For many of us, the new year is when we take stock of our lives and set fresh goals for the coming year. We assess our overall health, the state of our dreams, hobbies we want to take up, habits we want to break. But what about your career? This is also an excellent time to take a look at where you are in your career, where you want to go, and to see if those two points are lining up.
Where Are You Now?
Look at where you are in your career. Are you still in a position with a company that you enjoy and feel passionately about? If so, what are the elements that make you feel this way, so you can capture for future reference? Are there areas you can double down on to develop yourself? What about new stretch projects to broaden your horizons? If not, you need to do some serious soul-searching. What is it about your current position that’s making you unhappy? Is it your position, or has something changed with your company and you no longer feel as good about working there? Take some time to sit down and decide what it is that’s making you feel unsatisfied. And what would make you feel energized and engaged? Is it something that can be fixed in your current situation, or is it time to start putting out some feelers?
Where Do You Want To Go?
Next take a look at where you want to be in the next year, five years, maybe eve ten years. For those who have a significant other, sharing these goals are important because you’ll likely need his or her support and help along the way. Unless your goal is to still be exactly where you are, you’ll need to figure out where you’re trying to go and ensure the path you’re on will lead you there. Are you progressing as quickly as you would like in order to get to that place? If not, put some time into figuring out why. Is your lack of certain skills holding you back from progressing? If that’s the case, talk to your manager or supervisor about how you can improve. What skills do they feel you’re lacking in, and are there classes or assignments you can take to improve them? A mentor you can approach? Figure out what you need to do in order to gain the skills you lack, then put it into practice.
What is the Next Step?
Once you have your path clearly formed in your mind, and a plan for how to get there, schedule a meeting with your supervisor, manager, mentor, sponsor, someone to sit down with and go over your plan. Ask for their feedback, so they feel vested in your path, too. Are there any skills you need to build up that you missed on your list? Are there any stretch projects you can take on that will help you build those skills and bring some attention from higher-ups your way? What can you do today that will bring you closer to the goal you set for yourself?
What Are Your Superpowers?
We all have one, if not more. Do you know what yours are? And is the path you’ve set for yourself one that will maximize and highlight your superpowers? If not, that doesn’t mean you won’t succeed, but you might need a little extra training in areas you haven’t thought of. For example, say your superpower is always knowing the right people to put in the right places. If your career goal is to head up the department where you currently work, that’s great. Your superpower will definitely come in handy once you get there. But if you know that right now you don’t have the leadership skills you need to do that, use your superpower to find the right people to help you develop that skill.
And if you have no idea what your superpowers are, ask people. Ask you manager, your mentor, your co-workers, even your friends and family. It’s often a lot easier to see someone else’s superpowers than our own. Ask around, make note of the responses you get, and see if there are any common threads. If everyone you know says the same thing or something similar about you, that’s your superpower. Another way to discover your superpowers, one of Tenshey’s favorites, is through the assessment in the book StrengthsFinder 2.0. Playing to your strengths is a great skill to have – but you do need to know what they are.
This is the perfect time of year to figure out where you are and where you want to go. Take some time in January to sit down and really map out where you need to go in the coming year to get to your ultimate goal.
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