Reenvisioning your idea of success could be the power move of a lifetime.
Often when we're making career plans -- setting professional goals, considering a new business or a job change -- we let our analytical left brains run the show; facts and figures take precedence over feelings. But inviting your imaginative, intuitive right brain to be a partner in planning -- letting it lead the way, even -- can help you figure out how you define success and what kind of work will allow you to thrive.
The first step in right-brain career planning is to evaluate what means the most to you. This will help you spark deeper satisfaction on the job -- whether you're an entrepreneur looking to expand or an employee considering venturing out on your own, or if you just want more passion and purpose in your current gig. Get comfy, grab a pen (or your laptop), and spend a few minutes responding to the following prompts.
What does satisfaction look like?
Take a moment and imagine your business or work in the future -- one year or five years from now. Picture the space itself. Is it grand -- or cozy? What do you see or hear? What's the energy like -- busy and exciting, or serene and orderly? Focus on a particular spot -- your desk, a reception area. What does it tell you about your professional life?
Who do you work with?
Look around. Do you work alone, or with other people? Are they colleagues or customers -- and what are they doing? Get a feel for the mood of the place. What would they say about working with you?
What do you value?
Connect with what brings you the most joy and fulfillment in this future workplace. What's fun about it? What are you or your company known for? What values are you honoring here that might be neglected in your current work?
What's the reward?
Imagine that your business is wildly successful financially. How do you enjoy and use your earnings? How have you expanded or evolved?
What else stands out?
Before you return to the present, take another look around this successful workplace of the future, noting any other details -- what's hanging on the walls, say, or any awards and honors you've received. The next step is to create a big-vision collage. Collect images that represent what you saw in your time travels, perhaps grouping them into general categories, such as company overview, values, and ideal customers and colleagues. Use a large poster, index cards, a journal, a map -- any medium you like. Whatever its form, it will remind you of what your happy, prosperous future enterprises feel like -- and inspire you to act on them in the present.