When pursuing your career ambitions, you must recognize that there are both positives and negatives to being single-minded, especially in a profession that is evolving as much as project management.
Determination and flexibility
if you are going to have ambitions, regardless of how high you are aiming, you need to show determination in order to achieve your goals. The world doesn’t owe you anything; if you want to succeed, you have to take ownership of that success. Being consistent, never giving up and recognizing that the journey will not always be smooth will go a long way to helping you succeed. But there are no guarantees, circumstances simply change and make dreams unattainable.
You need to be able to balance single-mindedness and determination with the ability to be flexible and adaptable when it comes to your career—both in terms of what you are aiming to achieve, and how you are trying to get there. While it might seem like a good idea to “keep your options open,” you only have so much time and energy to devote to your career, and those options can detract from your ability to focus on your primary goal. This is where making informed decisions come in.
Making informed decisions.
There is no definitive right or wrong choice you can make, and you can never be 100% certain whether you have made the right decision at each point in your career progression. All you can do is give yourself as much information as possible. That works on several different levels:
- The more informed you are, the more likely you are to make the right decisions.
- The more informed you are, the earlier you are likely to be able to identify any warning signs that circumstances are changing and that you may need to adapt.
- The more informed you are, the greater the number of alternative options you will have been able to identify—and the more able you will be to deal with any unexpected changes
But what does it really mean to make informed decisions? How exactly can you do that? It comes down to a combination of understanding what’s possible and understanding what you want. Let’s look at each of those elements individually.
Understanding what’s possible is the foundation material for making the right decisions because it defines the scope of what you can achieve. I really do believe that we can achieve anything we set our minds to, but sometimes that requires changing our current circumstances to create the opportunity.
understanding what you want. many people have been singularly focused on achieving something in their career and then when they get there, they find out that it really wasn’t what they wanted at all. Before you commit to putting all your time and energy into something, make sure you fully understand what’s involved and honestly assess whether it is what you want to achieve.
The nature of a career is that you can never know what might have happened if you made different choices. All we can do is own our careers, balance a commitment to achieving our goals with a recognition that success will ultimately require us to be flexible—and make the best decisions we can with the information available to us. If we do that, then there is no reason to view our careers as anything but a tremendous success.