In an internal workshop that I attended recently, the trainers got us to read A Simple Way to Map Out Your Career Ambition, a short article published in HBR. Say, you want to move from point A to point B, your Google Maps app would ask for your current location and desired location. The more precisely you enter each destination, the more likely you will find the most effective route and get there faster.
The idea for your career journey or growth process should follow the same path. I thought the idea was pretty cool. It doesn't even have to be an actual role you want to move into, but rather the state to attain.
These are the examples directly from the article:
From a business strategist who can appear aloof and dismissive of those with less intellectual horsepower, to a general manager who aligns and inspires her region through personal connections and demonstrates genuine care for people.
From an individual contributor who adds value through technical expertise and closely follows others'directions, to a people leader who creates a clear strategy and delivers results through a small team.
You can also think about from an individual contributor to upper management. Then think about what are skills and network required to get you there faster.
What if you are not so keen to move up the corporate ladder? "Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder", as Sheryl Sandberg puts it in her book, Lean In. People swing from vine to vine to explore new territories all the time. In that case, you can focus on a new state or skill to attain. From current you to 2.0 version of you.
I think you need to dig deep within you to really figure out the destination. If you don't know what the next destination looks like, ask yourself these
What excites you?
How does your ideal work day looks like in ANY job that you can choose?
What are your strengths and why?
Career comes in all shape and sizes. Sometimes you can forge your own path forward.
If you are still unsure, don't beat yourself up. Maybe you don't even have to think very far ahead. Just chart a destination that lets you take one single step forward and see where it leads to.