What will 2018 be the year of for you? For the economy, it might be a year of downturn. For your rent, it might be another year of high cost. For your political party, a year of transformation, reclamation, or evaluation. What will 2018 bring for your career? As we look toward to a new start in January, here are five things that I hope for you as you confront career choices in the year to come!
- So what do you do here? This year, get clear about your value. What do you contribute? How is your business, your profession, or the world around you better because of you? What unique or special or particularly good spin do you bring to your work, that someone else wouldn't? Knowing your unique value, what makes you YOU, as well as why someone would want to work with you, for you, or above you, is super important to making any kind of career growth or change. So start with that this year, get clear on your value.
- Grow your social capital. The time to build your network is before you need it. Make 2018 the year that you expand your professional network and meet interesting people everywhere. Write fan mail to your favorite professionals. Go to a meetup. Go to a conference and actually talk to people while there. Ask the guy in the line behind you how his day is going and see where the conversation goes. Then actually follow up with those folks with a linkedin connection, email, text, or follow. As you ride the waves of your career, it's the community you build now that will get you from where you are to where you're going next. You won't be able to go it alone.
- Get a side hustle. We expect a lot of economic turmoil in the coming year. You can help mitigate the impact of this on your career by increasing your own security with a side hustle. What project can you create that will earn a bit of income, develop a different skill set, or create an asset that will add to your professional and financial security this year? If you need some inspiration, check out Side Hustle School on your favorite podcast stream.
- See problems everywhere. Cultivate the art of identifying problems. But rather than being angry when something doesn't work as well as it should, get curious about what doesn't work and why. Learn to see problems and the opportunities in those problems all around you. Left your coffee on the roof of your car this morning? What is that problem about? What's the opportunity there? Forgot to do laundry last night and now you don't have the right shirt for today? Or, notice that construction is interfering with your normal route to where you're going, slowing down traffic? Get curious about that as a problem. What opportunity is there to change it? Do others experience it? What can be done to improve it? Why does the problem exist in the first place? Who is already working on it and what progress have they made or not made? Become a student of problems of all kinds in 2018 to see what that does for your opportunities.
- Solve at least one of them. Take action. Pick low hanging fruit or something that you think is perfectly aligned with your skills or personality, and tackle a problem. Your action might be a volunteer project or it might be writing some code, whatever it is, contribute something to an actual problem. You'll experience a higher degree of engagement in life, and who knows, maybe it will lead to an exciting new opportunity or person (see numbers 2 and 3 on this list!).
If you've been stalling, or feel like you're reaching a crossroads in your career, this could be the year you change that. Cultivating these new behaviors in the next year will help. And as always, if you need support, email me!