What do you know about the future today that you didn’t a year ago? For many people, the upheaval and distress created by the pandemic are beginning to give way to new clarity. While it’s not a gift anyone would have asked for, this clarity can help us to navigate an ideal next step in our career. Has the pandemic altered the way you think about the future? Let’s cover some key areas to focus on when examining this question.

Your Professional Trajectory

Is the trajectory you see for yourself today the direction you thought was lined up in November of 2019? Here are some ways to observe how a shifted view of your next steps can translate into effective action:

2019 Mindset: “Once I get that promotion, it will be smooth sailing.”

2021 Mindset: “If I focus on building more interdisciplinary skills, I can be more resilient in my career.”

2019 Mindset: “Building a good network within my department will allow me to pivot toward that director role when my boss retires next year.”

2021 Mindset: “Being active on LinkedIn by sharing some insights is a great way to build up an authoritative voice that allows me to gain followers/network all over the country.”

Your Industry

Many people found the landscape of their industry changed forever during 2020. Even industry “veterans” who had come up the ladder suddenly felt like the rules had changed right beneath their feet. What do you know about the future of your industry today that you would never have guessed in 2019? Some revealing questions:

Is the industry you’re in as economy-proof as you thought it was?

  • Is your industry still engaging for you when the workload is stripped down to the basics without some of the responsibilities that you may have valued?
  • Does your industry have the capacity to compensate high-level, longtime experts in a way that is deserved?
    Can your industry realistically grow along with all of the changes that are happening?

Questioning the viability of your industry can be one of the hardest things for someone who assumed that they would just stay in the same industry “forever” because they’ve “come up” with it over the decades. It can be painful to realize that a field we’ve poured so much time into conquering could wane. However, it’s important, to be honest about the reality of the state of your industry before devoting additional time and resources to it.

Your Purpose

What does your sense of purpose look like now versus what gave you meaning in 2019? How do you see yourself feeling fulfilled in the future? Here’s a look at some mindset comparisons to let you evaluate what you value now compared to what you valued two years ago.

2019 Mindset: “If I stay late at the office, I will show my boss that I am committed to this role.”

2021 Mindset: “If I can come up with a plan to shift my “work marathons” into times of the day when I’m more productive, I can achieve a better work-life balance.”

2019 Mindset: “I just have to make it to retirement.”

2021 Mindset: “I don’t want to waste another minute of my life doing things that don’t fulfill me.”

2019 Mindset: “I will complete training this year to make myself more competitive both within the company and my field.”

2021 Mindset: “I will take courses to build up skill sets that interest me to explore different talents and passions I’ve never explored because I only focused on what would get me that immediate promotion or pay raise.”

Add your own 2019-versus-2020 questions to deeply explore how your future has changed because of COVID-19. If you conclude that it is time to create a new career path, then start to take active steps now. Many of my clients regret that they waited so long before creating a meaningful new assignment.

Peter Sherer is a nationally recognized career coach who offers clarity and confidence to mid-career and senior executives in transition. In just two short days, his rigorous assessment tools enable his clients to identify a meaningful assignment that uses all of their skills and experience. Learn more and get in touch with Peter today.