Graduate Theory

On Creating a Lifestyle Career Plan

August 09, 2022 James Fricker Episode 42
Graduate Theory
On Creating a Lifestyle Career Plan
Show Notes Transcript

 Today's episode has no guest, rather it is a chat with me about the importance of creating a life and career plan for yourself. 

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00:00 Lifestyle Career Plan

00:59 Career Planning

01:55 Why Career Plan?

06:05 Career Planning Examples

11:58 Critiques

13:26 Creating the Plan

15:28 Conclusion

16:43 Outro

James Fricker:

Here's a question for you. If I gave you a bunch of jigsaw jigsaw pieces and asked you to complete the puzzle, what's the first thing that you would do? The chances are, what you'll do is you'll grab the box and look at the image that you're trying to create the image that you're gonna connect the Jukes hole pieces, and you wanna connect them in such a way that it looks like what is on the box. Now here's a. The jigsaw is much like your life The jigsaw is much like your life, right? Except most of us get given these jigsaw pieces, but we don't know what the picture looks like. We haven't developed a clear plan. So today's episode of graduate theory. We're gonna talk about career planning, why it's so important, um, some different approaches that you can make to it. And I'm hoping that this will change your life and your career for the best. So, what I wanna do first is I want to look into the common traits that I see in people that have come on the podcast previously, and the common traits are that lots of these people that I've had on the podcast, high achievers, they have high degree of initiative, a high degree of drive, um, passion for what they want to do. Um, but with that comes a clear. Aim, right. They, they, they have this level of initiative and drive, but they are aiming at a clear target. They have a clear vision, they have a certain amount of clarity around what exactly it is that they want to do. And this allows them to take initiative in ways that are effective. Right. And so reflecting on this, I was like, wow. Um, I was thinking, at least for myself, I don't think I. A really detailed plan of, of my life and the things that I'm doing and, and how that kind of all aligns. And so this led me to discover this idea of career, life planning, et cetera. So, what is like, why do you actually need a plan? Why, why is this helpful? Well, the first reason why you need a plan is cuz it's gonna make decision making a lot easier. So imagine in the following, you've finished university, you've been working for a couple of years and you are presented with the opportunity to go and do a masters, um, at, at the university. Uh, and, and, and kind of you're in this two minds about whether you should pursue the master's degree or continue working in your, in, in your career and continue sort of doing your job now, which one should you choose? Now? This is, uh, a tough one, right? Perhaps both are good. You know, how are we going to decide though? And the key here, the key is understanding where we want to go in the future, what our lifestyle, what we want our lifestyle to look like. And then we can choose which of these options will get us closer to our desired life. without this desired lifestyle in place, what will happen in these situations? And it can, this is just one example. It could be, you know, do you become a consultant? Do you not? Do you, um, you know, go to join a startup or do you stay in corporate there's any, any number of these types of questions can, can much more easily be answered if you have a desired end state in. Okay. If you know, like what you want your lifestyle to look like, and that excites you, then it's much easier to choose between these options. If you have a clear vision, the second, um, reason why this, this is a good approach is to do with the comparison of others. Okay. One of the things as young people, I think that we face a lot and certainly myself I face all the time is trying not to compare myself to other people. So trying not to compare myself to other people who are about my age that have done cooler stuff than me. and certainly there's plenty of those. And, and there will always be people that have done more than you have, but one of the ways that you can minimize this or clear the clutter when it comes to comparing yourself to others, Is being clear on what your vision for your own life is, and then it, it doesn't actually matter what other people do then if I'm pursuing the things that I wanna do for the, for reasons that I've selected, then it, it matters to me much less what other people are doing and what other achievements people have. If someone else is achieving more than them and more than me, then that's fine because I'm pursuing things that I wanna. And, and, and, and that's, that's all, that's kind of the end. There's no real need to, to compare yourself fathers. And so I think having a career plan in place will certainly help with this comparison trap. And the third reason is this idea of getting lost and it, um, and, and this comes from a guy called Clayton Christensen, he's business leader thought leader. Um, you know, he's released a bunch of books and his, um, thought on, on this, he, he, one of his books is called, how will you measure your life? And you know, how will you actually decide what it is, um, that you want to do? And it's it, it's tangentially related to this topic we're discussing today. But one of the things was, he was in his business class at Harvard and kind of, they everyone's graduated and gone off to do amazing things. And then 10 years later, um, he, he's kind of looking around and seeing where people. and many people have kind of gone down a corporate route, but then they've gone sort of too far, and they've almost lost their weight to the point where they've become. So, um, they've gone, they've sort of gone so deep in, in, into their careers that they've then, um, perhaps they've become divorced or like their family that like, they don't really have a good family environment and it's come at the cost of a lot of other things. And so what he's saying is that pursuing these things isn't necessarily bad. What can happen