New year, new opportunities, new page!
I love some of the images and ideas associated with the beginning of a new year – with the closing of one chapter and the opening of the next. Continuing the book analogy, this is one of my favourites, "we will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day." Karen Kaiser Clark
I’m not a big fan of new year resolutions but I am a big believer in having a plan. So, if you’ve got something in mind you want to change this year, whether it’s coming back to work after a break, moving into a new role or honing your leadership skills, think about the first step that’ll help you get there, and start crafting your plan.
"Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect." Edith Lovejoy Pierce
Start with knowing yourself better and understanding where you’re at right now
Think about what’s important to you now, what you want to do more of or less of, how you want to work, how ambitious you are, how your career fits into the big picture of your life etc…and get very clear on your Values. More on how you can explore these here.
Remember, if you better understand what you value, decision-making is easier and you're more likely to feel successful and fulfilled. Doing a quick-fire personal SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) can also be really helpful to build a picture of when you’re at your best, your transferable skills, as well as the areas you might need to work on.
Then, build your plan
Depending on what you’re aiming for think about steps like…
Asking for feedback from someone you trust and respect – with questions like how am I perceived in the business? What are my leadership strengths? What one thing could I do to improve?
Considering who needs to know about your ambitions and who you can ask for support
Researching industries, sectors or potential roles you’re interested in
Testing out new skills with assignments or additional responsibilities outside of your job scope
And perhaps the most important step, building your connections. Taking the time to map out who’s in your professional network and who you need to strengthen the relationship with to reach your goals. Are any of these connections mentor-material?
Finally, set up a way to track your achievements
Take 5 minutes at the end of each week to reflect on the wins you’ve had and the challenges you’ve overcome. It’s great for building self-confidence but also for reflecting on your own progress and learning, as well as being useful info for job interviews, performance reviews, salary increase requests!
You can also use it for some intentional learning, with questions like:
What’s the most useful thing I learned this week?
Do I need to do anything differently to continue making progress?
What do I need to focus on in the coming week?
What one thing will I do next week to stretch my comfort zone?
“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely." Mike Dooley
If you want to talk through what opportunities 2022 might hold for you, get in touch!