5 Ways to Step Up Your Professional Game Next Year
2017 has been quite a year of change for so many of us. Are you really ready for the new year to roll around? Do you expect a raise, promotion, or job change? Maybe your list of goals has a few items checked off, but you haven't finished everything you’ve wanted to. Maybe you decided at the beginning of the holiday season that you're going to try again, do it better, or finish next year.
You know that procrastination kills, right?
You may have a head full of goals you’re thinking about for next year, totally want to reevaluate your professional image, or fully blossom in 2018. Girl, we are about to do #allthethings.
Here are the TOP 5 WAYS to step up your professional game next year.
Take a look within.
Everything that we do begins with our character and who we are. I really like how Bill Treasurer says this in his blog, "character is the defining attribute of professionalism. A key aspect of professional character for anyone - leader, employee, or even client - is integrity." If you take a look at anyone you admire, what is one thing that stand out to you about them? I'm willing to bet that one of those things is the fact that you trust them and they come across as authentic. They're probably pretty well put together and take care of their professional image. They are also generally considered to be a positive person, right? Let's face it, negativity is such a #buzzkill. Also, anyone who demonstrates traits of trust and acts with integrity in any situation is admired. Take a look within yourself and how you go about your day. Do you treat people with respect? Are you someone that others feel safe confiding in? Have you taken intentional steps to act with integrity in stressful situations?
Your body language and appearance can also influence how you think, feel, and how others see you. Your physical presence should align with where you are heading and it should project quality, purpose, confidence and personal power. I'm sure you've heard the saying "you should dress for the job that you want, not the job that you have" - how do you feel about that? Personally, I feel that we should strive to be better at these things each day so that it becomes a habit that we can form and naturally show up as our best selves with each new day. Speaking about your day, lets take a look at your daily routine.
Evaluate your daily routine.
Some of the most successful people that I follow have one thing in common - a routine. As Tri mentions in this blog, a good routine does many things for you, including increasing efficiency. If there is ever a time that we need to be more efficient, it is now. How many companies out there now have departments dedicated only to improvement and streamlining processes? A lot. The days that we could get comfortable doing things the way we did them in prior years are long gone and you have limited control over your 9-5. I'm not trying to scare you, but I mean you could lose your job tomorrow if someone finds a way to streamline you out of your chair. If you can be more efficient, that's one way to ensure job security these days.
I'd challenge you to pull out your calendar, day planner, or even your phone (I live off of my Google Calendar, which syncs to everything) and take a look at your week. What time do you start your day? How many hours are you working? In traffic? What are you doing to take care of yourself? How are your eating habits? Before I totally overwhelm you, think about those things. If there are gaps in your routine, be aware of those and get more intentional about planning your day. I wake up the same time everyday for the most part (even on weekends, but I have to admit - I stay in bed and go back to sleep once I walk my dog), I workout 3-4 days per week, I listen to podcasts & SkimmNotes like an addict, and I have dedicated trashy reality #BravoTV time to balance out my dedicated development time. Life is ALL about balance, girl. We all know that everything is best in moderation, so be sure that you have a balanced routine so you can feel your best and continue getting shit done.
Identify your strengths and tap into them.
THIS. Have you ever taken a personality assessment? There is a really great assessment that I recommend to my friends and clients called 16Personalities. This is a free personality assessment that takes about 12 minutes and I'd have to say that it's accurate AF (I'm an ESTJ, by the way). Taking things a step further, it is important to understand what your natural strengths are and how they can be used in a more professional setting. For this, I highly recommend Gallup StrengthsFinder. You can grab the book here, which includes a code to take the assessment. This explores 34 themes of talent and helps you to identify the top 5 strengths you should be focusing on, rather than where you may be falling short. For us to be our best each day, we have to identify and accept what our natural strengths really are so that we can stop wondering why we are "missing" something. You're not missing shit. You just need to appreciate the skills you have, understand how those translate into your work life, or how you can be better about using them. Maria Granovsky says it best in her blog, "if you’re finding yourself saying “this can never be me because I’m not [fill in the blank]” – listen to yourself. This is your opportunity to catch a glimpse of your blind spot. And identifying this blind spot is a critical step in charting a course that relies on your own strengths to achieving your goals".
Examine your social circle.
Have you ever heard that you're the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with? I'd say that's pretty true. I've noticed that I have taken a few steps back when it comes to going out and socializing this year for quite a few reasons, but it also helped me to realize that although I love my friends, I need to expand my network. We may not all be in the same place in our lives, and that's ok. It's perfectly fine and normal to spend time around people who are in similar situations, or aspire to do what you may also be trying to do. Relationships are all about care, growth, and support and surrounding yourself with like-minded people is pretty important. As Carly Benson mentions in her blog, "Listen, I’m not saying to get rid of all your relationships, but what I am saying is to spend some time reevaluating who and where you spend your time. If it’s not a fit with who you truly aspire to be, make some adjustments. Choose places, people and conversations wisely because they become a piece of you. People are the building blocks of your success. So, make sure your architecture matches the life you intend to build for yourself. In not, perhaps, it’s time for some renovations.Keep your inner circle tight. Choose your tribe wisely. Your tribe affects your vibe."
Set your intentions for the next 90 days.
Setting up a plan is a #majorkey for me. I have been using this amazing journal to set my 30-day goals and track my daily routine, progress, and weekly activities. I don't claim to be perfect, and in fact, there are many months that I didn't even use the journal. Having a tool to help you set intentions or get you back on track is always great, and the point of it is to form a habit. What are some of the things you're hoping to accomplish next year? Where are some of the places you want to go? What are some of the things you'll need to do that? How are you going to make it happen? If you notice that I started with questions to brainstorm, then started asking more specific questions that probably made you cringe -- that was the process of moving from a plan to creating a goal. Doing this will help you to set your intentions for the year and ensure that you stick with them. Be sure that your goals are specific, have deadlines, and simple actions that you can take to get there. Don't forget to be patient with yourself.
PS. Don't forget that writing down your plan is NOT the same as writing down a specific goal.
Next year is going to be monumental for you. If you want it to be and if you do the work. Let's be real. All the #positivevibes and prayers in the world won't get you anywhere unless you take ACTION. Start somewhere. It doesn't have to be perfect. It can be messy, and honestly it probably will be. I highly recommend that you join a women's network if you haven't already. This will connect you to more professional women like you, get access to webinars, events, mentors and all things #girlpower.
I recently had this conversation with a friend of mine and realized that I did a horrible job of factoring in the shit life may throw at me and how I really planned on handling it. You'll probably have a few failures coming at you, but you have to factor those into your plan so that they don't paralyze you when they happen. Ain't nobody got time for that. Think about the routine you have, the intentions you have, and promise yourself that you'll keep pushing forward no matter what life throws at you. I saw a post on Instagram that really resonated with me -- 2016: the caterpillar; 2017: the cocoon; and 2018: the butterfly. It's time for you to fly, baby, fly! Are you ready?
Brittanni Below, MBA is a coach, speaker, and trainer based in Houston, TX that provides services to help fierce and self-driven women to live a more balanced, healthy, and more fulfilling life. By fully understanding your unique talents and gifts and what is distracting you from being successful, Brittanni helps you transform fear, lack of confidence, and life challenges, into lessons that push you to crush the goals that you've set for yourself. If you're interested in personal coaching, book a session with Brittanni here.