By Bill Bean ’70, ’75 MS, Professional Coach and Strategic Business Consultant

January is the month of renewed hope for the year ahead and the ideal time to develop your plan for a more successful and sustainable business or career. But doing that is often not intuitive.

What is the Problem?
Have you ever tried to define your path forward but you had so many ideas and possibilities in your head that it became a Rubik's cube? You start thinking about them over and over, but it is just too complex a puzzle to solve, and then you have to return to your day-to-day issues and responsibilities.

Time passes and you don't make headway. You try again and again but you get anxious about your future and frustrated about the process and it drains all your energy and just becomes exhausting.

Sound familiar? Feel the frustration? That’s floundering! But it doesn’t have to last.

So…What Do You Do?
Many people get intimidated when they think about planning but our definition is simple. It is thinking things through in advance using organized common sense. That's it, that’s all, and you can do that.

First, think about point A, where you are today and what trends are developing. From that, identify a business or career opportunity and identify point B which is what you think of as success in that opportunity achieved at some point in the future. To make that journey effectively, you have to clearly define both points. 

Once you know where you are headed, you can develop a plan to get there. You will be amazed at how that clear direction can give you focus, re-energize you, make you more productive and move you more quickly in a straight line toward your point B.

The "in advance" part of the definition is key. Making time to think things through early prevents you from having to make snap judgements in the heat of battle and that enables you to make better decisions faster.

Tell Your Story With Confidence.
The bottom line to all this is that you want to create a story. One that excites you, one that you can tell with confidence, and one that others will want to be a part of. For job seekers, it is having a direction that makes sense to you and communicating how you can provide value to your employer while heading in a logical career direction for yourself. For companies, that is a succinct, compelling business proposition that will educate and attract investors, stakeholders and customers. The mechanics are the same and they work.

Best of luck in your 2016 planning pursuits.

Bill Bean ’70, ’75 MS is a participant in the UMass Amherst Alumni Association Career Counselors program. Contact Bill to learn more about his services or to schedule your complimentary half-hour phone coaching session (offered exclusively for UMass Amherst alumni and friends).


Career Development Workshop
February 3, 2016 in Springfield, MA

Join the Alumni Association for Your Strategic Job Search, presented by Bill Bean on February 3rd at the UMass Center at Springfield. The workshop begins at 6:00 p.m. with networking to follow. Learn more.