The 4 Steps to Create Your 2021 Career Roadmap

best practices career best practices career coach career coaching career goals career planning Jan 08, 2021

Transcript for the video:


Hey everyone, Melisa here! 

Today's tech leader power lunch is: The 4 Steps to Create Your 2021 Career Roadmap 

I’m excited to dive into this with you. A few weeks ago, we talked about one of the mistakes that I see a lot of people making, is not being the CEO of their own career. And so today, I'm going to walk you through the four steps of creating a roadmap and really elevating yourself into that position of being a CEO in your career, and what does that even look like?


You’ll leave today’s lunch with:

  • Great questions to ask yourself as we're moving into 2021
  • A new way to think about your career plan and process
  • The steps to build out your 2021 career plan
  • How to be the CEO of your own career and take back control.


All right, let's dive in. If we haven't met yet, I am Melissa Lieberman. I am an executive coach for tech leaders, and I help them achieve their big career goals. So, for some of you, that is landing a dream job, whether you have one want right now or not. For others, it's working to improve your leadership skills. I work with clients helping them be better leaders for impact.


Why create a 2021 career roadmap in the first place?


So many of us, I know, for me, I love, love, love planning, and I spend a lot of time planning, and in the past, I would plan and then literally never look at it again, it was more of making myself feel better that I had a plan, but not actually doing the plan, if you know what I mean. And so, what I want to really work through today is helping you to put a plan in place that you're actually going to use, and it is a roadmap for you to achieve whatever it is that you want in this next year, and then in the long run.


I want to talk with you a little bit about the motivational triad. So, the motivational triad is how our brain is wired to work as humans, you might also hear it called the primitive brain. But our brain is wired to avoid pain, conserve energy and maximize pleasure, and by pleasure that means the short term.


So, with that motivational triad in mind, and that context, I want to talk about why create a 2021 career roadmap.

  • Taking back control of your career, and ultimately your life, right? You spend most of your time in your job. And I hear from so many of you, you are wanting to feel fulfilled, wanting to feel more challenged, wanting to feel satisfied, wanting to feel recognized, wanting to feel acknowledged.
  • Stop living on autopilot. And believe me, I've been there for a good chunk of my career, I just kind of went with the flow. And a lot of great things happen going with the flow. But I know for sure I left a lot on the table. And I don't want that to happen to you too.
  • Stop delegating your life to other people's decisions and indecisions. You have a lot more control in this process then you're probably realizing or giving yourself credit for.
  • Not letting that fear, the uncertainty and the doubt keep you stuck unsettling


Let’s get out of this kind of vortex that so many of us have been in and have just kind of been living day to day and then pretty soon you wake up and you're, you know, 50 or 60 or whatever and there's a lot left on the table.


The four steps to create your 2021 career roadmap:

  1. Determine your vision.
  2. Assess your current state.
  3. Map the high level.
  4. Build your four-part plan.


So, nothing revolutionary about this, right? This is a common way that we look about at goal setting. Stay tuned, because there's something in this four-part plan and the execution side of it that I, I almost guarantee you haven't thought of, to include in your plan and I'm excited to tell you about what that is.


You are the CEO of your career and where do you want to direct it so that you're not falling victim like most of us are to going with the flow, seeing how things unfold and expecting to be acknowledged and recognized at the end of it, and then when you're not feeling so regretful.


Step 1: Determine your Vision.

The exercise I'm going to give you for these next four steps is not, you know, a four day process here. You can hammer this out and you can get most of this done today if you do it along with me. So, ask yourself, what is your vision for your career? And I know this is like a super annoying, interview question. Most people don't want to answer it or like I don't know what's possible, right? You know, what's possible for you?


The reason why you don't want to answer it, is it doesn't feel you can hear or think about it logically, it's possible, but it feels so impossible and scary and bad. So, he's just like, I don't want to avoid it right? Today, I'm asking you to have some fun with this. Kick back to college when everything felt so like possible. The ideas and outcomes could be endless, right? So many of us had so many big dreams. And then over the course of time, they've just like funneled, for some of us, into this tiny little pinpoint of what we think is still accessible to us.


So, take a step back, like take all of that weight off. And just think about what do you want in your career in the next five or 10 years?


And the questions that you can ask yourself to really try to take off that layer of cynicism, if you have it. Think about like, if you were to take the blinders off, and the what's possible or what's realistic or what's practical, who cares? That's not any way to set a vision. what's realistic?

