Stop, look, listen, signal, manoeuvre…does it bring back a churn to your stomach as you remember your driving test? 

Remember ploughing through the High Way Code and practising your reverse parks and emergency stops?  It takes great time, nerve and effort to be a driver.  And I think it’s fair to say that a refresher lesson or two would serve some confident drivers well.

Throughout our lives, there are many things we focus on in order to achieve what we want. Education is an obvious example.  Learning to drive, choosing a holiday, what to wear for an important function, taking action on climate change…the list goes on.  These examples demand, of course, very different levels of importance and urgency.  Is it not astonishing that people forget to spend focused time on their career planning?  What you do at work is often the great enabler for so many of these other focus areas. 

Our careers have become, rightly or wrongly, one of the most consuming activities of our lives: what we do on most of our days from adulthood to retirement. Every day, we go to work…and we keep on going until we are allowed to stop.  I wonder how many people stop, look, listen, signal and manoeuvre?  There’s quite a lot resting on getting this manoeuvre correct: your general wellbeing, financial independence and (life-long) personal satisfaction – to name a few.  And that’s not even mentioning the future of our planet and how all our career choices make a difference. I wonder how many people realise that they can’t drive?  I wonder how many people decide to find a driving instructor to help them learn?  I wonder how many people just pull out without looking…? It’s tough figuring out your career plan and that applies to you whether you are 18 or 88, junior or senior.  It’s lonely, it’s hard work and it’s unforgiving.  Rather like, in fact, your commute to work.

So next time you are thinking about a new outfit, a weekend break, a new gadget…consider switching that investment from the retail world to you. Just to you.  What will fit you like a glove?  What will make your heart sing? There are so many choices and the world offers you plentiful opportunities to play out your unique combination of values and interests. For those people looking to build a career which drives a viable future and society, then you have so many choices. You can set up something new – or add a social arm, you can join an organisation that authentically walks the talk, you can help your existing business or clients to act more responsibly, you can support organisations that make direct impact on societies and the environment.

The key question is – what is the difference you personally want to make? What resonates with you?  Reflect and make your choice, because the world no longer waits, it motors on and on.

Stop: take a breather and enjoy a safe space just for you and your career reflections. 

Look: consider what you have achieved and what unique value you offer.

Listen: scan the markets, what are the great-fit opportunities, who is doing something extraordinary?

Signal: transform your CV and online profile so that you are visible with skin-tingling appeal. 

Manoeuvre: approach the market with savvy and get in front of new employers who will invest in your extraordinary value. 

You’ll be the driver among drivers.  Jump into the driving seat, get into eco-gear and set a clear destination – a most extraordinary journey awaits you.