The Remarkable Benefits of Plotting Your Career
Every good story has a plot.
In Catch Me If You Can (2002), Frank must evade capture after cashing a series of fraudulent checks. In 127 Hours (2010), Aron must save himself from impending death after a boulder falls on his arm. And in The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001–2003), Frodo must destroy the One Ring of power. Each of these films owes its success, in part, to its unrelenting plot.
Consider this example: In Interstellar (2014), Coop must save humanity from imminent extinction. The story contains many subplots, including the search for another planet that supports life. But Coop’s aim to save humanity is what continues to drive the story forward.
But what exactly is a plot?
- A plot is the fixed sequence of events that occur within a story.
- The plot keeps the story on track, because it adheres to one governing idea or purpose.
- The main character (or protagonist) drives the plot forward
Many successful films have simple, discernible plots. But plots are also just as relevant to brands — both corporate and personal.
When people craft and adhere to personal mission statements, they construct their own plots. “It helps guide them by defining who they are and why they do what they do,” explains Stephanie Vozza.
In other words, a plot is much like a road map. It leads you from A to B — from where you are, to where you want to be. It’s no surprise, then, that many successful executives have used this technique.
Plotting your career has exceptional benefits:
- Defining your career plot helps you understand the vision behind your personal brand
- Knowing your career direction simplifies your decision-making process (It also keeps you accountable for your actions)
- Communicating your career goals helps differentiate you in the mind of your audience
- Following a well-defined career path helps you earn your audience’s trust
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Next, follow these steps to find your ideal career ending. Industry thought leaders Neil Patel and Aaron Agius define this as “what you’ll be doing on the day you retire”.
Then, get out a piece of paper and draw your sequence of events. That’s right — plot your career, step-by-step.
You’re more likely to achieve your end goal if you break your career plan into manageable chunks, so be sure to identify periodic milestones. These achievements also provide you with an opportunity to celebrate your success.
Finally, craft your mission statement. And remember — you drive your career forward. So always consider your mission statement when making important career decisions, such as accepting a new job.
Where will your story take you? Let me know where you’re headed in the comments below.
- Plots are relevant to corporate and personal brands as well as films and novels
- A personal mission statement helps you communicate a coherent brand image
- A career plot simplifies your decision-making process and keeps you accountable
- Periodic milestones increase your likelihood of success