  • Get back to the space where you had so many big dreams. Like what would you want, if you knew it would be wildly successful? For some of you, I've talked to you, and you want to have a really successful side gig or a really successful business that ultimately replaces your income. For others of you, you want a C level role, or you want to get back into a company that's on the fortune 100 lists or you want to go over to a startup.
  • What would you want if you were over-estimating yourself? Wanting to in technology, we're estimators. I used to be a project manager back in the day. I would never overestimate anything. That's a bad idea. But why would you? Why would you underestimate yourself? In this case, it's a very good idea to think about, like, if I was over estimating myself and I could accomplish something that seems incredibly impossible, what would that be?
  • Why do I want what I want? This is such a good question for a lot of us. It's like, I should do this? Because it's practical. I have bills to pay. Yeah, there's tons of ways to pay bills.
  • What disappointments are you avoiding?
  • And if you feel resistant, this whole exercise I just gave you ask yourself why. And I'm telling you, usually, from all the people I talk to, and all the clients I've worked with, and across, and even for myself, it's almost always that whatever you want, feels impossible for some reason, or unrealistic for some reason. So, it feels really bad. And so, it's easier to not even think about it at all. But it's not the way you want to live your life. I know I did for a really long time. “I would love to be a CEO, but I don't know if that's possible for me. So, I'm not going to think about it. I'm going to just stay in my own lane and do really well.” That's not a good way to approach this 2021 plan of playing it safe and not being honest with yourself about what it is you truly want. If you can't be honest with yourself, then who? How are you going to accomplish what you're really capable and meant to be accomplishing?


Step 2:  Assess your current state.


These are some of the areas that you that are really important to look at. So, if you were to rate it on a scale of one to five, put an X wherever, wherever you think it goes, do you have these, again, thinking like a CEO? Do you have these things in place? They are things like a marketing system, a financial plan, routines and systems to operationalize your career? And so, I broke those down into concepts that we could all apply, which are things like, reach your professional brand, on a scale of one to 10? how clear is it? How differentiated is it? How visible are you? Knowing most of us, this is probably closer to the one or two it's like something that always falls off the table until we are looking for a job. And even then, it's like a perplexing topic, how do I brand myself? So, ask yourself, what's my number again, without judgment and regret. This is not about beating ourselves up about what we don't have or what's not good enough. That's not what we're here to do. We're assessing our current state as if we're the CEO, and we're looking at a new business that we're now running. We might not have been running the business up until now, it might have been running us, quite frankly. So, we're the new CEO of our career, and we're coming in to do a business assessment. And we're looking at this with an open mind and no regret, no judgment.

  • Okay, so with that in mind, what would you rate that for you your professional brands? And then tell yourself “Why did I read it that number?”
  • How is the strength of your network? Both depth and breadth? How would you rate it? One through five and why?
  • What's your current job satisfaction? One through five and why?
  • How clear are you on your short-term goals like in the next year? 2021?
  • What does it look like for the longer-term picture? How clear Are you on it? How are you progressing toward it?
  • What skills and experience are required for you to be successful? Do you have those already? Or are there some gaps? Now, again, I've warned you before, don't go getting a bunch of certifications, just because you think you need them like this is, again, we're putting our CEO hat on, what are we investing in, that's going to have our ROI that we can clearly see that we clearly understand and acknowledge is something that will be a direct line to the goal we're trying to accomplish. Or it's something that on a personal level, we really want. But we're not kidding ourselves that somehow, we need this in order to take it take our what our career to the next level.
  • Do you have a financial plan in place? So, I'm not just talking about a personal budget? Here, I'm talking about what's your comp plan look like? Right now? Where do you want it to be? What are the steps that you want to take in order to get it from where it is to where you want it to be? Does that mean you need to go get a new job in order to advance to the next kind of rung? Or does that mean you need to put some plans in place for 2021 that help you to demonstrate the value and articulate the value and ask for some form of a promotion or a raise? Or a change to your comp plan? What is your financial plan as it relates to your career?
  • Have you operationalized all of this and what are the routines and habits and systems that you have in place to keep your eye on these things, so they don't fall by the wayside?


I guarantee if you don't have routines and systems in place, just like anything, and you know this, right, they're never going to happen. You might already have some of this in place, like a monthly recurring task or something like that. And then how often do you do it? When I say routines and systems in place, it's not only the things I'm going to do, but the way I'm going to keep myself accountable. And the way I'm going to measure if it's done. And I'll walk you through a process here in a minute about in more detail on that.


Step 3: Map the high level.


