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Take Charge of Your Career: Create a Vision First

“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare”. This Japanese proverb implies that it is vitally important to have both and to get the order right. I have coached hundreds of people – many in the mental health profession – launch or shift directions in their careers. Initially, many felt stymied when I instructed them to work out a vision of their successful career. They could speak in generalities but not in substantive detail. It is the detail that is necessary.

My own career has evolved over time. I have credited my success to reviewing what works and what doesn’t work on a regular basis – usually yearly around my birthday. I plan for new challenges to be realized in both life and career in the ensuing 12 months.Evolving as a professional is an on-going process. Sometimes it is a need for a lateral change rather than upward mobility. It may be a desire to leave employee status and launch a private practice or vice versa.

Launching, shifting focus or moving forward in your career takes both vision and action for success. Step one is to create a vision for both your career and your life. Think of a road trip as a metaphor. If you were going to drive from Vancouver, British Columbia to St John’s Newfoundland, you would not just hop in the car and go (at least I hope not). No doubt, you would budget for the trip in both money and time, tune-up the car, check the weather, plan the route, destination points for each day, accommodation stops etc. Before you left Vancouver, you would have a vision for the trip along with an action plan.

Your career needs the same. You need to know where you are going in your career so that you can figure out how to get there. Imagine the professional life that you would like. Once the vision is in place, outline the steps to get there. Your initial steps will be much clearer than the ones further along in the process. Imagine…



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