Have you seen my name? Justine Beirne Akley? Through birth and marriage I've been blessed with not one but two old gaelic names. Justine of the Bear and Oak. I like that.
Celtic culture and heritage has been a massive part of my life from the terrifying number of Irish Step Dancing Competitions I attended (ahem... won...) during my formative years (thanks dad!) to the in depth study of the Famine and the literature surrounding it that was at the center of my studies at NYU, being me has a lot to do with being Irish.
And today is a major Celtic holiday. No, it's not St. Patrick's day (I have mixed feelings about the stereotypes associated with that one), it's Beltane. Beltane is an ancient ceremony that celebrates the beginning of summer.
Beltane is marked by the creation of bonfires which are lit to mimic the sun's power and to celebrate the return of the long sunny days of the summer months. At a Beltane bonfire, you reflect on what the darkness of winter has taught you, but mostly you project what you would like to create during the natural growing season. Think about all of the classical associations with summer: everything grows and bears fruit. Things that were possibilities become realities. It is totally my favorite season.
So what does this have to do with your career? Well, if the summer time is for reaping the fruit of what you sow... Beltane is about sowing those seeds. Knowing exactly what you want to accomplish is really the only way to accomplish anything. Yet, so many candidates that I speak to seem to be "playing it by ear," and "Waiting to see how it goes."
Contrary to popular belief, your career will NOT just fall into place. Your talents may have seemed to come to you by chance but creating a career out of those talents will not just happen. You have to find a way to bring those talents to the market and provide value; this takes hard work and directed effort.
Think about the GPS system in your car. You can go anywhere--literally AN-NEEE-WHERE -- from where you are right now, as long as you can pinpoint a specific location as a destination. Your career is the same. Think about where you want to be in 5-10 years and then make your decisions based upon which action will move you closer to that vision of the future.
So, in the spirit of Beltane, I encourage you to take 10-15 minutes today and think about what you would consider to be the apex or pinnacle of your career. Where do you want to be in the next 5-10 years? These are the seeds that you are planting. If you have a clear picture of your desired career path, you will automatically be in the top 1/3 of candidates that I speak to. Having that direction will give you a massive advantage over the competition.
So, what would you like to accomplish? Take some time on this special day (well, special to me, anyway) to think about it! (and share it in the comments below)