It’s the dawn of a new year, and legions of us will be looking ahead with excitement as we embark on our annual process of making new year’s resolutions.
In my view, making new year’s resolutions is a healthy process – most of us can get so caught up in the day-to-day activity of our jobs and our lives, that we don’t often take the opportunity to take a step back and reflect on our careers as a whole.
To continue to advance in your career (and guard against becoming stagnant), I recommend that everyone have professional development goals. And, the new year is a great time to reflect back on the previous year in terms of your highs and lows, triumphs and challenges, lessons learned and skills gained. Objectively taking stock of what happened in the past provides helpful information to take into account when setting targeted goals to propel you forward in your work life.
What career goals should you consider when making a new year’s resolution?
The best goals are specific to you as an individual. In other words, there isn’t any one-size-fits-all goal that applies to everyone. For example, one person might need to tighten up with respect to time management, another might need to work on building relationships, while another needs to work on gaining a specific technical skill.
So, to pick the career resolution that is right for you, I recommend reflecting on your performance in a variety of areas to identify some potential goals.
Areas to focus on could include:
- Interpersonal skills (i.e. relationships, emotional intelligence, networking, influencing, listening)
- Leadership skills (e.g. motivating, delegating, coaching, courage)
- Execution (e.g. planning, organizing, time management, prioritization),
- Emotional factors (e.g.resilience, stress management, confidence, ability to deal with failure)
- Specific technical skills related to your job.
If you are unsure about what areas could use some work, I recommend asking others for honest feedback about what you do well, and where you could stand to improve.
Don’t forget your strengths!
In addition to focusing on areas in which you need to improve, another helpful career resolution is to come up with ways to be very intentional about leveraging your strengths. Perhaps you have a particular skill or quality that you don’t get to showcase much in the workplace. Finding ways to take advantage of your strengths can not only provide you with more enjoyment at work, it can also benefit your career when you get noticed for your abilities
What are some goals for people who want to move up the corporate ladder?
If you are already kicking butt and taking names in your current role, you also might think about where you want to go in your career. What is the next job you aspire to? Make a list of the competencies you would need in that next job, and do an honest self-assessment to determine which ones you currently lack, or could stand to develop. Based on that analysis, you can determine an appropriate career resolution to work on this year.
Also, as you move up in an organization, emotional intelligence becomes increasingly important. At a certain level, most people probably have the skills to do the work, but the ones who stand out are the ones who can influence, engage, coach, and relate to people effectively. So, working on your EQ can give you a leg up relative to the competition. By developing deep insights into yourself and others, and learning to use those insights to interact effectively, you will be well on your way in your career.
Finally, there is some truth to the saying, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” In the business world (and elsewhere), a lot of work gets done through relationships. So, you should always work on building new relationships and cultivating the ones you currently have. Have lunch with a colleague, walk around the office and connect with others. Humans are social beings, and we yearn for interpersonal connection. As you are connecting with others, make sure you are coming from a giving mindset that is not all about you and your desire to get ahead. Connecting on a genuine level will make others feel good about you, and create deep relationships that will serve you well in your career.
Are you making any career resolutions for 2015? Share them in the comments below!
Could you use some help in achieving your career resolutions? Check out these resources:
My last two posts have been about relationships, and this is my last post in the series I did for MindBodyGreen. If you’ve been following the my last few articles, you now know how to communicate effectively and have some relationship resolutions that can improve the quality of your interactions.
Still, we all make mistakes. We might do something we shouldn’t have or, perhaps we accidentally develop foot-in-mouth disease and wish we could take back our words. So, how do you own up for your wrongdoings and get your relationship back on track? How do you say you’re sorry so that the other person knows how much you mean it? Apologizing can feel uncomfortable, but it is necessary to maintain our relationships. This post will help you out by giving you some tips that can make your apologies run more smoothly. And, while I wrote it with personal relationships in mind, all of the information applies to business relationships as well.
Now you’ve done it. Despite your best intentions, you dropped the ball in some way. You feel remiss, and want to apologize for the action or inaction you’ve taken (or not taken) to disappoint.
Maybe you were too optimistic about what you could accomplish, and you missed an important deadline. Or, you blurted out something hurtful to a loved one. Or maybe you betrayed a close friend.
So how do you best own up to your mistake and make sure the other person knows how sorry you are? How do you apologize with strength, with integrity, while also showing vulnerability and compassion?
Take a deep breath and get ready. Here are some tried and true tips to make amends …
As you know from my other post for MindBodyGreen on communication strategies for relationships, I believe it’s important to attend to your work life in a holistic fashion. Because problems at home can spill over into the workplace and vice versa, it’s essential that you take stock of all aspects of your life to perform at your peak.
