exercise is not to come up with the best or most true intention. The point is to come up with something worth testing. Go experiment with work that may align with your intention. Find what works for you and adjust your intention along the way if need be.
I’m curious to hear how setting an intention resonates with you. I’m happy to share my experience if you drop me a note.