How to figure out what you want in your career

Mar 23, 2023

I work with high-performers who want help to clarify their career direction, strategy or create a plan to reach their goals. But often, they aren’t sure WHAT they really want.

A common mistake they make is trying to define a specific goal upfront, without considering the big picture of what they want in their personal and professional lives.

This is like trying to plan a journey without a final destination point. If you don’t know the vision you’re working towards, it’s tough to identify the right goals and action steps to get there.

And I get it, I’ve been there too.

Prior to leaving my corporate career, I mindlessly scrolled job boards hoping to find the ‘perfect’ role. For months, I obsessed over figuring out the one, ideal career path I should follow.

What helped me get unstuck when I had no idea what to do next?

Reconnecting to a long-held dream I’d had from a very early age to start my own business. I was inspired my Dad — he’d achieved amazing success as a business owner. Plus, I was attracted to the freedom of creating something of my own.

I started by getting clear on what I wanted, my big dream. The vision for the career and life I wanted to create. From there, I easily figured out the ‘how’.

Because when you know WHAT you want, you will easily identify the steps you need to take to make your vision a reality.

Read on to learn what a career vision is and why it’s crucial to gain clarity on your direction. You’ll discover 4 ways to design a compelling vision so you can create the career and life you desire.


Your vision is the overall, big picture for your ideal life. It’s about understanding exactly WHAT you want.

Vision is closely linked to your purpose or ‘why’ – what gives your life meaning and the impact you want to make on the world. It’s also aligned to your values and what’s most important to you.

Your vision is more than your goals and milestones. It’s about the person you’re becoming: who you want to be and how you want to feel.

A vision is something bigger than you. The desires and dreams which impact your choices and fuel your actions.


Clarifying your vision is the first step to figuring out what you want in your career and life.

A vision gives you clarity on what you want and the power to take control of your future. It helps you understand what steps to take, define important goals and guides your actions and decisions.

Having a strong vision for your ideal life motivates and energises you — and keeps you moving towards these goals.

‘Empty’ goals are defined by deadlines, the expectations of others or society. Think — the pursuit of money, power or success.

Meanwhile, a compelling vision drives you to reach the goals which are fundamentally important to you. And it helps you conquer fears or blocks holding you back from taking action.



Picturing your ideal day is the first way to get clear on your vision. Think of a date 5-10 years into the future. Then describe your ideal day in detail as if it’s already happened, starting from the moment you get up — until the second your hit hits the pillow at night.

Where are you and who are you with? What are you doing and what would you achieve? How do you feel? Who are you being?

Give yourself the time and space to reflect on this. Get quiet and journal your responses. Don’t forget to consider all areas of your life including your career, relationships, finances, health and interests.

Forget about being realistic during this exercise and dream big! If time and money weren’t an issue, what would you do? What are the things you long to do that you never thought possible?

At this stage, it’s normal for fears or limiting beliefs to surface. Worrying what others will think or believing it’s not possible. But this isn’t the time to be rational, so stay connected to your heart.

Because when you start dreaming bigger and focus on what you really want, you will gain clarity on your direction.


Defining your big picture desires and outcomes is the second strategy to determine your vision. Start by breaking down the main parts of your life and reflect on what you want in each area. The aim is to create a short summary of what you want to accomplish, including your big career and lifestyle goals for the next 5 years.

Think about your final destination rather than short-term goals, steps or how you’ll get there. Use these insights to write an overall description of your ideal life. This is your vision statement, which you can refer back to as you start to establish your more immediate goals.

Remember: When you define your destination point, you can pinpoint the goals and action steps to get you there!


The third way to uncover your vision is to understand your purpose and values. Your purpose is part of who you are and your values are what’s most important to you.

Ask yourself — what activities have purpose and meaning for you? What in life is most important? What’s the impact you want to create or the legacy you’d like to leave behind?

If what you want is difficult to define, knowing your values and purpose will put you on the right path. Because when you understand your ‘why’ and what’s important in your career and life, your vision will become clear.


The fourth and final tip is to look beyond what you do. Think about how you want to feel and who you want to be. This moves you away from focusing on specific goals and connects you what it would feel like to bring your big dreams to life.

From this place, you can create a compelling vision for your life. And then establish your goals and action steps based on this vision. When you connect to how you want to feel, you can easily clarify what you want.


Once you’ve created your vision, reverse engineer the action steps you need to take and design goals based on this vision.

Revisit your vision often. Be sure to refer back to it anytime you’re making important decisions or setting future goals to ensure they remain aligned to your vision.

So there you have it. The strategies which have helped my clients and our clarify our vision, set clear goals and intentionally take action towards them. I hope these insights support you too!

Want help to clarify your vision and reach your professional goals?

Click HERE to book a free 30 minute consult and find out how I can support you!

Stacey Back is a globally recognised and certified Career + Leadership Coach. She helps high-achievers at a career crossroads find the work that lights them up, increase their income, impact and create a career + life on their terms. Stacey works virtually with individuals and organisations based across the globe.