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Career paths: alternative approaches to looking at them.

Updated: Jun 21, 2021

This blog is for you if you are just starting out or perhaps considering a change of career later on in life. Actually it could be relevant for you anywhere in your career. Below are two ideas about how to create or define a career path.


a blog is a blog is a blog. If after trying out one ,or both, of the below, you'd rather speak to someone in person then do get in touch!

If you are at stage of critically thinking about your career and it is filling you with dread or fear or anxiety or it just doesn't seem to have a direction here are two ideas you may like to try out to see if they offer any insights or clarity. The first may suit those of you who like drawing and visualising. The second is more fact and figure orientated. Why not try both?

Idea One:

It is quite an interesting exercise if you are stuck, or mulling something over to have a go at drawing it. Just go with this idea for a bit. Let go of any negative thoughts about the exercise and give it a go, after all there's nothing to lose.


Zero artistic skill

An open mind

Paper - or a drawing program if you prefer.


A quiet space where you'll be uninterrupted for around 10 minutes or so.

Start by thinking about your career with no sense of urgency, stress or expectation.

  • Give it a shape or some colour.

  • Add a bit of texture.

  • Consider how things sit next to each other or relate to each other.

  • Add some lines in. Are they dark and scratchy?

  • Light and feathery?

  • Bold? Geometric. Organic and meandering?

  • Find where you are in the picture and consider the space you are taking up.

  • Anything you'd like to add?

In much the same way as writing something down can shrink it and make it seem more manageable, drawing can offer a new perspective and bring up something you hadn't even though of.

The size of you in the drawing can be very telling.

Are you overwhelmingly small?

Or taking up a lot of space?

The thickness of lines may indicate intention and purpose.

Look at it carefully and then give a gut response to it.

I'm too small

The steps are so big

It is clear

It is tortuous and fuzzy

There are no wrong answers here.

What it can do is help you make a start on moving forward. Or getting in touch with me to support you!

Idea Two:

In a similar vein, drawing a graph of your career path can also bring about some quite surprising insights. This will suit those of you that prefer facts and figures.


Paper- ideally lined or squared

Something to write with and maybe a ruler

10 minutes or so of uninterrupted thinking time.

Draw your two axes in - time along the bottom, career path up the side.

Start to map in some key features; training, professional development, promotions, breaks, changes in direction, time frames.

Remember at this stage it is an idea, a starting point.

What it may offer you is a place to start and an indication of what to do next.

Career paths post script:

Recently I was discussing career paths from the perspective of someone just starting out and someone quite a way into their life and career. I thought it might be worth sharing these ideas, particularly to demonstrate that they often look nothing like you'd expected!

The first picture is a daunting idea of what a career possibly 'should' look like and often one we use to compare ourselves to others. Wouldn't that be great to climb steadily to a position of huge success?

Some people do.

They have sharp, long lasting focus and climb in a steady healthy trajectory towards success. They may have an excellent life coach working with them too ; )

However not everyone has the same experience and often career success looks more like this:

From periods of intense focus to times of crashing self doubt.

From huge success to falling flat on your face.

From tremendous clarity to backtracking and events (life) just getting in the way.

U turns and sharp changes in directions..

Steady plodding.

Unexpected options bringing unexpected outcomes - often good!

If you're starting out - consider that 'success very rarely happens in straight lines'.

If you're considering a break or change - consider your career path to date. How does it look?


as I said,a blog is a blog, is a blog. Sometimes you need to get face to face with someone and have a conversation. That's when things can emerge that you may not have thought about. If this blog isn't enough for you and you'd like a face to face chat, do get in touch!

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