Resolving Power

Successful career goals can't be set in isolation

As you would expect, many people continue with the age-old practice of trying to change their lives by writing a set of New Year's resolutions. Of course, these dreams encompass everything from losing weight and exotic travel plans to getting a promotion at work. However, we also know very soon into the new year, people begin to get frustrated. They lose their commitment, fall into old habits and then find themselves backsliding to where they were before. In other words, setting a goal is one thing, accomplishing it is another.

So, why the failure? Some say goal failure means the individual really wasn't ready to reinvent themselves and change their lives. Others suggest people most often write goals that are unrealistic or their expectations are simply too high.

However, when career-related New Year's resolutions seemingly go by the wayside, I personally believe the problem is broader than unrealistic goals and/or a lack or readiness. Rather, I perceive the problem as setting goals in "isolation."

This happens because the career-quester doesn't think about the need to build a supportive environment around them that can help make their goal happen.

Just what does this supportive environment look like? Actually, it has everything to do with the many other elements in your work environment, as well as those personal attributes that contribute to success.

Review the following concepts and determine how you can weave an environment around you that will support your New Year's career resolution.

Who are you?

Believe it or not, many people don't really know who they are, what they are good at or what they like to do. They take themselves for granted and simply do it. So, firstly, you need to understand just what your skills really are. Your personal skills inventory will result in at least three key pillars of expertise. Once you identify and name these skill pillars or "passions," you can then focus your career goal on being the best you can be. In doing so, your self-confidence will increase, as will the positivity that surrounds you.

Put a smile on your face

A simple, sincere smile in the Canadian culture signals personal happiness and a positive attitude. People also frequently interpret a smile as showing confidence and professionalism, openness and flexibility and a willingness to learn. It's my experience a simple attribute such as a smile and a positive attitude can greatly help to build that supportive environment you are looking for. A smile will draw people to you as they, too, want to be around positive people.

Surround yourself with positive people

There are so many people who view the world around them as a "glass half-full." These folks look at life with a jaundiced eye. They focus on the wrong things! They focus on "have not" versus what they do have or what opportunities are simply out there ripe for the taking. Avoid these folks at all cost. Instead, focus on bringing positive people into your friendship ring. Create a positive sense of community that can become the supportive environment that you need around you.

Be a continuous learner

Our work world is about constant change and transition, and this in turn translates into the need for continuous learning. It is important to not only stay current with all aspects of your work and your industry sector, but you need to be seen to do so. Sign up for in-house training programs. Volunteer for new projects where you will learn new skills of interest to your employer. Become an avid reader of national, global and local news and identify items that might impact your industry sector.

Put down the smartphone

On one hand, people set goals in isolation, and on the other hand, they find they are isolated both at work and in the community. No one knows what they are capable of or what they can do. Put down the phone, get out and meet people in real time. Yes, face to face! Get known. Concentrate on building people relationships. Reach out and help others. Join a volunteer organization where you can meet influential new people and develop new relationships. Take on association projects where you work directly with new team members and demonstrate your expertise.

Reach out for opportunities

There are always plenty of interesting but demanding projects in your workplace others will shy away from. Jump at these opportunities! Again, by offering your services, whether it be during and/or after work is another great opportunity to learn new skills and become a known entity within your own organization. Leaders will perceive you as willing to take risks, learn new skills, build new relationships and tackle challenges. Now, isn't that great exposure to create a supportive environment?

Break the time barriers

Setting yourself up for success also means making effective management of your time. Be careful not to overcommit so you are leaving one meeting early and arriving late for the next. This will help you to meet all of your commitments on time and under budget. It will prevent you from being overwhelmed, overworked and stressed. It will also solidify the positive impression you will make within your world and help reinforce that strong supportive environment you are building for yourself.

Drive for performance

High-performing employees ensure their work goals are aligned with the corporate goals, combined with a strong focus on producing quality. They strive to understand the vision and big picture of the organization and work at developing their strategic skills. They drive themselves to perform their best at all times, be it working independently and/or as part of a team. They are flexible and can thrive in a number of situations. Leaders want to work with performance-drivers, thus reinforcing the supportive environment.

Focus on life/work balance

Working hard and working smart are two different things. Today, life/work balance is much more respected. After all, organizations want healthy employees who have continual fresh ideas. Employers also now give more credence to the importance of family support for their employees. Take time to nourish your home relationships, because if you don't have family support for your goals, your work life and your environment, success might well be fleeting.

Each of these environmental elements is necessary for career success, and that is why your career goals cannot be made in isolation.

Broaden your goal to reach out and build this kind of environment and you'll find opportunity and success will come knocking on your door.

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