woman thinking by the sea

Why the big picture of your professional journey matters

woman thinking by the sea

Image credit: Josh Adamski

A while back I read Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way. In it, he quotes Chuck Palahniuk (p.45), who said:

‘The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close up.’

So often in our working lives, we are tangled up in the details – ticking things off at full speed, getting through those urgent tasks. Even at times of career transition, we might find ourselves scrambling to react to job or business opportunities as they pop up.

But without taking a big step back to think about what we want out of our professional endeavours, we are not directing a really large part of our lives. As Tony Robbins and other performance and happiness authorities would say, we are not ‘designing our lives’ if we do not look at the big picture.

When I work with anyone on their personal brand – be it an individual working on their business or career, or a whole team within a company – I always ask them to first define their professional goals. This is because the path they choose, with awareness and reflection, is what should define the strategy we create for their personal brand communications and network-building. What I am observing is that progressive organisations genuinely want to help their staff explore the individual professional journey and personal brand, because it benefits all.

How often do we look at everything close up, versus stepping back to consider the bigger picture? For most people, big-picture thinking and well-planned goal-setting are rare. Yet it is so empowering to take time to think strategically about what we really want and where we want to go. And we all have heard about studies proving that specific goal setting and step-by-step planning are the most effective ways to achieve our goals.

Amongst all the detail, try to carve out some time to look at the bigger picture of your career. To those who aren’t used to this, it may feel uncomfortable at first – but anyone who is succeeding at mindfully ‘designing their lives’ will tell you it is well worth it.

Related topics for organisations

Keeping the WHY alive in your organisation

Personal brand development to foster leadership qualities