Choose one focus area per quarter. Don't tell yourself like, “Oh, I haven't been networking forever and I need a professional brand and I better start looking for a new job and I did it all the things right is shove them into Q1.” That is definitely not setting yourself up for success. So, if you were the CEO of your career, what would the guiding principle, the guiding theme, the guiding focus area be for each quarter? It might be branding and positioning Q1, networking Q2, getting a system in place on autopilot Q3.

You start looking for a new role. I don't know what it is, but for you, like what are the focus themes for each of these quarters, that will make the biggest difference back to that career map that we just created that vision and fill in the holes that you found in step two.


All right, now we're moving on to where the rubber hits the road.


Step 4: Create the 4-part game plan. 

Part A.

Take some time and brainstorm out the tasks and habits and routines that you anticipate are required to accomplish your quarterly goal. So, you're going to want to repeat this game. This process is four-part process for each of your quarters. I'm just going to help you get started with Q1. So, if you chose something for Q1, if not, do that now like what just off the top of your head, what would be your focus area for Q1? Would it be putting a branding and positioning product in place, getting yourself branding and branded and positioned? Or would it be really focusing on the depth and breadth of your mark of your network? What is it that you want to dive into for your that's going to make the most difference for your, for your career, your business that you're running?

Now, brainstorm out all the lists, all the all the tasks, all the habits, all the routines that you need to accomplish in order to meet that quarterly target.


Part B.

You're going to think about all the obstacles that are going to stand in your way toward meeting that quarterly focus. A lot of us think about, you know, in technology, we think a lot about risks and how to mitigate risks and things like that. So, that's part of our DNA. But the other way to look at this, in addition to that is, what are the obstacles that could come up? A lot of them are mindset related. And that's the part that we often overlook. What is procrastination, something that is usually a thing for you write it down? Don't pretend it's not there, or you wish it wasn't? You know, I shouldn't be doing that. So, I'm going to ignore it. Is self-doubt something that that commonly gets you stuck? Put it down? Again, we're not ignoring what usually happens. We're acknowledging it and making a plan around it.

What other things stand in your way quite often when you're doing something, especially if it's something new?


So, let's take, for example, networking, if that's your quarterly focus for Q1 - What is going to be the obstacle? For most, it could be well, I love networking in person. And none of that's happening right now. So, I guess I won't do it. No, the obstacle is no network, no in-person networking available, what are your strategies to overcome that obstacle?

Go join three organizations that are interesting to you, and start getting engaged online and all of the online things they have to offer. And then when they start back up again, in-person, it'll be something that's already a routine for you. Another obstacle if you were to choose networking is, you know, I feel like I'm an introvert. I don't really like it, put that down. That's an obstacle. Again, don't dismiss it, because you feel like you shouldn't have it. This is just putting all the good, the bad and the ugly on the paper, and then one by one by one, what are the strategies to overcome each of those obstacles?



Part C: What risks are you going to take to get what you want? How will you measure the result?

The one I told you, that is the best. So, we'll see if you agree. So many of us think like I better not create a plan that involves me failing that or setting myself up for success.

Feeling as bad. I'm challenging you right now to plan your risks and failures in advance. Like, just get it out of the way. Realize I'm going to fail at this. If I'm not failing or taking big risks that are going to result in me failing, then I played too small.

What risks are you going to take to get what you want? How will you measure the result? You might get rejected, who cares? You might fall flat on your face might be humiliating, who cares? You might decide as part of your branding and positioning, I'm going to start posting on LinkedIn to create a brand and to let people know what I'm about. And that I will tell you right now for those of you who aren't yet doing it, it does not feel good when you first get started and a lot of times even after you press post, like who's judging me, who's thinking all these things about me. It sucks. But guess what? People see you and they associate you to something. And next time they need a, whatever fill in the blank, a CEO or a COO, or a VP of sales, whatever the thing is, they think of you. “This thing is open in my company I wonder if John's still available. And I really need a strong peer, I wonder if Jane's available.”


Whatever your thing is, plan in advance to fail. And if you have nothing on this list of risks you're going to take, that will most likely lead to failure, and how you're going to measure the result and improve and build upon it, then you got it, take a minute and keep going. Right? It's until you have some on here. It's not big enough, unless you have someone here.


Part D: Combine everything together.

So, take the from, part one, Part A, Part B, Part C, and put them all here in this first column. Ask yourself, How are you going to know if it's done? Are you going to measure if it's done, and when are you going to start it and put them in sequential order. And that is your plan. You can repeat this for every quarter.


And now you'll have a 2021 career game plan that helps you take advantage and take control of your career versus letting it happen to you. And use that process I just gave you to be very iterative.


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