is that you can pursue things and kind of lose track of where you are in the grand scheme of things, perhaps having a, a good family and a good family life was something that you really wanted, but you got so lost in, in your career that you kind of lost track of like how that was all going. And so a key, um, one, one way to fix this problem, or at least help, um, reduce the risk of this problem occurring is by having a clear plan. For what you want your lifestyle to look like and really strongly not deviating from the plan. Like once you have the plan, not deviating from it. Right. So we can start to prevent some of these situations where perhaps you end up somewhere that you didn't expect or want to be. So one of the things I noticed was that when we go back in and look at the schooling system and how we're kind of taught about, uh, what we wanna do when we're older, it's often like, you know, oh, do you wanna be an engineer, a lawyer? Um, you know, a teacher, whatever it is, like there's a bunch of kind of career paths that are laid out for you. And the idea is that you sort of choose one of these, uh, because it's the one that seems the best at the time, you know, or I guess I enjoy math, so I'll be an engineer or I guess I enjoy, uh, you know, reading or reading and writing. So perhaps I'll do law. whatever it is that that's kind of the extent of it. There's no real planning outside of that. And, and one of the key switches that we can make is why don't we think about the end state first and then answer these questions so we can ask first, what does my life, what do I want my life to look like? And then which career path are best suit me in getting to that career path. And this is a fundamental shift. And, and something that I think is quite beneficial. And I found three different places where this kind of takes place and where this gets mentioned, uh, three notable ones, at least. And it certainly gets mentioned in many more areas than just E three, but these are three areas that. That I've come across recently that I, that I thought was really interesting. The first one of these was in the seven habits of highly effective people. So the seven habits of highly effective people is a fantastic book. And I highly recommend that you read it, but habit number two in this book is called begin with the end in mind and this habit. Really the, the cornerstone of it is when starting a new project or a new thing begin with the ended mind, understand what it is that you want to do or what the goal looks like. And then reverse engineer that and work out what you need to do when, and this can be applied to like small scale things or in this case, large scale things like your entire life or like your entire career. So, um, and some really good thoughts. I I've just read this and some really good thoughts in there. All things are created twice. Right? All things are created twice. Once in the mind. Once in the mind and once in reality, okay. Things aren't created in reality, but until they've been thought, so for example, what's like Facebook, um, you know, was once a thought and now becomes reality, right? So this desk that I'm now using you know, was once a, a thought someone decided that they're gonna make it. And now they've made it, this laptop, this Mac that I'm using, someone decided that they were gonna make an M one. And then now it has come into existence. Okay. So to take this to the career planning step, right? Your career, uh, plan, the life that you want, the career that you want cannot be realized unless you first understand, uh, and, and think about what exactly it is that you want. Okay. Uh, and so, so I think, uh, this is a crucial step and, and I think that was a great analogy and a great way to put it. Uh, the second place that I found this was in Jordan Peterson's self authoring program. So if you're not familiar with Jordan Peterson, he is, uh, really famous psychologist. He's, uh, uh, often in the media for. Uh, political, uh, controversial political things, but that is besides the point today, psychology is, is where he's really good and certainly has a lot of good content around this. And one of his stellar programs is called the self authoring program. And in this program, you create what is your personal heaven? And your personal help. So you create an ideal state, what you really want your life to look like, begin with the end in mind, and you also create a personal help. Okay. So these are things that. Uh, you know, you really don't want your life to look like and what would be a horrible experience for yourself. Okay. And these are unique to you and not necessarily universal. Right? So, and what creating both of these things does is imagine we have like two poles and then we're kind of, you are, you are sort of in the middle here and we sort of wanna get you closer to the, the, the heaven and away from the hell. And so you can kind of see now there's sort of two opposing forces pulling you. The, the heaven state, uh, and, and pushing you away from the health state. And so this is, this is an interesting approach. And it kind of combines the begin with begin with the end in mind, um, with perhaps begin with the reverse end in mind, begin with a, with a bad, um, state in mind. Right? Um, another similar thought on this is, is Charlie Munger. Um, who's Warren Charlie, Munger's Warren Buffet's, um, second in command guy and, and he often says, you know, think about the way you wouldn't do something and then do the opposite. To do then do the thing that you do want to do. Um, cuz it's often easier to think about things you don't want rather than things that you do want. So. That's the second place. I think that's really cool. And another way of approaching things, the third place that I've seen, this is in Cal Newport. Cal Newport is someone that I really admire and respect. He is a, um, you know, an author, he's a professor. He does all a bunch of things, but what he calls this, uh, approach and this idea of, um, career planning is called. He calls lifestyle centric. Career planning. Okay. So you wanna begin with a life, certain lifestyle in mind, uh, of what you want your life to look like. And then from there you then