In particular, healthy relationships can provide you with an important source of support to deal with the stresses that can arise in the workplace. However, if your relationships are a source of stress, they can be a distraction and a drain that prevents you from doing your best work.
If you want to make sure that your relationships are up to par, read this article for some helpful resolutions to make in 2015.
For many of us, our romantic relationships are one of the most central part of our lives. When things are going well, they are a source of total joy; but when they’re not, our relationships can bring about heartache. Though ultimately, our happiness really depends on how we handle our relationships, and how we treat ourselves.
There are probably things we have done or said in our relationships this year that have made things a little more tough than we’d like. The good news is that we can change — and what better time to reflect and set intentions for a better relationship than the end of the year?
If you want this year to be one in which you have the best love life possible, consider making these relationship resolutions:
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As more and more information emerges about the benefits of taking a holistic approach to life and work, chances are you’ve stumbled across terms like E.Q., positive psychology, and mindfulness. And, like many people, you may be more familiar with the terms themselves than their actual meanings. To help set the record straight and enhance your understanding of some valuable concepts, here is a handy glossary which offers you a complete overview of some terms relevant to this area.
Also known as EQ, Emotional Intelligence is a term that has become increasingly prevalent in the business world. It refers to a person’s ability to monitor the emotions of himself and others and use this information to guide his thinking, behavior and actions. An increasing number of studies have shown that those with higher EQ levels enjoy better mental health, enhanced on-the-job performance and highly developed leadership skills. As such, hiring managers are consistently on the lookout for EQ in potential job candidates.
While psychology has historically focused on human dysfunction and mental illness, this trend has shifted since the turn of the current century. Positive psychologists use scientific methods to study the conditions associated with helping both individuals and communities to prosper and perform at their best. The term is gaining rapid popularity in the world of business where corporate psychologists such as myself are drawing on the science to help companies and employees achieve greater wellbeing, and in turn, drive more profit for the companies in which they work.
Originating from ancient Buddhist meditation practices, mindfulness has since emerged as a contemporary term which describes a person’s dynamic awareness and acceptance of his/her thoughts, emotions, sensory experiences and surrounding environment. It calls on individuals to experience and non-judgmentally stay aware of the immediate moment, rather than be distracted by thoughts of the past or present. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a prominent figure in mindfulness defines it as, “paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.” Mindfulness has proven to be a valuable practice in a variety of realms and is now used across an array of areas including corporate, education, health and social rehabilitation.
As the name suggests, wellness relates to a person’s overall state of wellbeing encompassing the mind, body and spirit. This balance is actively sought out by an individual through decisions and choices that nurture the creation of an all-encompassing healthy lifestyle. While the term is incredibly broad, common wellness dimensions include mental, physical, spiritual, environmental, social and occupational.
Spirituality is a hard one to define as it can mean different things to different people. That said, most spirituality encounters involve a path to self-transformation, inner discovery and meaningful experiences. Some of the more popular spiritual journeys involve religion, meditation, nature, reflection and sensory experiences. While work and spirituality have often been considered separate domains, research shows that they can co-exist to create better outcomes.
As you know, I truly believe that a holistic approach to life and work is most important. If your personal life is going well, that supports your success at work. However, if you are having relationship challenges, that can spillover into your work life, and make it more difficult to perform at your peak.
With that in mind, I recently wrote an article on MindBodyGreen with a very practical tip that will help you to strengthen your relationship. And, while I wrote it with romantic relationships in mind, the truth is, it will bolster your work relationships as well. I hope you enjoy it!
When most of my clients want to improve their communication skills at home or at work, they focus on how to better handle conflict. They want to have more empathy, to avoid being critical, or to make sure they don’t shut down when hearing uncomfortable information from loved ones or coworkers. They want to “fight fair,” to get all the issues out on the table without getting defensive, and to listen attentively in the process.
And let’s face it: all of these behaviors are truly important for navigating our interactions with others. After all, when two people, with two distinct life histories, engage with one another, differences in opinion arise. Handling these difficulties well could be the difference between a successful resolution and a knock down, dragged-out fight.
However, while arguments and conflict tend to get a lot of airplay because of how dramatic and emotionally-laden they can be, research suggests that you are making a mistake if you don’t also pay attention to how you respond to your partner’s good news.
In fact, psychologist Dr. Shelly Gable argues that how we respond to each other in good times can serve as a barometer of the health of the relationship, and that it can better predict the quality of the relationship than our reactions to bad news.
So, how should you respond to your partner’s good news? Gable suggests there are four possible ways to react. See if you see yourself in any of the responses to the scenario below…