This Saturday, Joel Deceuster presented his 7 strategies for planning your career. Joel created these seven focusing strategies as something he’s learned in his business. You can learn more about Joel and his work at

Listening to Joel talk about these strategies, I was struck by how similar the first strategy was to the steps in a 12-step program. The 12 steps are a process for going from a spiritually bankrupt position to an action plan that ultimately works by spurring the hopeless addict to a place where they can find the promise of a better life. By following these 12 steps, the goal of “the promises” is achieved, and addiction (and hopelessness) is left behind.

Joel’s approach starts with becoming accountable (the first strategy).

#1-Focus your commitment to be 100% accountable for your career.

  • Follow the steps to accountability
    • See it (admit / recognize the problem) – In a 12-step program, the first step is admitting that we have a problem.
    • Own it (know it is your problem, and remove denial)  – We realize that what we’ve been doing before isn’t working, and that we need help (steps two and three)
    • Solve it (plan) – We take inventory of our wrongs, and make a list of what we need to do to correct them, and share that with somebody else (steps four through eight)
    • Do it (take action) – We make amends, and take action on a daily basis to correct our mistakes (steps nine and ten)
    • Don’t play the blame game (be responsible for your own career) – In the recovery programs, they often preach about being responsible
  • Find and accountability buddy – Joel recommends finding an accountability buddy.

This is somebody to whom you can keep track of your progress (very similar to a sponsor in the 12-step programs) as you progress through your plan (work the steps).

In a 12-step program, you need a sponsor once you get past the first three steps, which also seems to work for Joel’s list above.So for me, his first strategy is a way out of the doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results (the definition of insanity).

His next strategy is to focus your goal. This is to overcome the lack of planning we put into our job search, which is also the point of the 12 steps: focus the effort on achievable goals by breaking things down into manageable pieces.

#2-Focus your primary objective to envision your ideal job.

  • Visualize your ideal job
    • One year from today …?
    • Discover your unique ability
  • If you can see it, you can acheive it- Joel suggests reading this book immediately if not sooner.
  • Transform your limiting beliefs that hold you back
    • They’re stories not truth

#3-Focus your employment strategies to direct your search.

  • The Goal Implementer Process
    • Obstacles inspire solutions – In the twelve steps, we take inventory of all of our wrongs, and plan to make amends.
    • Milestones – Setting milestones helps you to recognize progress.
  • The Core Employment Strategies
    • Assessment; What’s working, not working? – In the twelve step process, we continue to take inventory which helps us find out what is working and what is not.
  • Prioritize your strategies
    • Create a one page employment plan
    • Vision/mission/goals/strategies/action plans

#4-Focus your actions to optimize your efforts and resources.

  • Create prioritized action plans
  • Always know what’s next

#5-Focus your week to make it powerfully productive.

  • Use planning tools
  • Weekly planning ALWAYS
    • 3 crucial results (what do you want to feel by the end of the week)
    • Top 20 phone calls/connections (identify 20 people who can help you get to your goal)
    • Top 10 Strategic projects

#6-Focus on measuring your progress to stay on plan.

  • Daily dials (success indicators)
  • 3 Personal guidelines – rules for yourself, lessons learned ( e.g. – stay networked) around biggest disappointments
  • Positive focus

#7-Focus your energy to demonstrate your best you.

  • Physical fitness
  • Spiritual development – the twelve step programs are all about spirituality, and the process is really focused on achieving a spiritual awakening to guide us toward our true purpose.
  • Mental growth
  • Social engagement
  • Financial stability
Hi, I’m Rob Weaver