What would Littlefinger do?
Career Advice from Game of Thrones
I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan. I’ve watched the series on HBO, and read all of the books (multiple times). But I never thought I would be giving career advice based on one of the most morally flexible characters in a sea of questionably motivated characters--Littlefinger. I gave a talk earlier this month at the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Conference on Taking Charge of your Writing Career with New York Times Bestselling author Kevin O'Brien, and Amazon Bestselling author, Andrea Hurst. One of the first and most critical steps to any career planning exercise is figuring out where you want to be. What’s your longer-term career goal? I have a clear image of the kind of author I want to be.
So, there I was watching season six of Game of Thrones when Petyr Baelish (a.k.a. Littlefinger), finds Sansa in the godswood. He says something that struck me as both profound and insightful. He reveals the ultimate goal of what he wants to achieve to Sansa. If you’re a fan of the show I’m sure you know what it is too (no spoiler alerts here). He tells Sansa that every time he considers an action he asks himself if the action will help make the picture he sees in his mind a reality. He only acts if the answer is yes.
Click here to watch the scene.
It’s a powerful, instructive piece of career advice. If you’re trying to figure out what the right career move is for you, consider it in the context of what you want to achieve long term. What’s your goal? Your north star? If you don’t know, take time to figure it out. Are there other people that have the job that you ultimately want? What was their career path? You can find some of this information by reviewing professional profiles on Linked In, or other career networking sites.
Defining your goals are important. It’s hard to get where you want to go if you don’t know where you’re heading. That north star (your vision of where you want to end up) will help guide you. It can calibrate your career moves to ensure that you’re always moving in the right direction and staying on track.
Like Littlefinger, I know where I want to be. Do you? If so, here’s my advice…
Do what Littlefinger does! Okay, you may not want to do everything Littlefinger does, but as opportunities present themselves, ask yourself if the opportunity moves you closer to your ultimate career goal. If it does—go for it. If it doesn’t, you pass, or look for another opportunity that moves you closer to what you want.
Here are some helpful links to articles about career planning.