As we welcome the new year, here are 10 practical resolutions from Ian Renaud, speaker, trainer and author of Know Thyself and Move Forward for people who are looking to further their careers.
A lot of people find it difficult to take action, even when they're trying to develop their career. But Renaud says that 20% of your time should be spent on planning and 80% on doing (sending your CV, making calls and visiting companies). "I often see individuals and businesses spending 80% of their time trying to control everything and think of all possible outcomes without actually taking any action," he says. "This procrastination through analysis can cause people to miss out on great opportunities."
"You should choose a career that plays to your strengths rather than a career where your weaknesses stand out," he says.
You can find online personality tests like the DISC or the Myers-Briggs which can help you assess your strengths.
While some people might encourage you to develop your weak areas, Renaud believes that it's better to accept them and focus on the positive: "In my opinion, developing your strengths so you become an expert in your field is a better strategy, and your areas of weakness won't matter as much."
Sharing your goals with your network, family and friends can lead to unexpected opportunities. "You never know where a new job might come from and who might be a great reference," says Renaud.
By learning from others' experiences, you can avoid major career missteps. "When approached the right way, experts are often very open to mentoring others who are just starting out or in a career transition," Renaud points out.
The more you follow the status quo, the longer it will take to develop your career. "Even if your current situation feels comfortable, the drive to advance your career comes out of a need for change," Renaud says. Pinpointing the areas you want to improve and the positive aspects of the change can help you take the plunge.
"When you find something that you really love, you need to say yes," says Renaud. "Dive in, even if you feel anxious about the new offer or situation or you're worried you lack certain skills. You can develop them later."
"If you say yes to everybody, your schedule will fill up fast and you won't have time to develop your career in the way you want," notes the author.
Learn to say no to anything that isn't in line with your career goals.
When you continuously develop your skills and expertise in a given field, you're more likely to notice opportunities that arise and be ready to seize them. "Personal satisfaction comes from a feeling of making progress," Renaud says.
It may just be a coincidence, but Renaud likes to point out that just 10% of workers strive for continuous self-improvement, 10% receive career promotions—and 10% of the general population reports being "very happy."
"To get ahead, start by appreciating what you've got," Renaud advises. Without gratitude, people often push ahead too fast, then wonder where the time went. "By appreciating the present moment, you'll be able to truly appreciate the future," he concludes.
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