Can I be embarrassingly honest for a minute?
I’m a control freak. I always have been. While I certainly try not to let it run my life, I’ve come to accept that it’s part of my make-up.
That’s one of the reasons I love planning. When I have a plan in front of me, I feel more in control of my destiny. I’m less stressed, more empowered.
Here’s the most interesting part: A plan helps me feel these positive things, even when I can’t follow the plan perfectly. Over the past year, I’ve really had to come to terms with this. After all, the pandemic has made life unpredictable for most of us. But I haven’t stopped planning. In fact, I’ve become even more diligent about it!
Having a plan is always better than not having a plan. – ME
When I start the day with a plan, I feel clear and focused. If (and when) things go awry, I deal with them. Inevitably, at some point, when all the fires have been put out, I’ll turn back to my plan and pick up wherever I left off. Having the plan ensures I always know what I should be doing. I don’t have to decide in the moment, when I’m tired from fighting fires and decision fatigue has set in. I already have the plan and I’m ready to keep moving forward. I don’t waste time trying to figure out what to do next.
I believe this same theory holds true in all aspects of life, and most especially in your career. Sure, no one knows exactly what the future holds. But the mere process of creating a career plan puts you in a better position to deal with whatever comes your way.
When opportunities come along, you’ll know the ones to seize and the ones to run away from fast. When pitfalls happen, you’ll be able to quickly learn the lesson, brush yourself off and get going again. You’ll always know where you’re headed—even if you have to adjust course along the way. You can always get back on track fast, even when unexpected things grab your attention for a bit.
Creating a career plan will give you the confidence and clarity you need to make tough decisions and to stay focused even when times are hard. If you don’t yet have a career plan of your own and would like some help creating one, check this out: Build Your Professional Development Plan workbook.