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You exponentially increase your chance of success by building the structure and support you need around you. To achieve a sense of fulfillment, impact, and success in your career, you must be willing to commit to what intention requires, including setting up support, habits, accountability, structure, and physical, mental, emotional, and physical space.

 This includes:

  • Planning for all parts of your journey, including intellectual stimulation, emotional, spiritual, and physical
  • Letting people who care about you know about the changes you are making so they can support you
  • Establishing foolproof ways to make yourself accountable to keep your efforts on track.

Ask yourself:

  • What am I willing to give this process on a weekly/regular basis?
  • What am I willing to start doing to have the best chance of success?
  • What am I willing to stop doing?
  • What support do I need?
  • What am I willing to invest in myself?

With these parameters outlined, you can start designing the scaffolding you need. You may find that you can craft these elements yourself; however, if you do best being pulled through activities, consider hiring a coach or enrolling in a group cohort to provide that type of structure. Like when you pay a personal trainer to help you exercise, having an accountability buddy or support team can make it easier to keep the commitment to yourself to put in the time and attention necessary.

Making this room helped me usher in the professional change I craved. With the decision made to change my career and a six-month runway before proactively leaving my job and a steady paycheck, I hired a career counselor to help me identify and evaluate options for my next line of work. As I sat with the very real possibility that I might never have children, everything was on the table: what kind of life—and by extension—what kind of career would I like to have? My weekly meetings with my career counselor, Sepha, felt like sacred time. I prioritized it over everything else.

Sepha guided me to clarify my values, identify the types of job duties I enjoyed, and try on different career directions. Through this process, I identified two possible paths for my next career, and with research and experimentation, ultimately boiled it down to one. Her thoughtful process connected me to my internal guide and inspired me to push through obstacles in my path.

The speed at which you can move and the amount of ground you can cover is directly proportional to the amount of time, energy, and focused attention you give it, as well as the foundation you set. If your current schedule limits you to an hour or two per week, your transformation may occur at a slower pace. If you are extremely motivated to change your situation as soon as possible, the weekly allotment of time may require five to ten hours or more. The good news is that any amount of time you can carve out on a regular basis is valuable. The time and quality of your attention determine the timeline of reaching your horizon.

An incremental approach can be powerful, with a few hours per week devoted to working on what is important to you. Like exercising regularly or eating whole, unprocessed foods. The time and effort you devote to cultivating more of what you want for your professional life is a career-long practice providing long-term benefits. Just as a savings account grows your wealth through regular deposits made over time, your ongoing investment in growing your career will pay dividends throughout your life.

This is an excerpt from Merideth’s upcoming book: Your Finest Work: Career Fulfillment in A Complicated World

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