“I live my life a quarter mile at a time.” – Dom, Fast and the Furious
As I sit back at an empty desk in Rocket’s office, gazing out the window, it finally hit me: I’ve settled nicely into my new home. I have my own group of friends, we finally finished decorating our home, and I even feel comfortable in the direction my creative projects. As I contemplated over the past year and a half, I smiled remembering the first work trip I accompanied Rocket on in Nürburg, Germany for the DTM race weekend.
As I reflect back on the trip, meeting some of Rocket’s colleagues for the first time, learning about his business and watching supercharged cars race in an attempt to claim first place on a winding track, it reminded me of how I seemingly veered “off track,” since moving to Dubai.
Until recently, I was always on track:
✔ Do well in high school to get to college
✔ Do well in college to get a job
✔ Do well at the job to get a promotion.
While “on track,” I had an idea of what the possible outcome was (next promotion level, salary increase, etc) and what I needed to do to get there. During my time at ESPN, I knew what work needed to be done, who the decision makers were, and the weaknesses that needed improving.
I never really thought about what it meant to not be on that type of track, but after getting married and moving to Dubai that’s where I find myself. I am sure many of you have had a similar experience, as you work on a start-up, write a book, or pursue a passion. It is at times liberating, but can also be very daunting.
Being “off track” has forced me to develop the discipline to outline my goals and figure out what steps I need to take with the realization that wrong turns aren’t always bad and the path I take might lead me to another destination.
My plans keep evolving as I learn new things about my writing, storytelling and production skills. The biggest challenge is simplifying my big goals into simple daily tasks.
How am I overcoming these challenges? Below are 5 tips that help me evaluate my progress while on my “off track” adventure:
- Work backwards – Rocket and I like writing out our long and short term goals. Each goal should be specific, measurable and time-bound.
- Create a daily task sheet – This past year I learned how important it is to have written daily goals. It is something I can refer to when I get distracted. See my blog post about productivity for a tool that I love using.
- Work on your elevator pitch – Every conversation that you have is a chance to build your brand. Inevitably you will be asked “what do you do?” It’s important to have a quick answer to describe yourself. You never know where your next opportunity might come from!
- Continue your education – No this doesn’t mean that you have to go back to school (although sometimes this is a good option)! It means that you need to stay current in your industry by reading books, setting up informational meetings, and attending seminars.
- Have an accountability partner – When you are working “on track,” you are accountable to your boss and other co-workers. While “off track” you are accountable to yourself which can lead to procrastination. It’s important to have somebody you trust that can hold you accountable to your goals.
Do you have any tips for starting or progressing a career “off track?” If you do, I’d love to hear them!