What’s the best way to decide on the next step of your career path?

We all know that niggling feeling that says it’s time to take the next step in our career path. In fact, figures suggest that nearly half of us may be unhappy in our existing roles! But what’s the best way to decide upon our next steps? Whatever your desired end point in the accounting and finance industry (or perhaps another industry entirely), you must be proactive to achieve your ambitions.

It’s time to connect with your heart and head to work out your own personal roadmap. Try these techniques.

1. Visualise
Decide what your ideal day would look like if you had control over its elements. How would you structure it and allow individual elements to unfold? What kind of work would you be doing – and where? What types of people would you want to work with?

2. Assign happiness rankings
It’s hard to know what really makes us happy especially when life is busy. So be mindful. Add a 1-10 rating on the people, actions and things in your life that provide happiness. When you are at work, do this exercise and you’ll start to tune into the things that give you real satisfaction – or completely turn you off.

3. Note what you dislike
You can also learn lessons from the things you don’t like. Just observe these things and it will help to forge your new direction – especially as you also take note of the positive things that motivate you. We often can’t eliminate everything that we don’t enjoy at work, but we can choose directions that minimise the time spent on those activities. Particularly if you hate meetings and currently Iive in them!

4. Apply detective skills
It’s time to find clues – such as your own personality traits, your talents, the things you love doing – and would do all day if you could. Ask yourself what fits. There is an intrinsic relationship between each of our personal values and the rewards we get from our work. So gather the detail and start creating your own picture.

5. Just focus on five years
It is completely daunting to work out what you want to do with your entire life. So, avoid analysis paralysis and work out what you might like to be doing in the next five years. This is a good timescale for planning achievable and specific goals that can be realistic.

6. Create your transition plan
Treat yourself as a business and create your own transition plan. If you have identified your route from A to B, how will you get there? What training will you need? How can you use your network? Are there small steps you can take now? Research, speak to people, get excited! Then keep your plan alive and do something that takes you forward each day.

Begin with these steps and you may be surprised at how quickly your new career begins to take shape. Don’t just continue to float along and accept bad days and feelings of demotivation. Take control and build the life you really want.