ABCs Of Your Career Journey – Z Is For Zip Line

By E. Elizabeth Carter

As we reach the end of a journey, some people feel very Zen-like and calm while others are full of excitement. The latter group is already planning their next big event even before they finish the last few moments of the current one they are experiencing. I want to suggest that for once try to do something different; in other words savor the last bits of the current journey. Ask yourself – What have I learned during this time? What would I have done differently? What do I wish I had done more of? Was it even worth it?

Once you evaluate your experience, write it down in a journal. Not only answer the questions above but also determine exactly how you felt along the way. What triggered happiness, sadness, frustration, and possibly even anger as you navigated your way through different paths? Were there certain people who brought these emotions out in you or was it something you read, watched, or experienced? How did you power through when you felt very drained and/or how did you turn an unpleasant experience into a better one?

It is important to determine how you have grown as a person during this journey. We may feel we are still the same person with the same habits, skills, traits, etc. but change does occur even if we can’t see it in ourselves. We are living organisms so parts of us stretch our limits and other parts decay or are forgotten. Regardless it is critical to document how you have changed so when you encounter a new journey you can review how you managed to survive the bumps in the road before. It is like a textbook of your life.

This of course relates to our business mindset too. We may get an annual review report but 365 days is hard to detail in a one or two-page memo. It would be better if you created your own weekly review with all the same information you would in a formal annual review. What projects or assignments did you excel at or struggle with? If you gave yourself a grade, what would it be? What goals have you set for yourself to move ahead in your career?

Now is the time to not zip through your career objectives but instead try to visualize the career you desire. Alternatively if you are on a good trajectory with your job, figure out how to take it to the next level. Reach out to a mentor or coach to support you. This may be the end of the alphabet of this journey but there are many more interesting paths/roads that will come your way. You just want to make sure that you are not zipping along too fast and miss them.

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