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Developing a career plan was natural for me, as I was fortunate to discover what I wanted to do at a very early age. Initially, I figured out the general steps to reach my goal, which included finding the appropriate college degrees to earn. However, after completing both undergraduate and graduate school, I recognized that there was so much more I needed to know, and wanted to know, before reaching my ultimate goal. I realized this journey would be a lot longer than I initially anticipated.
As with many emerging leaders, the biggest obstacle has been figuring out the best path to reach my goal. I’ve discovered that it helps to keep an evolving list of everything I want to learn. While searching for opportunities and positions, I compare it to that list to see if it aligns. It’s very important to be clear about how everything you do, whether volunteer or paid, relates to your career goal. Most recently, I have been interested in realizing my leadership style. I have obtained various positions that allow me to not only grow as a leader, but observe executive directors with very different leadership styles. Observing them as leaders has been instrumental in helping me figure out the type of executive director I aspire to become.
Having a career plan is absolutely critical, but it’s important to know that while your end goal may stay the same, the journey of how you get there and how long it will take, will most likely change. The career plan I created in high school is ever-evolving. Always remember to stay true to yourself and your purpose. Even if the journey doesn’t go exactly as planned, as long as you commit to your passion and goal, you are guaranteed to reach it.