Planning for the Future -a Model to Consider “What’s Next?”

What’s Next?

For those of you who are incredibly accomplished and at the height of your careers, how do you plan for the future?  How can you do what you do best -think strategically -about what’s next?

What happens when your passion and interest begin to shift toward new challenges? Do you ignore that small voice in the back of your mind suggesting you are ready for something new? Do you simply carry on? Or, do you take the opportunity to be self-reflective? How can we hear if we are being called to a different career?

With the world changing dramatically, now is a great time to begin this work. We can capitalize on some quiet time to assess if our energy drivers, skills, and passion are being maximized for the near and long term. There are three areas which we can drill down deep to assess: energy, skill, and passion. Some well-timed personal assessments can go a long way to guide us to understand our hard-wired preferences and where we get our personal energy. Those specific energy builders/drainers include our inclination for creating, giving, structuring, etc. We can then layer in the key skills that we have developed like project management, financial capability, team leadership, etc. Then add the final layer of your interests your passions.

The intersection of energy drivers, skill and passion is often the most fruitful place to explore in identifying what might be the next career opportunity and is the sweet spot to explore as this model suggests.

Model in Action

Example 1

Marketing executive who is ready to move on from the high-powered corporate life. He wants to do something different and has known it for a while. He gets energy from giving and supporting others. Additionally, he still wants to utilize his marketing and leadership skills that he developed through his extensive experience. One area of passion is networking and helping people find new positions as he always makes time to take networking calls from fellow executives looking for a new opportunity. This individual chose to explore Executive Career and Leadership Coaching; he secured his credentials within a year, made the pivot, and spent three years loving his next career.

Example 2

IT project management executive who raises her energy from structuring “things.” She still wants to apply her IT skills in some capacity, and she has a passion for working with kids. She secured a role in a private school where she is the IT leader and supports kids in a hands-on way to help them with their IT needs. She did this without having to get her teacher certificate since her role was technology based. She is now enjoying her new, next career.

Take the First Step

For those who have the flexibility to make such shifts, since some imply a salary trade off, the benefits include enhanced work life balance and increased career happiness. Making a career pivot can be an opportunity to downshift prior to retirement, or a semi-retirement play. To make your post career planning easier focus your evaluation and decisions using the energy, skills, passion model to find the perfect next career for you.

Start by asking yourself, “what’s next?”

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