The first day of the rest of your year

Career Opportunities podcast logoThe first day of the rest of your year
By Douglas E. Welch

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I am putting my series of Career Prescriptions on hold this week, in order to bring you this message about the New Year. This is your year. This is your time. This is your career, but it is up to you to make it happen.

I know. I know. Yet one more thing you need to worry about and worry over, but that really isn’t the case. Building your career this year doesn’t require worry — only attention. It is not something to frightened you, it is something to be cultivated. Your career is not something that could come crashing down around your ears, it is something you are building upon, if you pay some small amount of attention to its care and feeding.

Too many of us let our careers, and our lives for that matter, happen to us. We move from job to job not because of any planning or desire, but rather because our current job disappeared, forcing us to find another. This is no way to live or work. We won’t always be able to direct our careers, but when presented with opportunities, we must take the wheel and steer the ship in our preferred direction. This means constantly being on the lookout for new opportunities as well as watching for the rocks that might scuttle us. You are the captain of your career and the responsibility for your career lies with you and no other. We can have others who help us in our career goals, but in the end, it comes down to our own individual decisions.

So, on this first year of a new Decade (or last year of another) what will you do to move your career ahead, sideways or into an entirely new realm? My first recommendation is to think. The New Year presents infinite possibilities and today is a great day to explore them. In some ways, New Year’s Day is like one huge push of the RESET button. Last year is gone and along with it all the trials and tribulations that we faced. There is nothing we can do about the past, so we might as well look to the future.

Sometime today, sit down with pencil, paper, iPhone, computer — whatever you find the most useful — and think. Think about what you NEED. What is the base level of stability and finances you need to keep you and your family safe and happy? Then, think about what you WANT. What would you like to see happen on a daily, weekly and monthly basis? What would improve your work and your life in substantial ways? Then, think about what you need to do to achieve them. Finally, and this is the toughest, yet also the most rewarding, what do you DESIRE? What dreams would you like to make come true for both yourself and your family? These are goals that are difficult to achieve and yet could bring the most fundamental changes to your life. Your desires should be audacious, life changing, even world changing and give you something important to strive to achieve. These are the goals that will drive you through the New Year and almost guarantee great things happen.

Now that you have an idea of what you NEED, WANT and DESIRE, sketch out some plans on how to make them happen. If you NEED to save more money, figure out how to put away a small percentage each pay period. 1%, 5%, 10% — it all adds up over time. Something is always better than nothing. If you WANT to find a better job or simply the next stepping stone in your career, approach it as you would any project. Lay out the process and develop action items to move you forward and gauge your progress. If you DESIRE fame and fortune, then make sure your thoughts, words and actions are being shown to the world through the work you do. Scientists often say, “If you didn’t write it down, it didn’t happen!” Document your successes and your failures. Give people a view into your life and your work. Don’t dwell in anonymity. Share your knowledge and skills with the world.

I’d love to hear some of your NEEDS, WANTS and DESIRES. Share them on the Career Opportunities Community Site. Let’s keep this discussion going 24/7 there so we can all energize our New Year together. Even though we may be scattered around the world, the realities of our careers are remarkably similar. Share your hopes, your dreams, your desires so that we all might see just how much the same we all are.

I wish you the happiest, the most rewarding, the most productive New Year possible. Let’s make it the best year ever!

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