Updated: Mar 29, 2019
Just about everyone has a resolution each new year: get in shape, grab that promotion, save more money for the future, spend more time with those you love, vacation more, it goes on and on. But setting career goals is not always as easy as it seems - it takes time, thought and strategic planning. Simple, bite sized changes lay the strongest foundation for long term changes and growth. Real progress take time, in the words of Zig Ziglar "theres no elevator to the top", so start small and build slowly on what you achieve as you improve yourself and your quality of work over the next year.
Here are some insights on how to advance your career in 2019:
Okay Back to Basics Ladies: stay organized! Be on top of things, be prepared for meetings, you know the drill. Being organized allows you to be focused, in control, less anxious, more efficient, and at least reasonably productive. If you constantly digging out from under the piles of unorganized disarray on your desk, never have what you need, do not update your calendar and have no idea what time it is; you will be behind at best and at worst you will be finding new organization in the unemployment line. Invest time in yourself by getting organized and it will earn you loads of free time. I suggest a time and Goals management system, like our old friend Zig offers, but your favorite will do.
Be On Time
The sure-fire sign of serious professional is punctuality. Good, reliable professionals are rarely late and nothing says unprofessional as loudly as consistently being late. Force on managing your time, allot for emergencies that come up, prep beforehand to get organized and arrive early.
"There's no elevator to the top." ~Zig Ziglar
Reduce Your Stress
We all get stressed about work, or even life in general from time to time. It is therefore important to experiment with what calms you, especially in the moment. Be it a quick stretch, meditation, deep breathing, taking a brisk walk, burning off your stress in the gym with some intense exercise, maybe slowing down to read or even taking a moment of faith. Finding a way to reduce in the moment stress is imperative to clear headed decisions. Einstein said, "No question can be answered from the same state of mind that it was asked from." When he stated this, it could be said that he was talking about finding a way to reduce the anxiety and stress and finding the calm needed to move forward, especially in areas of extreme conflict.
Use Your Hobbies To Grow Your Marketability
Summon your courage and jump into a new skill. Distinguish yourself from other by finding an interest and expanding on it. Weather you are upping your technology skills or perfecting those cookies you used to bake with Granny you can use that to be your signature. Make yourself stand out with this/these signature skills: being the fastest blogger in the office helps when searching for an SEO boost for the new site and everyone remembers the lady that says thank you with homemade cookies. Developing new skills is often ignored because it is easier to "do what we have always done"; leaving individuals, companies and often whole industries left behind. This year make it a habit to stay up-to-date and use your skills to your advantage, so you do not get left behind.
Crack a Book, Open a Magazine, Read Everything
Take it upon yourself to read up on news in your industry. Subscribe to trade publications, follow reporters who cover your industry on social media platforms, read books about the industry at large and by experts in related fields. This will help your career as well as your personal growth. Stay curious and devour everything you can about your industry, make certain you understand how world events impact your business and that you understand its current state and have insight of what the future holds. Read, read often, read period.
Meet New People
In the age of social media and virtual reality, it's easy to go through the motions, live through water cooler gossip, fulfill work-related obligations then go home and hide. Rarely breaking out of your same old same old friends, routine, and settling. It often feels easier than meeting new people, "It's the devil you know" syndrome. However meeting new people keeps you sharp and connected. We all know the old cliché about who you know, but in personal career marketability this is valuable currency. So do yourself a favor and , so make it a priority to know as many people as possible. Industry events, personal introductions with mutual friends, reciprocate support with others in professional endeavors. It doesn't have to be contrived, transactional, or awkward, just get out and meet new people. This can breath new life into your career and you’ll be posting all sorts of new engaging content, which never hurts in todays world.
You Get Out What You Put In
Volunteering is one way to give back and to meet more people, in a prepackaged setting. A few examples are: if technology is your bag, try a charity that teaches tech skills to children or the elderly; educators may feel most at home in teaching outreach programs. Of course, you can volunteer at organizations such as ABWA or IWIB, we always have something for your or maybe mentoring with groups like Step Up Women's Network. Volunteering gives you a meaningful way to give back, build confidence, grow personally as well as professionally and expand your network.
Ask for a Critique
Regardless of it is grabbing 15 minutes of a superior's time after completing a project or asking our girlfriends if they have noticed the new hobbies you have taken up. There is a delicate balance that must be adhered to. Ask often enough to get some perspective but not so often as to irritate the critics. Make sure you prepare yourself for the good the bad and the ugly. In doing so with grace, balance, and humility; you will be respected for confronting your weaknesses and you get to become the best version of you that you can.
Progression Meters Matter
Setting goals and plans of action to reach these goals is imperative to growth - personally and professionally. The great Wayne Gretsky said, "We miss 100% of the shows we do not take." There is no way that someone just wondered around until they reached the top of mount Everest... So this means that you cannot expect to get that promotion, start that new company, have the highest close rate, etc. without making a plan in which to do so. So make it a resolution to set small, incremental goals that can be achieved in a month or in a quarter and build them into goals for the year or beyond. As you watch your progress on paper, your confidence will build, motivating you to keep up your consistent effort.
Let It Go
Take a tip from Disney's frozen blonde princess and even if you should slip and things personally, let it go. This nonsense just breeds political minefields and resentment, it's emotionally draining and counterproductive. Obviously we should try not to take things personally or get involved in disagreements that aren't professional but in reality we all fail at this from time to time. As soon as it becomes a personal, subjective argument, we lose credibility and are often seen as unprofessional, so we should try and use our stress reduction methods from earlier to take ourselves out of the moment and regain control of our person so we can... Let it go.
By: Kim Prevost
CEO The Prevost Group Inc.