The horizon. It’s the place where the sky meets earth. Ship captains use it to calculate their position on a navigational chart. Dream experts say that when the horizon appears in our dreams, it symbolizes the emergence of great opportunity and a chance to implement it in real life. We sit on shorelines, mountain tops and prairies gazing at it with intrigue and wonder, but never really set a course to go there. For many of us, it is a beacon of opportunity.
In many ways, the horizon is a metaphor for our careers as well. It is a symbol of intrigue, wonder and great opportunity! So, why is it that we are intrigued by what we’d like to do with our careers and dream of great opportunity but find it difficult to set a course to get there? The experts say that we never get to our horizons because we don’t set goals, fail to plan, and don’t take action. But how is it then that so many professionals have goals and plans, are taking steps to get there, but aren’t getting any closer to the horizon? Are we afraid we may fail? Even worse, are we afraid we’ll succeed? Or is it that we’re drowning in everything works throws at us and have lost sight of our horizon?
I felt this way for several years but tried my hardest to keep treading water. It wasn’t until I hired a career and leadership coach that I began to pull my head above water and found my horizon again. When all seems lost, a coach challenges you to rediscover your passion and drive, helps you to dust off the tools to help you calculate your position on the career navigational chart, and helps you to chart a course to the horizon. In many ways, a coach is your ship captain! Now that I’ve rediscovered my career and leadership horizon, as a coach, I want to help other professionals do the same.
Here are 3 things you can do, to stay keep your sights set on your horizon:
1. Have a vision for what you would do if you knew you could not fail. It’s ok to dream about what’s at the place where the sky meets the earth. This is what fuels your motivation to make a change. While some are satisfied with what they have and where they are in their career, many of us know there’s more to explore and greater things to achieve. Getting to your horizon only happens when you’re ready to break the status quo and genuinely want something better. Having a vision for what you would do if you knew you could not fail is the first step to breaking the status quo and moving to your horizon.
2. Ask your friends, family, coworkers these 2 questions: “how would you describe me?” and “what makes me unique?” These simple questions seem harmless but offer so much insight to how others see you, what they admire about you, and what you’re meant to do. Comparing who you are to what you do can be quite the contrast, can shed light on the direction your headed, and answer the question, “is that where I want to go?”
3. Look for the job, not the title. It’s a mistake to think that a bigger title is the path to money, power, and happiness. Too many professionals are surprised to find that they aren’t any happier or more fulfilled when they’ve climbed to the next rung on the ladder and have that bigger title. So, rather than searching for your next career opportunity by title, try reading job descriptions and identifying the words or phrases that align with your vision and the words those closest to you used to describe you. Your horizon will appear when the words in your vision and the words that describe you (i.e. the sky) match with the words in the job description (i.e. the earth).
If you’re looking for the career that takes you to the end of the earth but feel as though you’ve lost your way, start with these simple strategies to begin to find your navigational beacon. When you’ve gone as far as you can go, alone, hire a career and leadership coach to help you get the rest of the way.