Have you ever noticed that as productive adults, we each have our own ideas/goals around what it would take to have a “successful career”, but when it comes to what it takes to get there, some of us are at a loss? The more I thought about it, the more the whole career journey reminded me of taking a trip to outer space (also,”Interstellar” recently came out and I’m trying to appear socially relevant). But all jokes aside, some of the basic tenets of space travel are also applicable to reaching your career goals:
Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More
When you set your career goals, whether it be a 5 year plan, 10 year plan, or even a 20 year plan, it’s akin to when rocket scientists are first planning to launch a rocket. They set a goal, whether it be the moon or Pluto, and then they start doing a TON of math.
They plan everything – how much fuel is needed, what type of rocket they need to build, what trajectory they need to set, and the exact day and time they need to launch to be able to accomplish all of this. They do this because the minute details could literally mean life or death.
Your career is much of the same. Because of the globally competitive nature of the workforce, you won’t necessarily stumble into success like people in previous generations. You have to have a plan or else you’ll be hopelessly lost. But that’s ok. Many people don’t realize that due to the Internet, it’s a lot easier now to “plan your journey” so to speak. You can read LinkedIn articles from people who do what you want to do, you can look up Wikipedia articles, you can Google the rest – all the information you need is available.
What you do with that information is equally as important. Sometimes there won’t always be a blueprint for success, but when you take the information that you gleaned from various sources, you have to use it to “do your calculations”. That means that once you set your goal, start planning out the steps to reach that goal. Make plans A-Z so that you have a contingency plan for every possible situation. This doesn’t mean that unexpected circumstances won’t occur, but at the very least, you’ll be a lot more prepared to face those situations and not halt your progress.
When rocket scientists launch a rocket into outer space, sometimes the conditions of space aren’t conducive to what they had originally planned for. But because their initial plans involved backup plans as well, they are typically able to adjust. But, a perfect plan is useless if you don’t execute. Rocket scientists have to execute and so do you. To get some insights about execution, check out Part 2.