Blog: Characteristics of a Professional – Look ahead. See more than today.

In October, I began a blog series about the characteristics of a professional; you can read the introduction to the series here. This post is the 6th in a series of 10 that will be posted over the coming weeks.

Look ahead. See more than today.

When you have “just a job,” your focus is on “right now.” When you are a professional, you need to have an upward perspective, which means that you are looking towards your future and the future of all of your fellow professionals. Sometimes this means that you need to make a decision that might be worse for you in the short-term, but better in the long run.

In football (soccer), how many times does a team move backwards in order to go forward? Simply charging forward may seem like a good decision at the time, but without proper planning about where you are going, you may find yourself in a worse position than you started. In an extreme example, you may realize that you got where you were going, but that you had lost the ball! Chess is another great example of needing to look ahead. In order to win, a player needs to be able to see a number of moves ahead. The more moves ahead a player can think, the better their chances are of winning.

I think that these same ideas from football and chess are true in life as well. Just as planning is necessary for a business to know where it is going, it is good for us to have a plan for our own lives and careers. If you can look at more than just today, the decisions that you make will be better decisions, especially for tomorrow.

What are you looking ahead to in your professional career, and how are you getting there?

Brian Hock, CMA, CIA
HOCK international