Yup, another year over and the pressure of another year is upon us. To be honest, ringing in a new year is exciting but at the same time extremely intimidating.
Recently, on my regular radio workplace segment on CJAD800 Radio, my friend, journalist and talk-show host James Mennie (Twitter @jamesmennie) asked an interesting question. He asked, “Should you only develop your career skills and marketability to find a new job?” Regretfully, many people believe this and only act when they need or want to find a new job. Too many people polish themselves up when they are seeking a new job and coast in their current job.
The reality is that it really doesn’t matter whether you are starting your career or seeking career mobility the pressure is on to be better, smarter, and current on just about everything about your career and to be career marketable.
So, here are some of what I believe to be the most relevant ‘Must Do’ items for your career and professional development growth.
Learn, Learn, and Apply!
Everyone that knows me knows that I am a huge proponent for learning. I love to learn just about anything to the extent that my dear wife lovingly refers to my brain as the ‘world of useless knowledge’.
That said, learning is no longer optional…it is a necessity. An obligation. Just about every field of expertise is constantly changing and evolving. You know this is true because we all have moments realizing when we are not up to par.
Learning can be intimidating and often overwhelming. Remember that learning is about what is relevant and how you can quickly apply this new knowledge to form a new habit. Keep it simple. Determine what you need to know.
Commit to and fulfill a ‘learning’ resolution. Scale back your list to your top five (or less) knowledge needs. Plot out milestones (within 2016) as to when and how you will learn each. And make specific opportunities to practice and apply the the new skills. Because learning only counts if you can apply and use it to your benefit.
Take a Risk!
Getting out of our comfort zone is one of the most difficult things you will do. The human species is designed to evolve and change but humans typically hate change.
The problem is that change is now something that is a continuous occurrence in our careers and professional lives. and rather than resisting change, embrace it. Take it one step further, confront it by initiating it. Essentially, take a risk!
Now, I am not recommending you do something reckless or stupid. That’s not the risk I am talking about.I am suggesting a calculated or well-assessed risk that would help you, those around you, or your organization to move forward or to improve in some manner.
You know you want to do something for sometime…we all do. So do it because the risk you don’t take is the biggest risk of all.
2016 is the year you meet new people. 2016 is the year you grow your professional network by not simply adding people you your LinkedIn profile. It is time for you to get out and GET PUBLIC!
I love LinkedIn. I also hate LinkedIn. Why? Because too many people equate building their LinkedIn network to actually networking. Let’s get one thing straight, LinkedIn is not networking. LinkedIn is a result of the actual act of physically networking or meeting people.
The purpose of networking is meeting people you never met before. Yes, your mom brainwashed you not to talk to strangers but that was when you were a child, not an adult! If you want to actually make thing happen you need to meet people.
Make it a point to meet new people and make a point to reacquaint with those currently in your network. Sitting at your desk waiting for someone to make something happen for you will not happen. A network is a living organism. And like all living organisms it needs to be nurtured and cared for.
So, find people that will stimulate you to be better or to try different things. And also be a person that people will seek out to stimulate their network. Set a simple target to meet 2 to 4 people a month. Then watch how the blossoms and fruits of your nurturing deliver unexpected surprises and results.
Succeeding in today’s workplace and growing a successful career probably requires more than these three ‘must-do’ resolutions. Even so, by simply addressing some simple, easy to integrate elements is the first step to developing your career skills and marketability for your existing role or to finding a new job.