There is a specific moment in the surf called the "wash". Imagine instead of the clothes, if you were in the washing machine filled with water and going in circles. This is how you spend the majority of your time when you learn to surf. The wave has so much power that when it throws you into the water, you spin like a washing machine not knowing where the surface is and where the bottom is. You tell me: "what does this have to do with a career plan?" Before I answer, let's first look at what a Career Plan is because I'm sure you pretty much know the surf.
What is the Career Plan?
We have point A (present) and point C (future). The career plan is for you to define these two points and plan one or multiple paths with specific steps and a timetable to get from A to C. Of course it's not that simple, but you get the point.
How are they connected?
Some time ago I decided to go to Portugal to learn surfing, now don't ask me how I came up with it, there are moments in life when you just say..."Why not?" and you jump at the chance. The first time the wave knocked me down I was struggling to get to the surface, trying to figure out which direction to swim in to catch my breath. All I could see was white foam and the board spinning with me. I was trying with all my might but the "damn" wave kept turning me around like a washing machine.
At that moment, a realization crossed my mind... "F*ck that's pretty much life". I started to think that in the last 7 years, trying to realize my career plan, the feelings I have experienced are the same as those of surfing. Let me explain.
The 3 common elements that have the Surf with the Career Plan:
1. Success and resignation do not go together
If you're in the sea for 60 minutes surfing, 55 minutes will be spent fighting the waves and 5 minutes on the board (when you're a beginner). To catch a good wave you will have to swim or walk at least 50 - 100 meters into the sea. So I start walking and swimming. The currents were so strong that while I was taking 5 steps forward, with every wave that came I was taking 3 steps back. After a while I start getting angry and yelling at the waves. ΑI was probably so exhausted that I just wanted to give up. I was starving and finally managed to surf my first wave. Being on the board, ripping the wave, a big smile formed on my face because I thought "This feeling, fighting the waves and finally succeeding, Worth every drop (or rather litre) of water I swallowed, any pain caused".
Trying to achieve the goals you have set in a career plan is a similar experience. The waves represent all the difficulties and obstacles that will come your way, the people who won't believe in you. A lot of times, when you start implementing your plan, in the first 3-5 months you give up because it's too hard. Because things don't go as you planned. Because it's one failure after another. You think "isn't it worth all this pain and effort after all?" Right at that moment of doubt you have to think about those 5 minutes on the board. Think about that. everything you put in your plan may not be pleasant, but they are necessary to achieve your goal.
"Never give up because Success and Quitting don't go together."
2. Timing is everything
One of the most difficult and most important things in surfing is timing. As long as you haven't given up and have managed to get to the right spot, the question is "when do you get up on the board"? If you get up earlier than you should, the wave will pass under you and you will be left behind. If you get up a second later, you risk the wave hitting you and you risk falling face first into the water from a height of 2-3 meters. Even a fraction of a second makes a difference. While lying on the board and waiting for the wave, you need to observe the sea, try to "read" it to understand when the wave is coming. You must not hurry because you will get tired too fast as not all waves are suitable for surfing. However, you must neither delay nor delay because you'll miss your chance to catch the perfect wave.
Timing in the career plan is equally important.
Many times I will see people start their plan and in the first 3 months they cram it with foreign languages, internships, work, school, volunteering, online courses etc. All at the same time. But then you'll get overworked, you'll want to give up and think "I probably can't do it after all". Of course you can't do all the things you want to do in just 3 months. That's why the ideal career plan has a timeframe of 2 years. So, you're going to separate all the things you want to do in this time and it's going to seem much more doable. When you're on 4ο month of the plan and you're like "wow, when am I going to learn this German?" open your plan and remember that you have it set 3 months from now. Haste brings stress and stress is a hindrance.
Just as you watch the sea for the right wave, you watch the external environment for the right opportunity at the right time.
"Achieving the career plan is a marathon not a sprint. Learn to play the long-term game.”
3. Fatalism is your worst enemy
We woke up one day at surf camp and it was pouring with wind. Sad and complaining I go to the Surf Instructor and say "Too bad we won't be able to surf today, the weather is not in our favour". He looks at me and replies "What do you mean? If you were to wait for favorable weather you'd never know surf."Indeed, he was right. The conditions were so adverse that I had to make triple the effort of any other day to catch a wave. But that's how I learned how to adapt to those conditions. What I need to change to succeed in this weather. One thing is for sure, I became a washer more than ever before. But that made me stronger because the next day I was much more confident.
If you wait for favourable conditions to pursue your goals, you will never achieve them.
You will always find someone, something, somewhere to blame. You start off by moaning "how am I going to get a job in this crisis", "other people had money and studied at the best universities", "they are asking me for work experience when I've just come out of university". I'm not saying you don't have real barriers, but it's easy to blame others when we face difficulties or failures. The worst thing you can do is to stand still and lament your fate for not being given more favourable circumstances.
She was born into poverty, got pregnant at 14, lost her child, was fired from her job and told she wasn't fit for television."-Oprah Winfrey, award-winning talk show host.
Similar stories have Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, J.K.Rowling, The Beatles, Abraham Lincon. They faced adverse conditions and did not limit themselves to them. If you're thinking "That's all well and good but my career plan is very difficult to execute" then my final message to you is this:
"Of course it will be difficult. If it were easy everyone would do it"