How to Make the Most of Your Career in 2018
Resolutions. We all have them. We all start them. And we all rarely ever finish them. Maybe this year, instead of personal resolutions, this is the year of career resolutions. Maybe instead of unrealistically trying to lose those 15 pounds you have been caring around since college, it is time to focus your energy on how to develop yourself at work. Where can you improve? What can you build on? What do you want to learn more about? How do you want to transform yourself? While thinking ahead into 2018, what do your career resolutions look like? Maybe you can start by thinking about several of the outcomes below.
As the days pass during the work week, we tend to put our head down and work on the things that are only in our wheelhouse. Thinking about ways to change this behavior will not go unnoticed in the firm. Become the lead on a project. Take on a new challenge or responsibility. Participate in a new task force or meeting. Volunteer your time to help another. Allow yourself to do things that might be unfamiliar or uncomfortable to you and that get you out of your daily routine. You just might surprise yourself.
Get a Coach
Take the time in 2018 to find a coach at your firm. As you search for ways to grow at your job, they can help you get in alignment with what you need to do. Not sure of where to start when it comes to coaching? I have learned you don’t have to jump in fully but can start with baby steps. Those baby steps involve discussing one question at a time. Focus on one piece, not the whole picture.
Be a Delegate
As we get busier with projects and day to day tasks during the year, we often find there are things we do that we don’t necessarily like doing or perhaps someone else could do better. It could be as simple as things that fall to the bottom of the priority list and never get done. That is where delegation comes in. We should not be wary of this word. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance down, up or across your firm. I have found that delegation helps me avoid burnout and it only makes me want to use it more at my firm.
Develop a Personal Development Plan
Most plans that you develop at the beginning of a new year focus on specific tasks or to-dos to accomplish during a specific quarter or calendar year. They are almost entirely career or work focused. Rarely do they take your personal and family goals into account. And rarely do they focus on your lifetime goals and growth. A personal development plan encompassed all of these factors. It can include overall career goals as well as personal and family goals all wrapped into one single plan. These goals can be a culmination of what you want to accomplish over a lifetime along with details on how. For you, it can create a personal map of how to get there.
Become a Leader
Perhaps you don’t exactly hold a leadership position in your office. Maybe you are a new employee and the word "leader” hasn’t been in your vocabulary, yet. No matter the situation, there are still many ways you can start developing into a leader at work. First, figure out what kind of leader you are. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your leadership characteristics? What is your leadership vision? What leadership statement best describes you? Find the answers to your questions and you can begin to develop a leadership plan to focus on and perfect for 2018 and beyond.
Train, Learn and Educate
It’s your career. There’s no better time to start honing your craft. It’s time to start polishing what you do. It’s time to start building it for the future. Identify the areas of your job responsibilities that you want to grow in and start learning more. Take a class that teaches you something that you didn’t already know. Shadow a colleague to understand what it takes and to see it all through their eyes. Read a book. Write a report. And above all, ask lots and lots of questions.
Enjoy a Better Work-Life Balance
Eat + Work + Eat + Work + Eat + Sleep. For most people, this is what their work-life-balance formula looks like. There is no inclusion of family or friends or fun or free time. There is generally only time added in for the necessities to survive a long, never-ending workday. There is no "life” at all in the formula, only work. This formula is not the equation for great work-life balance. The formula must include additions of movie nights, free time when you don’t pick up your cell phone because you were too busy re-living old times with your friends, and time spent in total silence, sitting on a beach, or drinking a margarita. A formula modified with all these things creates a better career life for you and everyone that surrounds you. Take the time to figure out how you want your equation to look and you will see that the true formula is not a survival formula, but becomes your true how to live formula.
Here’s to making this the year you step from behind the curtain and start speaking your mind. Take the opportunity to make yourself heard at your next company meeting. Even if you think your idea is off the wall or even just a small brainstorm that isn’t quite developed, get it out there in the open and start talking about it. Start taking the initiative and express yourself.
Steer Clear of Negative Influences
Don’t allow yourself to become involved in negative situations or entangled with negative people at work. Remember that those people are having issues and need to deal with it on their own accordingly. Don’t fuel their fire. Try to remain a positive influence for them and suggest constructive options for them to get out of their funk. Become a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.
I have added communication to my list to basically remind myself to just do it better. Work hard at it every day. It is essential to teamwork, productivity and innovation. Period.
This year change your focus. Make your career personal. Set your career resolutions up now and watch them become part of your career goals for a lifetime. Here’s to you in 2018!
As a project manager for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Erin plans, organizes, secures and manages resources for the firm’s many service and program areas, including providing assistance and constant communication with clients and sponsors and serving as an even liaison. Her primary duties include overseeing and managing the specifics of all Boomer Consulting, Inc. communities, such as the Boomer Technology Circles, CIO Circle, Managing Partner Circle, Advisor Circle, Talent Circle, Lean Circle, NextGen Circle and the P3 Leadership Academy.”