As you reflect upon 2011 – here are a few questions to get you started:
- Did you get better at your work?
- Did you help advance those around you? Are you a better leader?
- Are you more influential? Did you advance your organization’s goals?
- Did you improve your skill set and your mindset?
- Did your networking generate a positive ROI?
- Did your perspectives change about what you should be doing for a living?
- Did the industry you serve discover your unique talent?
- Were you asked to give a keynote and/or contribute to a blog?
- Did you “package yourself (your brand)” better for success?
- Are you making more money? Do you feel more successful and significant?
1. Smaller Networks of Influential People
Invest in a smaller, more focused network of people that can add value to your career and help give you the insights you need to broaden your perspective. Making the right choices in people will save you time, money and frustration.
Unlike the stock market, when people you invest in aren’t adding value, it is unlikely they will change. Remember your time is your most precious resource. Know that your network values your time and what you bring to the table. Avoid spending time with leeches and loafers.
2. Improve Your Speaking and Negotiation Skills
Speaking and writing represent two of the most important skills for career success. Mastering the art of communication is more important than ever at a time when trust and relationship building is at a premium.
One of the wisest investments I’ve made is taking an improvisational course. Whether you are shy or not, this class makes you think on your feet and keeps you on your toes. Learning to talk about something you don’t know much about is a powerful skill. This is a non-traditional approach of improving your speaking and negotiation abilities. It’s also a great way to broaden your network.
3. Develop Your Wealth in Resources
Entrepreneurship isn’t just a business term anymore; it’s a way of life. You don’t need to be an entrepreneur to be entrepreneurial. In fact, entrepreneurship isn’t just about making money but rather about creating the wealth in resources that authentic relationships can bring.
Resources can have just as much value as money if you know what you are looking for.
4. Play a more Active Role in the Industry You Serve
If you want to advance in your career, give back to your industry. You may be a hero inside the corporate walls, but what do you mean to the industry that your company is serving? Do people know who you are because of the company you represent or because your talent is extraordinary and could help to develop the future generation of industry leaders?
Make a mark and leave your legacy on your industry. Be active, contribute and earn respect from your peers. Down the road they may help your career.
Also, use this opportunity to connect with the leaders in your industry. Know who they are, what they represent and get to know their back stories. Learn how the industry allowed them to succeed.
5. Evaluate Your Investment and Your Own Progress Each Month
Always work to improve yourself by evaluating your own performance. Write your career goals down, and the steps needed to get there. Evaluate the outcomes each month and course-correct as needed. While getting feedback from your peers and your boss is extremely important, over time you must learn how to evaluate yourself. If you believe that you need to improve your self-discipline – hire a coach.
In the end, you’ll always know if you are making progress and if your investments are paying off. Others can have an opinion, but your gut will tell you if you are making the right investment decisions. Too often people focus on what others want them to be rather than following their own passions. 2012 will be your year if you focus, invest, and stick to your plan!