Lantern: Helping You Find Your Way

Activity Summary

This activity gives the participants the opportunity to articulate their career and life goals, and get help from others in reaching those goals.


  • To give the participants the opportunity to clearly articulate their career/life goals.
  • To give the participants the opportunity to think about how to reach those goals.
  • To get help from others to reach those goals.

Group Size

Eight to fourteen.                

Time Required

1.5 to 2 hours, depending on the size of the group.


  • A lantern.
  • A copy of the Lantern handout for each participant.
  • A writing instrument for each participant.

Physical Setting

Writing surfaces should be provided.

Facilitating Risk Rating



1.  Introduce the session by explaining that people often feel alone in their efforts to plan their careers and lives. However, we can often obtain valuable ideas, contacts and resources from others simply by asking. Introduce yourself, including a brief statement about your career and life. Ask participants to do the same. (5 minutes)

2.  Give a lecturette differentiating between passive versus active career/life planning based on the handout entitled How to Plan Your Career and Your Life Using an Active Approach. (10 minutes)

3.  Ask participants to discuss in pairs their thoughts regarding active versus passive career/life planning. (5 minutes)

4. Reconvene the entire group and ask for summaries of their discussions about active versus passive approaches. (5 minutes)

5.  Ask participants to complete the front side of the Lantern handout. (5 minutes)

6.  Turn off the lights. Tell participants that we often feel alone and in the dark when planning our careers or lives. Turn on the lantern and say that we are not alone and can get valuable help from others. (5 minutes)

7.  Give the lantern to a participant. Ask that participant to give a summary of his or her goals and what help he or she thinks is needed from others to reach those goals. Ask all of the other participants to give the participant with the lantern their best idea, contact and other resource. Ask the participant with the lantern to take notes on the back side of the Lantern handout. Ask the participant with the lantern to pass it to a person next to him or her and continue the same goal summary/best idea process until all participants have spoken and received feedback from the group. (5 minutes per participant)

8.  When all participants have finished receiving feedback from the group, turn on the lights and ask the following questions (15 minutes):

  • How did it feel to get help from others in planning your career or life?
  • What is one idea, contact or other resource on which you plan to follow up?
  • How else can you use what you learned today?


Conduct a discussion about the difference between an active approach and a passive approach to career/life planning, rather than giving a lecturette.


How to Plan Your Career and Your Life Using an Active Approach

The first step of career/life planning process is a thorough self-assessment. Books that can help you clarify your goals are “What Color Is Your Parachute?” by Richard Bolles, “Where Do I Go From Here With My Life?” by John Crystal and Richard Bolles, and “Luck is No Accident” by John Krumboltz and Al Levin. 

Your next step is to make sure you convey your interests and strengths, skills and accomplishments by writing them down. Using that information you can develop an elevator pitch. There are many resources online to help you create this such as Your pitch will include your educational background, professional background, job objective, and relevant accomplishments. You can practice your elevator pitch on your friends.

Now you’re ready to start researching different kinds of careers. You can use web sites such as to find information about different kinds of careers. The next step is networking. Networking is about building more relationships, and you can start by networking with all the people you already know. Start a system to keep track of all your networking efforts in an Excel spreadsheet (event, person, date, topics covered and next follow up. 

Through networking you will learn about people who have careers that interest you. Use informational interviewing to learn more about those careers. Information about informational interviewing is in the books listed above.

With the active approach to career and life planning you will open doors and discover things about careers, organizations, people and even about yourself that you may not have known otherwise. Working diligently on the process will give you the confidence that you are doing all you can to create the career of your dreams that aligns with your skills and innermost values. Keeping a positive attitude is important. Career and life planning can be fun if you employ diligent effort coupled with the right attitude. So light that lantern and have it shine on all your efforts in your planning efforts. Hard work always pays off.





Where are you now in your career/life?


What are your career/life goals (please be specific)?


What thoughts do you have about how to reach those goals?


What help do you think you need to reach those goals?


Please use this space to record the ideas others have for you about how to reach your goals:


Potential contacts:


Possible education/training:


Other resources:


John Goldberg provides training in leadership, communication, teamwork, and career and personal development. He served for seven years as Manager, Organization Development for a Fortune 500 company. John teaches at the University of California, Davis Graduate School of Management. He is active in the California Network of Learning Professionals. John lives in Sacramento with his wife and two children.

Contact: John Goldberg, MBA, 442 T Street, Sacramento, CA 95818-2122, Telephone: (916) 444-3353.

Angel McCormack has been counseling MBA students & alumni from the UC Davis Graduate School of Management since 2006 & has a private practice. She is an expert in the field of delivering both in-person and on-line career counseling & coaching from a whole-life perspective, having pioneered the first ever distance style of counseling for her MBA clients. Her primary goal is to impart life-changing career self-efficacy and inspiration. Angel’s theoretical approach is a Humanistic mix of Existential, Person Centered, Gestalt, & Behaviorism schools of thought.

Contact: Angel McCormack, MS,,