Do you have a strategic plan? No, not for your organization or even for your department; I mean, do you have a strategic plan for your remote career?

Far too many of us plow forward in our daily location-independent roles without investing time in deliberately plotting our professional course. If we wonder why some milestones or goals have passed us by, we may still avoid questioning our perfunctory approach. (Hey, no sweat. I’m certainly guilty of this, too!)

There’s time to make incremental changes that will continue to reverberate in the long term. What better moment to ponder than at the beginning of a quarter or even a calendar year, when you can have a clean slate?

Below are a series of Socratic questions that I’ve organized by category to get you started. These are designed to enable you to become more intentional about building your expertise, exercising your skills, and raising your visibility. Your responses will help guide you forward. (Note: while you may feel you’re too busy to pursue a deeper line of inquiry on broad or seemingly abstract topics, clarifying your purpose and meaningful aspirations is a worthwhile pursuit. It will make deciding upon tangible efforts to build strategic momentum in your career much, much easier!)

Personal Growth

  1. Is this the year you’ll focus on professional development of some kind—perhaps a new certification or speaking in a conference relevant to your field? What outcome(s) would be most worthwhile and lasting for you?
  2. In what area(s) have you identified growth for your business/industry, and how can you contribute to achieving it?
  3. Which skills can you build now that will benefit you the most over the months to come, and why? Are there any you might be overlooking?
  4. Is there anyone you look up to—whether they’re part of your field or another one—whom you’d like to approach about serving as your mentor?
  5. Do you know of anyone within your own personal or professional circles who might benefit from your mentorship?

Career Visibility

  1. Are there more ways in which you might gain experience in leading with influence, either within your current remote role or as part of a MeetUp gathering, volunteer organization, or community group?
  2. How have you been showcasing your achievements to date? Could you find avenues for self-promotion that feel authentic and enable you to be acknowledged for your accomplishments?
  3. How comfortable are you with receiving recognition, both in one-on-one situations and in more public settings? If given the opportunity, would you opt to re-do the last scenario where someone paid you a sincere compliment or offered you kudos for a job well done?
  4. What do you think of when you hear the term personal brand? Are you actively making an effort toward building your own, or have you given any thought as to what first steps you’d need to take?

Transparent Interactions

  1. When it comes to your job, where are you more open in sharing progress or relaying challenges to your colleagues and/or company leadership? Where might it become an advantage to open a more regular dialogue with others?
  2. Do you actively seek feedback from your teammates, clients, and prospects? How are you soliciting it, and what could you do to improve the quality of their responses?
  3. Conversely, do you currently offer feedback to those you’re connected to at work; how could your input be more constructive or purposeful?
  4. Have you taken time to deeply understand your organization’s big picture—the overarching values and goals guiding its development—and/or are you conveying it to others?

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