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Bodacious Career Builder #10:
Think Strategically, Act Bodaciously
by Mary Foley

"Bodacious" means to be bold, outstanding, and remarkable. Take those attributes to work and you're on your way to building a fulfilling, bodacious career.

Does having a bodacious career sound exciting to you? It is! After starting as an $8 an hour customer service rep, I rose through the ranks of AOL, accepting four promotions and surviving over six layoffs to become the head of corporate training for 12,000 employees.

Along the way I learned I needed to be bodacious to achieve the career I wanted. Out of that experience I created my "cheat sheet" of ten essential Bodacious Career Builders.

Here's number ten: Think Strategically, Act Bodaciously.

Thinking strategically is intentionally thinking about the big picture of your career and life. You have to determine where you want to go before you can get there. Otherwise, it's all just happen stance.

It's all too easy to spend 100% of our time on the daily to-do list. There's always something that's demanding our attention. Between our jobs, kids, spouses, parents, finances, community involvement, and anything else in our lives, there's always something that must be addressed...now!

Clearly, if we don't make deliberate time to think strategically, time will zoom by and we'll have done a ton but achieved little.

Take time to strategically create a future that's satisfying and rewarding. You can do this by following the example of a common business process that all companies use to map out their path - the business plan. But this version will be your personal step-by-step strategic action plan that will take you from dreams to reality.

Creating a personal business plan may sound odd and over-the-top, but it's useful, and practical, and it gives you a strategic platform on which to build your dream.

As with business, the main purpose here is to take steps to make you more effective and efficient with your time and resources. By laying out all the details, you reduce the risk of failure and increase your chances for success.

There are three main parts to your personal business plan:

Step 1: Capture the current state of your situation

Like the maps throughout your favorite mall indicating "You Are Here," Step 1 helps you understand your current situation as thoroughly as possible. Take stock in your overall position. Does the job still hold meaning for you? Is the reason why you once said "yes" to the job offer still compelling enough to keep you going to work?

Step 2: Identify what you want your desired future to look like

Put your current reality aside and dream of the future. What do you want from your career? How will your future career look and feel to you? What will be your role? What will it be like going to work every morning?

This is when it's valuable to invest the time and concentration to examine exactly what's inside your soul bursting to assert itself. Key points are to be honest with yourself, and to look within.

Step 3: Determine what you have to do to get there

Now that you have been able to paint a picture of your ideal future, it's time to plot a plan for getting there and bodaciously implement it. Step 3 is the difference between getting stuck in emotionalizing your dreams, feeling frustrated that they haven't already happened, and thinking negatively versus staying calm, confident, focused, and productive.

You need to build a plan consistent with your vision while being flexible and resilient in the face of ever-changing times and shifting circumstances.

Dreams don't come true overnight and they usually don't manifest without some bumps and twists and turns. Such events will challenge your resolve to make sure you really want to achieve your goal.

That's why you need to decide up front that you're going to love every minute of it! Remember, you're bodacious!

BODACIOUS CAREER BUILDER #10: Consider the bigger picture of what you want from your career. Create your personal business plan to get there and bodaciously implement it.

Mary Foley, author of "Bodacious! Career: Outrageous Success for Working Women" inspires women to be courageously in charge of their lives, careers and businesses. You can be inspired, too! Get her free e-book "10 Bodacious Ways for a Bodacious Career today.

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