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Summer is officially here. So, I recently booked our family holiday and cannot wait. Besides enjoying time with my two lovely sons devouring delicious food and actually finishing a book, I am also getting excited about the thinking-time I will have whilst away.

Holidays give you the chance to switch off.  You are away from all of the daily ‘noise’ that makes up our busy lives But, if after the first few days of escape you find thoughts of what’s niggling you in your job creeping into your head, don’t be surprised. Many of us return home resolved to improve things or to make a change to our work situation, but with no clear way forward. So, relish the opportunity to think from the comfort of your deckchair and follow these simple but powerful steps to achieve clarity and devise a plan.

The future is down to us. Why? Because it does not exist yet. Take this time to reflect on what you would like your next 12 months to look like. You have already increased your chances of getting it.

Step 1.

What’s your current reality?

You cannot change what you do not acknowledge. Be scrupulously honest with yourself. Ask yourself the following questions about your current job:

  • What specifically do I want?
  • What do I enjoy? What do I dislike?
  • What would I miss about it?
  • How did I used to feel when I got this job?
  • What has changed since then?
  • How do I feel when I wake up in the morning? Am I leaping out of bed or am I a sloth, as I prepare for the day ahead?
  • What circumstances would have to change for me to want to stay in my current job?
  • What’s the purpose of my new goal?

You are making great progress. You now know more about what you want and don’t want in your next job. Next step, deepen your understanding. This will help you to focus and commit to your new future.

Step 2.


It is important to explore your reasons for feeling dissatisfied at work. According to a study on this same subject, by the CIPD (Chartered Institute for Professional Development) the main reasons why people decide to change their careers include: dissatisfaction with senior management or the culture of the organisation; wanting better work-life balance; career development to take on a more challenging role; to improve your earning prospects and a desire to explore something new.

Once you are clear on your ‘why’ it becomes far easier to imagine or visualise your new future.

Step 3.


Visualise your career goal i.e. see yourself in your new position and make this your new reality. Be very specific about what you want. For example, if your next career step involves a promotion to Legal Director, imagine yourself working in that role. Perhaps see yourself managing a specialist team, across a particular geographical region and being an active member of the senior leadership team etc. How does that feel?

Step 4.

Set Goals

Once your vision is clear, you should consider the following rules of goal setting, very similar to the classic ‘SMART’ model, often used in business. As follows:

  • Be specific. Make your goal as detailed as you can.
  • Measurable. How can you measure your goal?
  • Deadlines. Set a precise date and time by which you will successfully fulfil your goal.
  • Challenging. Make your goal stretching. It should push you beyond your comfort zone.
  • Congruent. Your goal must complement your core values, otherwise, you won’t follow it through successfully.
  • Write it down. Use actual pen and paper! Get yourself a notebook to record your goal and action planning.
  • Personal. This is your goal and should be personal to you only.
  • Positive. Be positive. State what you want from your goals and not what you don’t want.
  • In the present tense – write yourself a postcard, as if writing to a friend and as if you are writing to them 12 months from now. Imagine you are looking back and telling your friend about your previous 12 months. Include the high points in your career, and what made you feel proud, fulfilled and happy. Send it. Read it. It will be a very powerful prompt for when you return home.
  • Possible. If it is possible to achieve your goal, then there is every reason to believe that you can achieve it, so go for it!

Step 5.

Review And Action Your Plan

Based on what you have learned, create a detailed action plan to maintain the momentum for when you return from your trip.

If you are going to put yourself out there and start to look for a new role, you must identify what you have to offer – leaving no room for ‘imposter syndrome.’ Think about your uniqueness. What makes you, you? Think about this from both a professional and personal perspective.

Call on your wider network – including people who are already doing the sort of work you would like to do. Speak to them. Speak to people who inspire you and can introduce you, such as current and former colleagues. Tap into all of your networks and be sure to share your plans with them. You may be surprised by who they know and how willing they will be to support you.

Happy goal setting and happy holidays!

If you would like to discuss your goals please contact Rachael at or call 07770 679 730.