With the New Year upon us, it's a great time to take an honest look in the mirror and make changes that can help you reach new professional heights. Instead of coming up with a list on my own, I decided to survey my team at Vanderbloemen Search Group
for eighteen resolutions that will make your career skyrocket this year.
1. Attend a conference or take a job-related certification course.
Our team has seen over 10,000 resumes and job applications, and continuing education is something that turns good candidates into rock-star candidates.
2. Change your perspective by doing small things.
Too often, people get stuck in a rut that seems inescapable, but studies show that even the smallest changes can alter and improve attitude and perspective. Use the downtime of the new year to rearrange your office or move your desk. Even a few small changes can help you see new solutions or new ideas that propel your career forward.
3. Get some coaching.
With the dawn of the internet, there is no excuse for not having a coach or mentor. There are so many options available. Find a mentor who can help you grow in new ways and give you strategies to excel. As it was said in the movie Justice League, "You can't save the world alone."
4. Audit your listening/speaking ratio.
"Most of the successful people I've known are the ones who do more listening than talking." - Bernard Baruch
Or as one of my pastor friends says, "It's no mistake that God gave us two ears and only one mouth." For the first week of the year, keep a running tally on how often you listen within a conversation vs how much you speak. Watch the tally and try to move toward more listening. When you speak, more people will pay attention.
5. Start a blog to expand your portfolio.
Most bosses I know are not only happy to see employees start a blog, they actually encourage it. The practice of blogging will make you a stronger writer across the board and provide an outlet for you to write about topics in which you are most interested/gifted.
6. Read books related to your career and goals.
Leaders are readers, and that doesn't mean just listening to audiobooks at double speed. Scientists proved that the act of actually reading a book increases retention of knowledge. Fight the urge to just listen, and take the harder path. Going old school with reading will open new doors.
7. Commit to a day off once a week.
In the book of Genesis, God took a sabbath after six days of creation. If God needs a day off, I think it's safe to say we do too.
8. Choose a high potential employee and intentionally mentor them over the next year.
It's more than just a nice thing to do. Studies show
that one of the most effective ways leaders retain top talent is through mentoring and intentional development.
9. Sleep well.
For years, I thought it was great to tell people how little I sleep. Now I know how wrong that was. A solid night's sleep affects more than you think
10. Leave your phone away from your bed.
This has been a huge change for me. I get better sleep, more time to read, and a head start on the next day. Studies show that staring at a screen late at night has detrimental consequences for rest.
11. Find new podcasts that will help you grow.
Yes, leaders are readers, but they are also learners. Instead of spending your commute listening to sports radio, try learning. I found this secret the hard way after a particularly long Houston Texans season. Here's a list of good podcasts to explore.
12. Get better at time management.
Having the capacity to do more will allow you to... do more. Try Michael Hyatt's "Your Best Year Ever" as a launch pad.
13. Schedule downtime in your daily calendar.
Taking a few minutes to do some yoga, pray, call a loved one, or read a chapter of a book can refresh you in ways that will make you more effective throughout the week. If you schedule it, that time will become a reward for hard work. But just like the Sabbath, if it isn't scheduled and protected, it likely won't happen.
14. Take a personality test or some other form of self-assessment you haven't taken before.
I'd recommend taking the Insights Discovery
or the Enneagram. Try taking it with your spouse or significant other. You may discover strengths or blind spots that you weren't aware of and find new ways to enrich your relationships.
15. Attend and enjoy a festival of a culture different from yours.
Cross-cultural study broadens the mind
. With so many ways to engage online, you can attend a festival anywhere. This is especially important as we age, as the tendency is to quit expanding our comfort zones as we get older.
16. Try working for one hour each day without your cell phone.
Research has shown that hearing your phone vibrate or ring with a notification derails your productivity and thought process drastically, even if you never check it.
17. Expand your network.
Knowing more is no longer a commodity, as everyone can google anything. But knowing more people and knowing them well? That's a growing commodity. This year, grab more dinners with people. Go to networking events. Meeting new people that can come alongside you both personally and professionally is an invaluable resource.
18. Pursue a hobby.
Nearly every great leader has a hobby that's separate from their work. Jack Nicklaus
, who arguably has a hobby as his vocation, loves fly fishing. Finding a true avocation will make your work at your job that much better.
Happy New Year! I hope 2018 is the year you take yourself and your organization to the next level.