In lieu of a New Year’s Resolution each January, I like to pick a word that sums up my intention for the year. This helps keep me focused and shifts the emphasis away from what I’m going to give up or avoid, to instead concentrate on what I want to move toward.
My word for 2019 is proactive.
(of a person, policy, or action) creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.
If you have work goals, the new year is a great time to be proactive about them. Is a lack of a certification or degree preventing you from getting to the next level? Instead of talking about going back to school or taking that online course, maybe now is the time to do it. Years ago, a good friend in his mid 30s made the courageous decision to go to college to earn his undergraduate degree, even though it would take him seven years to do so at night working around his then-day-job as a house painter. He said he figured that looking down the road, he could either be pushing 40 with his college degree or without it, and he opted to be proactive and go for it. Fast forward and he traded his painter’s overalls for a suit and went on to a successful career in communications working with movers and shakers in Washington, DC. True story! I’ve shared this on occasion with candidates who have lamented their lack of a degree holding them back and been so pleased when they call me years later to tell me that they too are now a college graduate and how my friend’s story inspired them.
Maybe there is nothing holding you back but complacency, yet you have the nagging feeling that there is something more you are searching for in your career. What are you waiting for? The job market is the best it’s been in years for job seekers. At the very least, make a list of what’s important to you in a job – your motivators – and then assess how your current role stacks up. It’s an exercise from which we can all benefit.
Are there warning signs in your current position – changing market conditions or office politics – that could affect whether you have a job a year from now? I have friends and family members who have ignored such signs, thinking their work speaks for itself, only to find themselves at the unemployment office. Don’t stick your head in the sand. Take matters into your own hands before someone else does.
Being proactive doesn’t always mean you get what you want or avoid problems. It does mean that you are more likely to minimize any down side by anticipating problems and/or achieve your desired results (and if you don’t, you have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve given it your all).
We all have to deal with life on life’s terms but we have the free will to take action to help control our destiny. Find the word that works for you in 2019 to improve both your work and your life!