plan your career. Um, and, and this makes things a lot easier for a number of reasons. So these are three ways and, and three different approaches that I've seen. I think it's common amongst many of the guests that I've had on the podcast. It's these three sources are, are all incredibly well respected sources, and they all say this. And, and there is many, many more that I, that I haven't got the time to go through that that also say the same thing, many successful people all have this in common. They all know exactly what they want, and they all have lots of clarity around what exactly it is that they want to do. Now there are some critiques of, you know, CR creating the plan. I, I think overall it's quite a good approach, but one of the, one of. Ways you could perhaps look at this is, uh, left to right versus right to left planning. And so right to left planning would be on the right hand side, we've got kind of the end state and on the left, we've got the current state. And so right to left would be start with the end and then work work sort of reverse engineer back to where you are now and then left to right planning would be start where you are now and then work towards the bright I think it is kind of a bit more of a bit more serendipity perhaps in the career. Like they haven't necessarily planned out the next career move. Exactly. Um, exactly. In a lot of detail, but I think still these people and you'll notice in both right to left and left to right there is still the right. The right hand side, which is the plan. And so I think the plan is important regardless of if you're gonna take a more serendipitous approach to your career or whether you're gonna sort of reverse engineer things quite, quite tightly, perhaps, you know, I think it's hard to reverse engineer things in a lot of detail, far in advance. So. There's there's one problem with it, but I think you must always, I think, I think at least for myself, I'm seeing that having a plan in place is going to be, um, incredibly useful and at least having a desired lifestyle state that you wanna get to is, um, is going to, it's going to be extremely effective. So how do you actually do this? How do you actually go and create. Lifestyle plan. How do you actually do it? Well, there's two different ways that I've come across and that I'll be doing the first comes from this book and, and that is to create a mission statement. And so we've mission statement in, in the sense that we want to try and create something that is for you, like your own constitution. Right? So we've all heard of like the American constitution, you know, very, um, strictly followed. And so what we wanna kind of do is do something like that for yourself. Like how would we best represent you? What would a mission statement of you look like or even think about things like perhaps the organization where you work has a certain mission statement, slogan, et cetera, like their mission, you know, what is the mission of you? You know, what is your mission? What are you setting out to achieve? What values do you have? Um, you know, everything like this, you know, what do you want people to say about you? I think these are great questions to. And it's important too, to be creative for this. It doesn't necessarily have to be written. You can make a song, you can make a view board, whatever. The, the point is that we are creating, we have some ideal state in our mind, and then we are gonna try and sort of stick to that. The second way of doing this is a way that I've, I've saw on, um, LinkedIn I've seen from a number of approaches, but recently it was Adam Gahar and LinkedIn as a previous podcast guest. And he recommended answering a bunch of questions. So, and, and writing out your answers in detail. Answering questions in four categories do B have give. Okay. So what things do you do? What things do you have? Who are you B like, like, you know, the B part, you know, what are, who are you, what do people know for et cetera? And then give, you know, what do you give back to the community, perhaps it's financial, you know, how are you kind of involved in that way? What kind of things do you. and so that is super cool. And so what you can do is get clear on some of these questions, and if you wanna find a full list of these questions, I have them in the newsletter as a part of this episode. So you can go there and find, uh, a list of good questions and techniques to get started. But I think having this, having this idea is, is something that is super, super cool. Um, and something that I'll be getting started on. Right. I. Things like this take a lot of time. And I think it's UN you know, you can't just sit down and in 10 minutes and write this. Okay. You can't just, uh, at least like when I've been doing it, I've found it hard. I've found it. Um, you know, I've been, I've been trying to write it, but it, it does get difficult. Um, certainly, but yeah, I hope this helps cuz this, some of this stuff is what I'm going through right now. And this is things that I am actively. Looking at like, uh, yesterday I was actually doing a lot of this stuff. So at the time I'm recording yesterday, I was doing it at least. So, yeah, I think it's, it's super interesting and super fundamental. I think, at least for myself, I hadn't, I'd flirted with this kind of ideas before in the sense that I've, I'd sort of seen. Oh yeah. That's probably a good idea to do something like that, that hadn't actually done it. And I think from what I've seen this activity, Likely one of the best activities that you can do to, uh, get real clarity around what exactly you want your life to look like and, and really help you make decisions from a career sense and, and sort of set you on a path that you're both excited about. And interested in pursuing. Hopefully this episode helped everyone. If you really enjoyed this episode, please go to the newsletter. The link is in the description of this episode, and you can read a bit more about it and find some of those leading questions. Thanks so much for listening to today's episode. And if you did enjoy, please consider subscribing wherever you are. And uh, without further ado, we'll see you in next week's episode. Thanks.