"No one owes you a great career...You need to earn it and the process won't be easy!" ~Cal Newport
Let's face it. The 2020 statistics for working women are dismal, to say the least. The changing landscape of work and the economy has produced a lot of uncertainty and apprehension over the future of your career how to navigate the many changes.
Even with all that's been going on, there's never been a better time to focus on yourself and what you want in your career. New opportunities are emerging every day, and for you to take advantage of these new and changing developments, it will require you to shift your mindset, habits, and long-term vision of your career.
Now is NOT the time to put your dreams on hold, but to prioritize, leverage, and go after what you want.
Here are seven new habits to develop in 2021 to keep you ready for what comes your way and take decisive action for the next chapter of your career.
1. Read Something New
Make a commitment to update your knowledge by reading professional development and industry-specific books and articles. Whether you're thinking about advancing in your field, stepping into a leadership position, or transitioning into a new field, learning from experts in your current or new field will give some great insights that you can leverage to your advantage. While books are great, articles will provide you with the latest and most current thinking on a particular subject matter, so you may want to think about getting a subscription so you can stay-up-to-date.
2. Update Your Digital Presence
Our worlds became digital in 2020 and it's how we now connect, meet, and communicate with our co-workers, managers, family, and friends. Therefore, you'll want to make sure your online presence is updated, branded, and represents you in the best possible light. 87% of recruiters regularly use LinkedIn and other social medial channels to find or vet job candidates and 89% have hired someone through LinkedIn. In addition, 85% of new jobs are found through networking. Also, be sure to conduct a Google search of your name so you can do an audit of what's coming with your name. Better to find out and fix it now than waiting until a potential employer asks you about it during an interview.
3. Build a Networking Plan
Now is the perfect time to block out your schedule for virtual coffee chats with both new and existing connections. With the absence of live networking events, the casual meeting at Starbucks, or a chance meeting in an elevator, you'll have to be proactive in building new and strengthening old relationships. Make a list of people you'd like to meet and reconnect with and then schedule away.
4. Engage in Microlearning
If you've been wondering about going back to school, consider a different option--microlearning. Microlearning involves short, focused pieces of training that allow you to consume content in short interval periods of time. The content is highly focused and specialized in giving you the necessary tools, tips, strategies, and resources you need to upgrade your skills. Commit to learning something new every month through an online course, follow a few relevant podcasts or binge on some useful and informative YouTube content or TEDx talks. Investing time in your learning is one of the best investments you can make this year.
5. Engage in More Self-Care
Burnout has been on the rise since COVID forced so many people to work from home, and for some, home school. Start and stop times became blurred, and people found themselves working non-stop. This has had a significant impact on our mental, physical, and emotional well-being as we started to find ourselves exhausted and depleted. If this describes your life in 2020, commit to disconnecting from work and carving out time to engage in self-care. Get more rest, move your body, change your diet, and most importantly, unplug from the computer screen, work, and your frequent Zoom call. By going yourself time to be well-rested and replenish yourself, you'll be able to consistently perform at your best without exhausting your most precious resource....you.
6. Set Quarterly Goals
It's wonderful to set yearly revenue, career, or health goals, but it can feel a bit overwhelming when you look at that goal in its entirety. When climbers prepare to scale a mountain, they don't focus on the mountain; they focus on what it takes to climb and reaching each checkpoint. So, while you may have set your goals for the year, take a moment to break them down into quarterly goals (your checkpoints) and focus on what it will take to reach that mirco-goal. What habits will you have to develop or stop? What behaviors will need to be adopted? What challenges will you need to prepare yourself for? Who will hold you accountable and provide support? 65% of goals are met when they have both support and accountability. As you plan your career goals, make sure you notify your crew. As the African proverb says, "if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together."
7. Celebrate Your Successes
What you focus on expands. When you focus on and celebrate your big and small wins, you'll find yourself consistently achieving your goals. Acknowledging your wins, no matter the size, fuels your motivation, increases your confidence and keeps you pushing forward. It also evokes a positive attitude about the tasks and activities at hand because what you're truly celebrating are the new habits and behaviors you've developed that will give you long term wins. If you don't celebrate those big and small wins, you'll train your brain to think that what you're doing isn't all that significant or exciting. Take a moment to create a list of your past wins to boost your confidence and remind yourself how good you really are. Then be sure to keep track moving forward when you're considering making a change or improvement in your career. You'll remember that you can truly accomplish what you want.
By putting these actions and activities into play, you'll be sure to increase the likelihood of achieving your professional and career goals.
Here's to a phenomenal year!