By Samantha Thompson
The new year is (finally) here and with it comes a host of opportunities to reset, rebrand, and reevaluate your current career path. If we have learned anything from 2020, it is that change is inevitable. Check out our five resolutions for professional growth as we march into 2021.
1. Expand your network with mentors!
It’s always a great idea to have a mentor within the company you work and outside the company to get two different perspectives. Mentors within your company will be your advocates. They can support your growth and career advancement, as well as be there as a coach to guide you and give advice. Once you have found a mentor within your company the next step is to expand your network and find mentors or connections outside your association. This can be intimidating, but luckily with technology today such as LinkedIn, it makes it easier to find connections and leaders. Sending a simple request to connect, along with a short description on your career aspirations or possibly a question, will get their attention. Expanding your network is a great way to get your name and face out there, especially when you need an employee referral.
2. Make a five-year plan
We aren’t talking about fantasizing where you want to be in five years. Plan out HOW you want to get there. Write down where you see yourself in five years; whether it be a promotion, certain amount of wealth, living in a different city, etc. and then write out the specific tasks and sacrifices it will take to get there. Visual boards are a great way to envision your future and keep you focused.
3. Ask for multilateral feedback on yourself – don’t wait for the yearly reviews
Ask your boss, peers and mentors how you can be more effective or why they appreciate you. Getting feedback from different areas will also help you see how you perform in different ways and what areas you need to improve. When we wait for feedback yearly, we often forget what we need to work on until our yearly review comes around again. We get busy with work or other projects and forget to work on ourselves. Getting feedback once a quarter or even once a month will help keep you motivated to grow.
4. Create good habits and break the bad ones
Habits will help you achieve your goals – along with your five-year plan – and help you be more effective. Think of goals as macro and habits as micro. Start focusing in on the micro rather than the macro. In other words, instead of focusing on goals start focusing on the building blocks and habits that will get you there. List out the good and bad habits you currently have and then the good habits you want to acquire. Once you have a list of the bad habits come up with a game plan on how to break the bad habits. These small changes will help you be more effective in your work and everyday life. For more information on learning how to break bad habits check out “Atomic Habits” by James Clear.
5. Keep a growth mindset
A growth mindset sees failures as opportunities, learns from feedback and is inspired by other’s success. You understand that you need to put in effort to improve or learn more in order to be successful. Along with asking for feedback on yourself, once you learn what you need to work on take this a positive step forward. You now know your weaknesses and you can start working on making them your strengths. If we have learned anything from the past year, change is inevitable and having a growth mindset will help you overcome obstacles you may face in the work environment and in life.
The author is Project Coordinator at CAS and is a member of the Columbus Leadership Council. Connect with her on LinkedIn.