So it’s 2018 and you’re ready to really ramp things up in your career. Enough going with the flow, and no more sitting on the sidelines, this is the year that you’re really going to make things happen.
That’s great! But how can you be sure? What exactly can you do differently this year to make sure that you have an even more successful year than last year. Because after all, doing the same thing and expecting different results is a sign of madness, and we’re all a little crazy but that’s not the good kind!
Here are 10 things you can do differently to make sure you stand out from everyone else and get the kind of recognition and success that you truly deserve this year.
Set clear goals for your career in 2018
If you’re serious about making this year a success and making strides in your career, then you’ll need to be clear about your goals. Just thinking about what you want won’t make it happen and as the year goes on, before you know it, you’re likely to be lost and off course, wondering what was so exciting about 2018 anyway.
Even if you’re having appraisals with your manager, it’s worth setting yourself some personal goals and checking in on them as the year goes on. If things change, you can always pivot and change course, but without a map of where you’re headed, worst case scenario, you're likely to end up feeling stuck in a rut, fed up and unhappy with how you've let another year go to waste. So grab yourself a fancy notepad and set yourself some goals if you really want to kick ass this year.
2. Speak up.
Do you find yourself sitting in meetings with lots of great ideas but never have the nerve to say anything, and have you ever pointed something out to a colleague that would make a real difference only to find out that they’re suddenly championing a great new cause they came up with(argh!).
If this sounds familiar, then this is the year you speak up. Because no one is gong to hand you success for doing great work quietly, whether it’s an amazing project you want to lead on or a presentation you’d love the chance to do, if you know you’re the best woman for the job, ask for it. Bottom line is if you don’t ask, you don’t get, and the more you throw your hat in the ring the more you’ll be seen as the kind of person who has drive and ambition, and what’s more, you’ll be seen as the confident, go getter that every company wants to progress.
3. Challenge more
Speaking up in meetings and asking for what you want is a great start, but speaking doesn’t stop there. Speaking up isn’t just about saying the things that people want to hear, it’s often about challenging.
We all know that its good to challenge, and no one likes a yes man, or woman! But it’s easier said than done. Did you ever get asked to do something by your boss, and go ahead and do it, all the while thinking, “ there must be a better way than this”
If you analyse anyone who is successful, one thing they will definitely have no trouble doing is challenging things. Whether it’s challenging the way things are done in a bid to improve them, or challenging and questioning theirs and other people’s actions. All to make sure that their actions have a purpose and a valuable outcome.
Being able to speak your mind and challenging the status quo will show that you’re really thinking and not just blindly following the crowd and going through the motions. You might even help others see things in a great new light. If others don’t agree with your perspective, at least they’ll respect you for the fact you had the courage to speak your mind.
If you’re going to challenge your boss, you might not want to pick that moment when she’s flying off the handle about something, like anything picking the right moment will make all the difference.
4. Get out of your comfort zone
How obvious right! You’re probably thinking just that. But, of all the times you’ve read about the importance of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, how many times a day or week do you actually do it?
If you're like most bright intelligent and amazing women, the answer is still likely to be not very often.
There’s a reason it’s called a comfort zone, because it’s just that! Comfortable! This means, that every day you have to actually fight the urge to stay there and push yourself, sometimes even force yourself to do things you wouldn’t normally do.
Where your career’s concerned, the list of things currently not inside your comfort zone could include speaking to those people in that other department you hardly know, maybe even having lunch with them, asking to do that presentation when you really don’t want to, or challenging your boss!
Whatever it is that lies beyond your comfort zone, those are the things that will hold you back from that promotion, that next great career move, a career change or even starting your own business. So, make the decision now, that you will do at least one thing each day that makes you really uncomfortable, and share what it is with us all in the comments below.
5. Get up an hour earlier
This may sound like a horrid pointless exercise but it makes such a difference!
I love my bed, and I would have previously vowed that I was a night owl. But this hasn’t changed the fact that when I get up earlier it changes my whole day.
This isn’t about just getting up early for the sake of it, it’s what you choose to do with that extra time that counts. These are the type of things that will set you up for the best day ever. So, before you read on, make the promise to get up 1 hour earlier, this way you’ll be able to do the next 5 things on the list.
6. Be intentional about your days
Now that you’re getting up earlier, one thing you can do is set your mind up for a successful day.
Think about the day ahead and decide, exactly how you want it to go, running yourself though the things you need to do and seeing them going well, great even!
This might all sound a bit whoo whoo, but just try it for a week and see what difference it makes. The chances are you’re more likely to get off on the right foot which will have the knock on effect of making the day go much better ( more on this here )
7. Build new relationships
It’s great to spend time with people we know, whether that’s colleagues or friends. But, by doing this, most of us are missing out on potentially some of the most amazing and rewarding relationships we could have. The relationships with new and interesting people we just haven’t met yet.
As cheesy as it sounds, this is one of the most important aspects of succeeding, progressing, learning and generally getting anywhere in life, because, as the great quote goes, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”Jim Rohn. Clearly, it’s important to pick them wisely.
8. Master the art of the ASK
We’ve already touched on this point when it comes to speaking up, but it’s so important it deserves a spot of its own. It’s easy to look around and wonder how some people seem to have all the “luck” and great things just happening for them.
But did you ever ask them how these things came about? Sometimes, it’s just a matter of asking. Whether it’s a pay rise, a promotion, a flexible work arrangement, a better desk at the office, an office of your own, ok, maybe that’s pushing it, but why not! If you don’t ask for things you just won’t know what’s possible.
At the very least you’ll find out what you need to do to get the thing, then you can do what’s necessary to get it.
Asking is not just for discounts!
9. Invest in your own learning and development
If you’re reading this, you’re clearly a savvy career woman who takes control of her own life. When it comes to personal development, this is no different. Great company’s may invest in training but that might not be enough and it might not cover what you want or need.
If you’re serious about getting ahead and being the best you, then at some point, you’re going to have to invest in yourself, whether that’s money or time spent learning new skills, it’s worth it.
So, think about something you’ve wanted to learn, improve, excel at and why not commit to taking a short course ( in company or outside) to finally get yourself where you want to be. Whether that’s improving your excel skills, picking up coding skills, improving your presentation or communication skills.
There’s a good reason that successful athletes have coaches and why the term CPD ( continued professional development) exists, life is about learning and developing and you can’t do either with no support.
It might just be the thing that helps you stand out in your next interview, or helps you finally make that career change you’ve been longing for.
10. Start a mastermind
If you’re thinking of starting your own business then a mastermind might be something you’ve read lots about, but even if you want to step it up in the corporate world, a mastermind might just be the ticket.
This is a group of people meeting to discuss ideas, challenges and solutions and helping each other to stay on point and on course to achieve their goals.
So a mastermind is invaluable whatever your career path and it can be as simple as meeting over dinner to talk about your industry and how you can all get ahead and dominate ( clearly no sharing of trade secrets, this is about your personal growth)
You’ll learn new things from other peoples’ experiences and you’ll also find out just how much you know and the value that you can bring, which we definitely need to be reminded of from time to time.
So, there you have it, 10 things which you can do this year to make your career a rip roaring success.
So, go out and grab that beautiful journal and be ready to take note of all your successes along the way.