What Do You Want To Do In 5 Years? Do it now!

by Andrea Laurie

‘Work hard, pay your dues and you’ll be successful.’ You’ve heard that right? I’m guessing you’ve also heard, ‘You just have to bide your time. If you put in the hours and have a good attitude, the right people will notice.’

Well, all those people who have offered you solicited or unsolicited career advice like this are wrong.  

If you’re putting your all into a career in the hope that one day you’ll ‘make it’ you are giving away your power to someone or something that isn’t putting you first.

We’re all told to have a 5-year plan, a goal for the future that will make us happy. Maybe that’s a particular job title or a certain lifestyle.  Behind most big goals is personal and financial freedom.

Are you relying on a person or a company to deliver your goal to you?

Are you working like a dog in the hope you will be recognized or putting your career in the hands of someone else?

Here’s what I want you to know about that 5-year plan: Don’t wait, don’t hope, just do it.  Do it now!

That’s easy for me to say but it’s imperative to do.  Once you decide to build a personal brand you can start working on your 5-year plan, and doing what you love, right this very second.  Here’s why the ‘work-hard and wait to get noticed’ method doesn’t deliver.

Katrina had a 5-year plan.  She wanted to be VP of marketing by the time he was 30, heading up her own division and team.  Katrina worked hard to impress her bosses, kept her head down, and made sure she was always the first in the office and the last to leave.  In return, her bosses gave her great feedback, gave her some of the trickier tasks, and, occasionally, a promotion.  She didn’t always get up in the morning with a spring in her step, but that was okay because she was moving towards her goal.  

Finally, there was an opening for the position she desired in the department she wanted to be a part of.  With all that great feedback and years of dedication and experience, she felt he was ready for the next big step.  Her bosses didn’t agree and gave the position to a colleague who had joined the company after her.  Katrina was told the other person brought more to the table but, hey,  they really valued her contributions.

In an instant, all those years of relentlessly pursuing her goal were for nothing.  If Katrina had thought of herself as a brand she could have invested all that time and effort into developing that, and who knows, she may have got the job or she may have gone in a completely different direction.  Either way, she would have been doing it for herself.

Whoever you are and whatever you are doing you need a personal brand. Once you have one, you can start to follow your heart and be recognized for your own skills and talents.

Katrina's identity and professional talents were ultimately not her own.  They belonged to the company she dedicated herself to.  Does that sound familiar? More than that, she was relying on a corporate structure to grow her position and salary. That’s a lot of power to give away.

If you’re ready to create a personal brand, decide what you want to be known for, then do one thing every single day towards financial freedom on your own terms.

It’s like compound interest where your little investments attract interest, and then the interest also attracts interest.  Soon, your small decisions at the beginning turn into huge returns.

That’s what Claire did.  Claire was an HR professional for a small firm.  She had a five-year goal but she also worked with a career coach and had begun to work on her personal brand.  When she was 24 years old she made a sideways move to a multi-billion dollar management consultancy firm.  The move may have seemed small, but it was deliberately designed to sell her brand to a bigger audience.

Claire worked in recruitment and suggested to her boss that they could be smarter about finding the best candidates.  She was allowed to test her idea and began giving talks to groups of people who had the skills they were looking for but hadn’t considered working for the company.  She loved the interaction and developed her public speaking skills.

Because of this, her boss asked her to help rewrite their entire policy and implement some of her ideas.  Claire enjoyed the increase in autonomy which was reflected in a new salary.

Around this time, environmental corporate responsibility was becoming a familiar term.  This was a private passion for Claire so she volunteered to organize some of the smaller changes in the company.  Another small step.  

Due to her success in policy design and her passion for the environment, Claire was asked to sit on a new corporate responsibility steering committee.  From there she moved to a newly created role, tasked with reducing the firm’s environmental impact, reporting directly to the board.  She felt empowered to be the first person to do a brand new role. The freedom was exhilarating.  This new role led to interviews with industry publications and meeting like-minded professionals.  Claire was selling her brand.

Of course, clients began seeking their advice on environmental responsibility, and Claire’s expertise was highly prized.  She saw the obvious opportunity and suggested to the board they create a new division and reminded them of her skills in policy writing, public speaking, and her extensive contact book of environmental professionals.

The board agreed and Claire set up her division, managing her own portfolio.  This hadn’t been on her five-year plan, in fact, she’d surpassed it in seniority and pay.  Her department, her way.  

Now a recognized expert in her field, Claire had been working her personal brand outside of the corporate structure and decided to use it to get to the next level.  She created her own consultancy and began working privately for big corporations with big money to spend.  

Commercial magazines, radio, and TV stations began asking her for comment and they were happy to pay for her time too.  Claire was living and breathing her personal brand and could choose where and when she worked and how much to charge for her time.  And it all started with a small sideways move.

Are you ready to take action now?  What will you do today?

Will you start small with a blog in your area of interest?  If so, you should focus on SEO so people can find you online.  Then you’ll start to network with people in the same field and begin to generate referrals and inquiries.  You’ll start taking fees for your work, then offer a premium service for a premium fee.  Clients will start to recommend you for speaking engagements which will lead to media work. The media work will lead to large contracts, the large contracts will lead to job offers and the job will lead to promotions.

Imagine living your life on your terms. You can!

If you feel stagnated or that you’re working hard just to make someone else look good, call us to start your journey to financial and personal freedom today.  There are only limited spaces for new clients so only get in touch if you’re committed to building your personal brand right now. Schedule personal branding strategy call today.

Keep Reading

Hi there!
I'm Andrea Laurie

Leading success coach for leaders and entrepreneurs looking to have a bigger impact and create financial freedom on their own terms.

Back to All blogs