Plan your career like planning your vacation
In the recent class that I taught on 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, I pointed out to the participants that while the 21 laws is a leadership program, the underpinning of the program is personal development. The class participants were a cross section of individual contributors to mid-level managers. My objective was to let them know that even if you don’t manage anyone right now, you still need to learn what it takes to be a leader. More importantly, that self-improvement is crucial to their future success. What they do now will greatly affect their future.
When I taught the third session, I asked the participants by show of hands, how many created their ‘DO NOT DO LIST’. I was surprised that less than 1/3 created their DO NOT DO LIST and created a plan of action on how to improve themselves. I then followed up with a question: How many hours do they spend planning their vacation? Their eyes lit up and I could see the excitement and enthusiasm. On average, they spent 20 hours preparing for their vacation; that’s almost three days spent to plan a vacation, but they could not be motivated to create a plan to help improve themselves.
Canadian personal development expert, author, and public speaker, Brian Tracy, once said, “If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development.” Remember that you can only harvest something if you plant the seeds. Everything takes time to grow and develop; without proper planning you will always be at the wrong time even in the right place. Imagine being in the right place, but at the wrong time; it means that you don’t have what it takes to get the job done.
As I look back to that moment, I decided to reiterate the value of planning. I stressed the importance of planning for your future. I asked them the question: Would the fear of failing now be greater than the fear of failing to achieve your dream? It is a question only they can answer. Remember that regret is always in the end.
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