Forget resolutions, preparation is the key!
We are now in the 4th week of the New Year and I know that many people have already lost sight of the very thing that excited them on 31st December! The problem with resolutions is that to many of us they are really a “wish list” or “sky pie ‘n breeze” (a dish my Mum referred to when (i) she was unsure of what was on the menu, (ii) she didn’t want to raise our hopes by promising a culinary delight, (iii) the cupboard was bare, (iv) we were being picky – I digress…), so there is no real commitment to ensuring that something happens. As there is no commitment to the outcome, there is also no investment in the outcome and the brain does not register the resolution as something of value that it needs to focus on achieving. As a result, the resolution is replaced by another thought and converted into another activity (often of lesser value and satisfaction) within a short space of time. Well, that’s my theory!
However, this is not a post about resolutions and why they fail.
This blog is about the 3 P’s of success. 1. Preparation 2. Preparation 3. Preparation!
Preparation is the key to success. Whether it’s decorating a room, participating in a sporting event or taking an exam – you need to have a vision of what you are aiming to achieve and start working towards it. For example, if you are planning to hang wall paper and would like to achieve a smooth, professional finish, the surface of the wall will need to be sanded, all the cracks filled in, the wall washed and sized with glue, then you will need to have all the right equipment for the job before starting to cut, paste and hang the paper. The finish you achieve is all in the preparation. In much the same way, this process works for personal and professional development! What you get out is what you put in.
Your commitment to your preparation is determined by the value you place on the outcome. If it is something you value, you will set aside time to plan and shape your vision. You will define your next steps, and seek support where needed, to achieving your goals. Be honest! What preparation did you undertake last year to achieve the goals you are aspiring for this year? What are you doing now to put you in the right place to achieve your goals in 3, 6, or 12 months time?
In terms of career planning, here are my 5 tips to get you started:
1. Focus on your personal brand – Who are you? How do you project yourself? What do you have to offer? What are the things that motivate you? What direction are you going in? How do others perceive you? How alert and responsive are you to the changes in the environment around you? How does your personality impact on the delivery of your work? Be honest with yourself and as so famously quoted by Oscar Wilde:” Be yourself, everyone else is already taken!”
2. Stretch yourself – development is a continuous process – it’s a progression from one state of being to another. What is your plan for development this year? Is it something challenging? Is there a skill that you need to improve that will contribute to your effectiveness? Will that skill add value to what you have to offer? Take a course, attend a workshop, read some books…take ownership of your development and make it happen. However, don’t forget that you need to have a good balance between work and the rest of your life! Stretch must not equal Stress!!
3. Take Ownership! It’s your career… it’s your development. Tailor your personal development plan to suit your aspirations. Every activity that you work on should take you one step closer to achieving your goal, otherwise, it is time wasted. What are you seeking to achieve? What is driving you? What will happen if you do nothing? Do you have the resilience to weather the storms that will inevitably arise as you plot your path? Every challenge is meant to be overcome and with a positive mindset, you will be able to remain focused and cultivate the self-belief that you can achieve your goals. If you get stuck, there are resources that you can access to help you get moving again. Seek the support of a trusted friend, a mentor, or a professional career coach to support you.
4. Update your CV – why do all this hard work and then have a document that doesn’t represent you? Ensure that you capture all your skills and achievements in one place and be ready to showcase it at any time. You never know when an opportunity might arise from all your hard work for you to demonstrate that you have what it takes to succeed in your chosen field.
5. Network, network, network – whether you are in employment or not, you need to invest in your range of contacts and stay abreast of developments in your sector. Networking not only provides new contacts but an infusion of ideas, a fresh way of looking at things, a different perspective of your personal worth in the marketplace and ideas on how you can position yourself. You are also honing key critical skills if you network effectively, for example, research skills, presentation skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, relationship building skills, building self-confidence to name a few. All of which are essential to your everyday interactions. Get out there and network!
Until next blog, start doing the ground work now for future success! Go make those transitions!