How To Approach The Visioning Process
We will approach the career vision process like a jigsaw puzzle. However, this jigsaw puzzle does not come with a picture of the final result and we have to hunt down the pieces. Are you up for this? If yes, you have taken the first step (i.e., deciding that you are going to invest the time to solve this puzzle). Next, just as in doing a jigsaw puzzle, you will need a place to put the pieces when you find them. I recommend a journal that is devoted to your career visioning process. A journal is vital for your thinking process. The following exercise helps illustrate why.
Exercise: I'm going to give you a couple of simple arithmetic problems that I would like you to perform. First, multiply 5 X 7. Chances are, you had the answer almost immediately, no need to pull out a calculator or paper and pencil. You probably have the answer memorized. Now, multiply 32 X 756 Try doing this in your head, give yourself a few minutes to try before reading on.
If you are like most people (and are not a mathematical savant), you were unable to do this problem in your head. Most of us can barely remember the problem, let alone solve it. If we can even remember the problem, we will quickly become overwhelmed by the number of variables. Trying to hold the problem mentally while working is virtually impossible and we will quickly have to start over. Writing it down allows us to see the problem and work with different parts of the problem without having to worry about forgetting the other parts.
Now to find the pieces...
Divergent vs convergent Thinking
While your ultimate goal is to develop a realistic and exciting career vision, it is a process to get there and to get there you will employ both divergent and convergent thinking. When it comes time to choosing, you will utilize convergent thinking; however, to develop the choices you will choose from requires divergent thinking.
Do not try and do both at the same time!
When you mix critical thinking with creative brainstorming, you will wind up with limited options and often find yourself in the same stuck place. It is a little like skeet shooting, whatever creative thoughts your mind puts out there, your critical thinking shoots down.
Notice how you will need both types of thinking at the appropriate stage: First you generate options with divergent thinking, then you narrow them down with convergent thinking. If you apply the divergent mindset to the problem for too long, you might become overwhelmed by choices, and might never actually find your career vision. If you approached the problem with a convergent mindset from the beginning, you might miss out on considering valuable alternatives.
Exercise: Pull out your journal and take three minutes to write your associations to the word "red" feel free to associate to your associations. Click here when done.
Finding The Pieces of the Puzzle
So, for now, we want to put away the shotgun of our own judgment and engage in some divergent thinking. Using the puzzle analogy, we want to start gathering pieces. To play further with the metaphor, when gathering the pieces we are not simultaneously trying to connect them. And as we gather them, we need to bring them to a central location (your journal).
When you are ready to start finding the pieces, click here.