When it comes to navigating your career, it’s almost never a straight climb up the corporate ladder. There are always hard decisions to make, goals to reconsider and challenges to overcome.
Maybe you were anticipating a promotion that you didn’t get, and now you need to decide whether to stay in your current role or start applying at other companies.
Maybe you’ve been successful in your career, but you’re feeling the entrepreneurial itch to make your business idea a reality.
Maybe you’re a leader in an organization that is undergoing intense change, and you need to create a leadership strategy that keeps everyone enthusiastic and on board.
Maybe your career is winding down, and as you look toward retirement, you want to shift into a consulting role and maybe even capture your ideas in a book.
Whatever decision or pivot you need to make, you have to take the time to sit and strategize what’s next for you.
Because here’s the real, hard truth: If you don’t take time to really think about the script you’re writing with your life, your performance might fail to tell the story you want it to—and no job opportunity is worth that.
That’s why I started offering VIP Days, which are a one-on-one day to strategize the next chapter of your career in an amazing way.
While I love spending VIP Days with people, my open days fill up quickly, and I’m not able to spend a day with everyone who inquires. Still, I believe so much in the principle of taking a day off to reorient yourself and strategize the future of your career that I want to share with you the key elements of a VIP Day and how you can implement one in your own life.
1. Pick someone whom you can trust completely.
While it might be somewhat helpful to spend a day alone thinking about the future of your career, I promise you’ll get so much further if you invite someone who you can bounce ideas off of.
How should you choose this person? It could be a friend, a mentor, or a business coach. Whoever you choose, they MUST be someone outside of your work environment that provides a safe zone for you to be honest about your personal and professional aspirations and challenges.
In other words, this person cannot have a hidden agenda for spending a VIP Day with you.
If you choose a friend, you could talk about both of your career directions; if you choose to invest in a business coach, you’ll get to focus completely on your career. Both have benefits!
For my first VIP Day, I invited a longtime friend to take a quick trip with me who isn’t a speaker. He doesn’t know my industry at all—in fact, he is an executive at a large arts organization. We spent two days together talking about our careers, our challenges, our personal lives, and the things we needed to hold each other accountable to
And because we work in such different industries, our outside-in perspectives were of huge value to each other.
2. Create a list of specific questions, challenges and goals.
Plan for a VIP Day like you would any other business event, but build it around what you know you need. I often use these questions as a jumping off point for my VIPs:
What were the most frustrating moments in your work this past year?
What are dilemmas or opportunities that you need to make a decision about?
What were the BEST moments of your career this year?
Where do you want to be in five years?
When I’m working with my VIP clients, I have them fill out a questionnaire that helps them to really zero-in on their goals and challenges before we sit down together for our VIP Day.
3. Set this on your calendar as a rock-solid event.
Like you would any other conference, take your VIP Day seriously—whether you’ve scheduled it with a professional coach or with a friend. Put it on your calendar, and don’t let anything outside of an emergency change your plans.
As with anything else in life, if you don’t commit to this and take it seriously, then it’ll never happen.
Too often, I see people de-prioritize themselves, and so they resist spending a day on their goals or investing money in their own development—and it stunts their growth. Don’t let that happen to you!
4. Have at least one conference call prior to the trip.
In order to make the most of your VIP Day either with your friend, coach, or mentor, set up a call so that you can outline your goals and strategies.
I love having pre-calls with my VIPs to learn their story and hear their goals so that we can really hit the ground running when the VIP Day comes.
5. Leave your current environment.
I’ve had VIP Days with clients in my office, and I’ve had a VIP Day at Universal Studios in Orlando.
While one of these may be just a little more fun than the other, they have something in common: All of my VIPs went traveled to a new place to start thinking anew.
If you’re thinking about doing a VIP Day with you and a friend, get out of your typical environment, but don’t feel like you need to go overboard. When I spent a VIP weekend with a friend, we didn’t travel to another state or even hop on a plane. We simply drove an hour and a half to a large hotel nearby.
I will say that this was not a vacation and we didn’t allow ourselves to treat it like one. We had a strict schedule and kept to it, meeting at 8:30 AM for breakfast and then working till 11 PM all the while talking about specific things we wanted to challenge ourselves on for the next year.
As you look forward to your career in the future, take a look backward as well. You may be quickly climbing the corporate ladder, but is your ladder leaning against the right building? Do you hate your life or are you living the dream? VIP Days provide you a chance to check in with yourself before you climb too high.
I’d love to strategize with you as you write your next chapter! To learn more about spending a VIP Day with me, click here.
As a speaker and author, Curtis Zimmerman has impacted over one million people with his life-changing messages and award-winning programs. Curtis is an expert at transforming organizations by inspiring individuals to live their lives at performance level.
Want to be inspired? Check out his podcast The Next 24 Hours.