Sometimes you must throw your old career plan out, step back, and brainstorm ideas for a new one. Here are the steps I took to create my new career plan.

Here’s A Plan You Can Follow When You Don’t Have One

choiceA few years ago I felt lost when I missed out on a career opportunity. For the first time in 10 years, I didn’t know what my ‘next step’ would be. I felt blindsided by change, scared and lost.

Luckily, because of the coaching I was getting at this time, I learned it’s OK to not know the answer. It’s good to get comfortable with not knowing what to do next.  After learning this career lesson, I saw this experience a blessing because I could start over.

My coach and I threw the old plan out, stepped back, and began brainstorming ideas about my next career steps. Here is how my new career plan was created.

Make a List of What I Liked and Disliked About My Job

Since my career perspective had changed I needed to get clear on what I liked and disliked about my current role.  I found that the things I loved to do were my strengths. Next, I compared my professional priorities (aka my job description) with my strengths.

I wanted my strengths to shine more and hence make me happier in my role so I thought of ways I could make this possible. Then I proposed these ideas to my manager.   I hoped that some of my responsibilities could be changed to match more of my strengths but unfortunately they could not.

Find Ways to Use My Strengths Outside of Work

Since I couldn’t shine as much as I wanted to at work I decided I need to shine elsewhere. I needed a creative outlet. To help me through this I started journaling again.  This helped me hash out ideas and record successes.

Every morning I’d wake up and write. It helped set the tone for my day.  I would wake up before the kids and write for 5-10 minutes every weekday morning.  I also started blogging.  My friends and family loved my random thoughts posted on Facebook and encouraged me to start a blog.  That’s how this website was born.

It felt good to be broadcasting my ideas publicly.  I felt like I was making a difference in the world.  Initially, my posts weren’t geared toward working moms; they were just my random thoughts and experiences.  This public journal left me feeling a bit vulnerable yet empowered.

When I Became More Present My New Career Blossomed

At this point, I knew a new career was slowly evolving.  In order for it to show itself though I had to learn to live in the present moment.

There was no point being frustrated about my past.  All that did was tick me off.  And there was no sense thinking about the ‘what if’ scenario’s in my future.  Worrying about it was going to do me any good. It was going to take some time for my new career to come to fruition and I needed to be more patience. I learned I couldn’t control everything or anyone no matter how hard I try.  The world needed to adjust to my new perspective and I had to wait to see how things would play out.

Instead, I kept my focus more on what was going on at that very moment. If I caught myself dwelling on the past I snapped myself back to reality and got busy doing whatever it was I was doing (even if that meant laundry!). When I got scared about my future the fear I sensed was an alarm that said, “Stop thinking about the future, it will come eventually. Pay attention to what is going on around you right this very minute.”

Have Faith That a Plan Will Appear

My bit of advice is when you don’t know which way to go have faith that you’ve done all the right things. You have the power to find the right path for you.  It’ll just take some time to reflect and patience, but you can do it!  You always have a choice. Have faith that you’ll make the right one.

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Liz McGrory

Liz is a work/life sway strategist helping stressed out working mom better manage their quadruple workload of self, family, home and career. You can also check her out on TheSpurce.com as their working mom expert and on The Maven Clinic as one of their career coaches.

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