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Make 2016 Your Career Year

13 Jan 2016
Simone Thompson

Make 2016 Your Career Year

Simone Thompson


Simone Thompson

Talent Management


What are you waiting for?


Time to make some changes in your life.


At this time of year, we have so many plans to change and improve our lives.  We have vague ideas about ‘being happier’, ‘changing career’ or ‘getting fitter’, but few of us actually turn these notions into an action plan that will move you from wishing and hoping to achieving and succeeding.


I have been guilty in the past of talking about all the things I am dissatisfied with and giving lots of air-time to talking about what I need to do and how I should really ‘get stuff done’.  Then feeling guilty when I don’t achieve anything!  What I have learned is; the less time I spend chatting about it and the more time I devote to developing an action plan, the more success I have.  Not exactly revolutionary!  Here’s the key distinction though.  Defining what ‘it’ actually is can be hard.  Simply saying I would like to be happier or I would like a better job isn’t enough.  Getting absolute clarity on what ‘it’ is is more than half the battle. 


It is worth noting here that this article is not about goal setting – there is plenty of great literature highlighting the benefits of goal setting and the best ways to set goals.  What I am sharing is a tried and tested method to check in with your purpose.  Do you want to move from talking about doing something to actually doing something?  Make a commitment to yourself that this is the year you will achieve something special.


To help prioritise and order our vague ideas and notions so that taking action becomes easier, it is helpful to invest a little time on the following questions.  Trust us you will save a lot of time and energy in the long run just by doing this.

It is important to actually write down your thoughts / views and answers. 
Remember there are no right and no wrong answers.  Whatever pops into your head must be considered and recorded.  Simply ask yourself the following 4 questions:


  • Why
  • What
  • How
  • What if



Start with your why.  If you get stuck with other questions, circle back to your why - the purpose.  Be very clear on this area - get the big picture why nailed before moving on.  Why is being happier / changing careers/ getting fitter etc particularly important to you?  For what purpose are you changing careers?  Why now?



When answering the what questions, ask yourself, is this getting you closer to your purpose, your big-picture why?  Do not get bogged down in the detail, simply get all of the ‘what am I doing here’ questions answered.  Note that you should only record what you have actually done to move you closer to your goals.  You may be surprised to learn that all you are doing is talking about your goals and not actually taking any action.



The how questions deserve a more detailed approach and it is worth asking yourself ‘how am I going to get there, how will I start, how will I know I am on the right track, how can I ask others to help?  Asking yourself how you will reach your goal is a great way to break down one large insurmountable task into smaller, more achievable steps.


What If?

The what if questions are your contingency plan and asking ‘what if it doesn’t work out’ and ‘what if it does work out’ will help you reduce the pressure of having to make an “absolute” decision.  Another great question to ask yourself here is ‘What have I noticed in doing this exercise? What areas need more / less air time in future?  What have I learned?’

Once you are done and have written your views down, agree on a way forward.  Focus on what is most important in the longer term.  What will get you to your why?  Do not be tempted to focus all your efforts on the immediate and unimportant areas of your life - be selective.  Focusing on your ultimate purpose will help you get over some of the immediate hurdles. Oh, and do have some fun by being open and creative while doing this!

If you need some more advice on kickstarting your career, please feel free to get in touch with our team who can provide support and assistance.

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