Not feeling it at work? Itching for new challenges? Or maybe you’ve hit a plateau? If you’re ready to have a standout year and push your career to its next level, the good news is that you don’t need to wait on anyone to breathe new life into your work.
By focusing your attention and thinking differently about your job, you can ensure that you end this year on a strong note for your career. Here are seven strategies you can put to work starting right now.
Many of us get stuck in our careers because we’re confused or conflicted about what we want in this area of our lives. When you’re not clear about your career goals, it’s easy to get distracted or resentful, meaning it’ll be harder to make good decisions that will move you forward. Invest the time to reflect on what you want out of your career and set a goal that feels energizing and exciting.
Knowing what you’re naturally great at—and finding ways to bring those activities and talents into your daily work life—is a powerful way to amp up your career. Get clear on what your strengths are by taking a professional career or personality assessment. You can also look back at themes from performance reviews and talk to trusted friends and colleagues. Then look for ways to grow in these areas, whether that’s by taking on new assignments, pursuing professional development or setting benchmarks with your boss.
One of the most destructive beliefs that we perpetuate in the workplace is that work-life balance is not compatible with growing our careers. Fortunately, more companies are waking up to the reality that healthy and happy employees and managers have more impact—and are implementing policies to match this thinking. No one, however, can do it for you. To make work-life balance a reality for you, you must make it a priority. Take a stand for your own wellness and balance by making small tweaks to your schedule, work style or personal care routine.
Banish boredom at work by taking a more active approach to your on-the-job mindset. Try out these two strategies to avoid feeling stuck or bored in work that isn’t challenging you: be curious and be engaged in your environment. Showing up every day with curiosity and a willingness to be involved with what is happening around you positions you for visibility, growth and opportunities that you might never have had otherwise.
It’s often (rightly) said that relationships are the key to career success, and that’s true whether you’re looking for your next role, working across teams or taking on a leadership role. Maintain and deepen relationships with your colleagues by making it a daily priority. Consider scheduling regular time each week to reach out by email, have coffee with a colleague and get to know team members better by inviting non-work conversations.
It’s easy to dismiss the value of strong communication skills, creative problem-solving abilities, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution and other so-called “soft skills.” The reality is that these are important leadership traits and honing them will do just as much, if not more, to advance your career than growing your subject-matter expertise. If your company offers workshops, training or coaching in these areas, take full advantage of this valuable benefit. If not, there are many resources that you can access on your own. Choose one and begin.
Few people reach their goals in isolation. If you really want to make change this year, you’ll get there faster with support. Reflect on the goal you set for yourself and ask for support that reflects that goal. Perhaps you need to hire a career coach to act as an accountability partner, membership in a professional organization to build your network, a workplace mentor to learn a new role or a sponsor who will help you gain visibility in the organization.
Commit to putting a few (or all) of these strategies in place this year and you’ll open the door to a year filled with new skills, experiences and opportunities.
Sally Anne Carroll is a life / career coach for professionals and entrepreneurs who want to re-tool their work, define success on their own terms and design healthy, balanced lifestyles that match their strengths and priorities. She’s a freedom-focused advocate for helping clients reimagine, redefine and reinvent the status quo to achieve their personal vision of success and fulfillment. Sally splits her time between Portland, Oregon, and Christchurch, New Zealand.