Transform your career with clear intentions

Are you feeling stuck or unsure about your career path?  Do you feel like you're just going through the motions without a clear sense of direction?


Setting career intentions can help you gain clarity and focus on how you want to live and work. By setting career intentions, you can define what success means to you and take deliberate steps to achieve it.

Perhaps you’ve tried to reflect on your career before but didn’t know how to go about it. But trust me, carving out the time and space to set your career intentions is a vital investment in yourself and your career.

Whatever stage of your professional journey you're in, self-reflection and setting clear intentions can improve how you feel about your working life and impact in your role.

In this article, we'll explore the benefits of setting career intentions and provide practical tips for how to get started.

So, if you're ready to take your career to the next level, need a better work-life balance, or want to make a complete career change, read on to learn more about why setting intentions is an essential step on your journey to success.

The importance of reflecting on your career

When it comes to setting career intentions, taking the time to reflect on your career is crucial. Reflection allows you to take stock of where you are in your career, how you want to feel at the end of the week, what your direction of travel is, and what you need to focus on to get there.

One factor to reflect on your career is to think about your core values and what is important to you. Consider what motivates and drives you – and what makes you feel aligned with an organisation. This can help you identify what kind of work gives you the most energy and what kind of environment you thrive in.

Another important factor to consider is what you are good at and what you enjoy doing. This can help you identify areas where you can grow and develop, as well as areas where you may want to focus your career intentions.

Taking the time to reflect on your career can also help you identify any roadblocks or obstacles that may be holding you back. This might include things like a lack of skills or experience, or a need to develop new relationships or networks. Or even mindset shifts that you might need to make. By identifying these roadblocks, you can take steps to overcome them and move forward in your career.

Career crossroads?

Many of my clients have come to coaching because they found themselves at a crossroads in their lives and work. Some are looking to make a complete career change while others want to inject some new energy into their career in their current workplace with a new challenge or a promotion.

We always start with reflection to feed into setting clear intentions for how they want to live and work, before moving on to setting more specific goals - plus how to cultivate the habits, mindsets and systems needed to bring their ideas to life.

Why is setting career intentions so important?

In an ever-changing and busy world, intentions offer a flexible yet focused strategy for achieving your goals.

More than simply aiming for professional success, career intention-setting gives you clarity on what fulfilling work looks like because it involves aligning your habits, systems and actions with your vision. By setting clear intentions, you are giving yourself a roadmap to follow and a sense of purpose in your career.

Setting career intentions can also help you stay motivated and focused. When you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve, you are more likely to stay committed to your goals and work hard to achieve them. This can help you overcome obstacles and setbacks along the way.

In addition, setting career intentions can help you make better career decisions. When you know what you want to achieve in your career, you can make choices that align with your goals. For example, if your intention is to become a leader in your field, you may choose to take on more leadership roles in your current job or seek out opportunities to develop your leadership skills.

Overall, setting career intentions is a powerful tool for professional growth and career development.

What’s the difference between intentions and goals?

Both intentions and goals have their place in how we can get clarity on how we want to live and work.

Understanding intentions

Intentions are about who you want to be and how you want to show up in the world. They are guiding principles that help you align your actions with your values and purpose. Intentions are not specific, measurable, or time-bound like goals. Instead, they focus on the present moment and the kind of person you want to become.

To set career intentions, start by reflecting on your values and purpose. What motivates you? What kind of impact do you want to make in the world? What kind of work aligns with your values and purpose? Once you have a clear understanding of your intentions, you can use them to guide your career decisions and actions.

Understanding goals

Goals, on the other hand, are specific, measurable, and time-bound. They are about achieving a desired outcome or result. Goals help you focus your efforts and track your progress. They are often practical and efficient, and they can give you a clear vision of what you want to achieve.

To set career goals, start by identifying what you want to achieve in your career. Do you want to get a promotion, switch careers, or start your own business? Once you have a clear goal in mind, break it down into smaller, achievable steps. Set deadlines and track your progress to ensure you stay on track.

While intentions and goals are different, they are both important for career success. Intentions help you align your actions with your values and purpose, while goals help you achieve specific outcomes. By setting both intentions and goals, you can create a career that is both fulfilling and successful.

View your intentions as your guide, your direction of travel that incorporates the habits, ways of being and mindsets that will help you bring your goals to life.

How to get started with your career intentions

Setting intentions gives you a real idea of what you want and how you want to live and work. With time, they become your inner guidance that influences how you spend your time and what you cultivate in your life.

Here’s how to get started:

  • Carve out some quality time to reflect on your past year in your work.
  • Ask yourself some key questions about how you felt about your work, what you achieved and what got in your way.
  • Visualise what joy and success in your role or your industry would look like
  • Set some clear intentions for what habits, behaviours, goals and actions will move your work and life forward towards how you want it to feel and be.

By expressing how you genuinely feel about how you want your life and work to be, positive things can happen. You can create your own reality in line with your own measures of success.

Five questions from my new 'Set Your Career Intentions' guide:

  1. What accomplishments from the past year surprised you and why?
  2. What are your greatest personal and professional strengths, and are you using them in your role and in the workplace?
  3. What challenges have you faced and overcome?
  4. What do you wish you had done differently in the past year?
  5. What new knowledge and skills do you want to gain at work? How do you want to expand these skills at work?

By answering these questions, you can gain a better understanding of how you want to be, as well as what you want to achieve, in your work.

Creating successful conditions

Once you have identified your career intentions, it's important to create the right conditions to achieve them. Here are some tips to help you do this:

  • Writing out your intentions and making them part of your morning routine can help you achieve your desired outcome by focusing on what really matters most.
  • Identify what habits you need to implement and what mindset shifts you need to make, perhaps self-care and boundaries might be what’s needed.
  • Build a support network and surround yourself with people who will support and encourage you in your career journey. This could include mentors, colleagues, friends, and family.
  • Take action. Don't just set your intentions and forget about them. Take action towards your goals every day, no matter how small the steps may seem.
  • Be flexible. Your career intentions may change over time, so it's important to stay flexible and adapt to new opportunities and challenges.

By following these steps, you can transform your career and start working towards the vision that you have for how you want your work and life to be.

If you get stuck at any point in this process, take a pause and revisit it the next day, rather than dropping it completely.

If you would prefer to work through your reflections and set your career intentions in real-time, then drop me a line to see if you might benefit from a coaching session to get these really clarified.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Faversham ME13 & Maidstone ME16
Written by Lucy Stanyer, Life Coach, Career & Business Coach, ADHD Coach, mBit Coach
Faversham ME13 & Maidstone ME16

Coaching for Purpose, Growth and Balance. Lucy provides whole-person career and small business coaching to help make work fulfilling and meet your measures of success. Coaching helps harness values, shift mindsets, build helpful habits, cultivate a sense of purpose to make work part of a life worth living.

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