The most commonly used excuse when someone fails to take action, when dissatisfied with his/her career, is that ‘I don’t know what I want’. This is based on the mistaken belief that if you don’t know your goals there is nothing you can do.
In fact the opposite is the case – you need to take steps to work out what you want, if you are to develop specific goals.
Anyway, the reality is that despite what you may say or think, you DO know what you want. It’s just that sometimes the vision of your desired end state is blurred or unspecific. So for example, you may not know what new career path you wish to follow but you know that you would like to make more money and have a better work life balance.
Those in business may be struggling to work out what lines of business to focus on but they know that they will need to achieve certain sales and profit targets to remain viable.
You may be one of the lucky ones who starts with a clear vision of what they want, and the resources and commitment to ‘get there’. But for most of us this must be preceded by earlier phases where we research, explore options, try things out (not all of which will work), and to do stuff that will require us to go beyond our comfort zone.
Getting there requires us to retain a belief in the process – to know that if we keep taking actions, however small, that eventually the fog will lift and we will have a clear picture of where we want to go and how to get there.
A coach can be very helpful to this process of identifying next steps, building commitment, and challenging the various excuses that we put forward for inaction.
Of course, the notion of an ‘end state’ is somewhat flawed. There is really no ‘end state’, just an evolving vision of the future, which sometimes is specific and at other times less so. So there is always merit in looking beyond our current horizons – always a next step.