January 2020 Career Strategy Newsletter – CAREERCompass, LLC
Let me just say…
Happy New Year!
The beginning of a new year and new decade can bring about wonderful possibilities if you CHOOSE your path and not just allow things to happen to you.
Treat Everyday Like it’s January 1
It’s that time of year when we (symbolically) throw out the old and embrace the new. We tell ourselves THIS year is going to be different; THIS year I’m going to make a change.
From cleaning out closets, to losing those pesky pounds, to looking for a new job, there’s something about the new year that brings about an excitement that we can and will make this year better than the last.
We start mapping out our steps, doing our research, setting up coffee meetings, and buying our supplies. Oftentimes, at this stage we start out strong but, after a short period of time, our excitement begins to wane. We begin to realize it’s going to take a discipline we aren’t sure we have.
We persist for a couple of weeks, then something happens–suddenly, we don’t have time.
- “You know, I have some deadlines at work that are taking up all of my time.”
- “The traffic is so bad that I have to get up super early to get to work and I don’t get home until late. There’s no time before or after work to get anything else done.”
- “My kids’ activities keep me going so much, there’s no time for me to focus on my goals.”
Three months later, “Goals? What goals?”
By December 31st, we’re in the same place we were on January 1.
Too often, once we realize all it’ll take to achieve our goals, we stop being interested and start making excuses (see above).
Raise your hand if you’re guilty!
Why do we get excited when something is new, but once the newness wears off, as the late, great Blues singer and guitarist B.B. King said, “The thrill is gone”?
Why do we like looking up at a new mountain to climb more than looking down on the one we’ve conquered?
The new, shiny object is always sexy, but it’s not complete. Heck, it’s not even started in most cases! When it comes to the shiny and sexy of your new goal, the only way to experience the full jubilation of it is to work to achieve it and then achieve it.
If you’ve set new goals for 2020, here are a few ways to keep your motivation going so you can celebrate what you’ve accomplished on December 31:
- Break your goals down into really small bites (as many as 366 bites to be exact!). When you set a goal, the goal and its corresponding actions required can be overwhelming. However, when you break your goals down, you can do something as simple as record an idea on paper so you don’t lose it, and still make progress.
- Challenge yourself to wake up everyday and view your goals as if you’re thinking about them on January 1. Think about how wonderful it’ll be to achieve them. Take each day’s effort one day at a time. If you miss a day or a week due to other obligations or fatigue, don’t beat yourself up. Give your distraction(s) a deadline and then begin working on your goals again where you left off.
- Set milestones you can celebrate. There’s nothing like celebrating something you’ve achieved. The celebrations don’t have to be small, but they need to be meaningful for you. For instance, I’m working on reducing my sugar intake, so a meaningful reward for me would be something sweet to eat. Why not create small rewards you can enjoy after completing every five action steps? It’s a great incentive to keep you going.
If you follow this approach, I guarantee you’ll be celebrating at the end of the year and not feeling guilty or sad because your goals weren’t achieved.
Bloom Where You’re Planted
While a new year often motivates people to leave one employer for another, there are just as many people who don’t want to leave, but still want change. You may like your organization, but don’t enjoy the work. Or, you may have many years invested and don’t want to walk away from them.
If you can relate, there are a few things you can do to improve your career right where you are and bloom where you’re planted:
- Make a commitment to yourself that you’ll do the required work to improve your current situation. As I reiterated above, many people start a new journey with excitement but quickly fizzle out. If you want change, you must commit to doing the work. There’s no way around it!
- Don’t make a career move until you know what it is you want. You know I preach this all of the time, and it’s still true. Until you know what you want (your goal), it’s hard to know a good from a bad choice. Make good choices, and buy my book to help you figure out what you want (yes, this is a shameful plug!).
- Learn all you can about what’s required to get you to your new destination. This may mean doing some internal networking with leaders, Human Resources, or the people in those jobs to make sure you’re clear about the expectations.
- If you don’t have them already, begin working to find and secure a mentor and a sponsor. A mentor can help you navigate the landscape from behind the scenes and help you make the right moves; often 1-2 levels above you. A sponsor is an influential leader who can make or influence decisions on your behalf to help you make the moves you want; often 2-3 levels above you.
A lot if often said about leaving an employer for new ground, but there’s nothing wrong with remaining. Both choices have benefits, it all depends upon what’s important to you!
“The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. It’s often greenest where it’s watered.”
“Find your joy in something finished, and not a thousand things begun.”
May 2020 be your best year yet!
To your success,
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