Right Next Thing: Picture Your Right Next Thing

When making a transition to what you really want, it’s helpful to have a clear, detailed picture of what that Right Next Thing will look like.

One way to dig into the details is to imagine an ideal day and notice everything you can about this day. Try to visualize this day and notice all aspects of it. Feel it with all your senses. If you are reflecting on your Right Next Career, the questions might look like this:

  • Do you work from home or are you in a busy office? Are you outside?
  • What time in the day do you start and end work?
  • What kinds of people do you work with? How do you feel around them?
  • What do the projects, tasks and assignments look like?
  • How does your workplace sound?
  • What colors and textures do you notice?
  • What does it smell like? (This may seem bizarre, but consider that your sense of smell is the most evocative of all senses, the most closely linked to emotion).
  • How do you feel as you arrive to start the day? As you leave at the end of the day?

This is a great start to clarifying exactly what you want in your Right Next Thing. Consolidate your findings into a list of what you really want. Some examples of career “must haves” that have emerged in conversations with clients over the years:

  • Work from home at least two days a week
  • No office at all; work from anywhere on the planet
  • An established routine that supports outside commitments
  • A variety of assignments, clients, tasks or projects
  • Colleagues who are creative, high energy and career-focused
  • A relaxed, casual, working environment
  • Free rein to get the work done, with a manager who stays “hands off” until you require guidance
  • Interaction with specific kinds of people, for example leaders, influencers, entrepreneurs, creative types, scientists
  • Projects that are short term and constantly evolving
  • Working with an established team on a long-term complex project with lots of moving parts
  • Generating new ideas and then leading the early days of implementation
  • Maintaining and fine-tuning a successful initiative once launched
  • Working primarily alone in a self-directed role
  • Operations focus
  • Strategic focus

Clarifying what you really want is the key to attracting it. It’s important to focus on what you *want* not on what you don’t want. Be relentless on this. If you want to avoid gossip and negative environments, focus on a workplace and colleagues that are positive and empowering – a GFZ*. If you want to avoid being micro-managed, focus on a leader who trusts you to deliver and remains hands off on how you do so. If you want plenty of time for the rest of your priorities, focus on an employer that values work-life equilibrium. You get the idea.

The bottom line here? Picture this: doing exactly what you really want. This wonderful clip from philosopher Alan Watts crystallizes some of these ideas… What would you do if money were no object?.