January – the time of year when we push the restart button and do all of the things that we promised we'd do last year but didn't! It's a little bit cliché, isn't it?
Have you ever written down your goals in January and then reviewed them later in the year to see how many of them you actually achieved? I have. I won't say that I've always completed all of them, but generally, I do manage to cross a fair number off. I manage this because I regularly review my long-term strategic plan regarding where I want my life and career/business to go.
Without long-term planning, all you can do is live day to day and hand to mouth. Short-term planning generally amounts to a short-term job or career. In order to guarantee yourself a lifelong position, you need to set yourself a long-term strategy as to how you're going to get noticed and how you're going to get companies seeking you out.
In the old days, you could just be good at your job and that was enough. But what use is it being good at your job if nobody outside of the four walls of your company knows how great you are? If you want to take your career to the next level, you need to break the four walls and get companies chasing you!
Nepotism and guaranteed tenures are gone. In today's fast-changing world, none of us are exempt from cuts. What are you doing to guarantee that if the worse were to happen (hopefully not!) and you were to lose your job you could almost "fall" into another one right away?
Make Yourself the Go-To Person in Your Field
With nearly all recruitment happening electronically to some extent, how confident are you about how you would come across if somebody were to Google your name? If you're employed in an academic profession or a senior management position, what does your online biography say about you? Would you take advice from yourself if you were somebody whose opinion of you was based only on what they saw on your LinkedIn profile?
Ideally, no matter which profession you're in, you should be working toward creating a really expert and professional presence. You need to be seen as the go-to person within your industry, field, or niche. How are you going to get noticed by the right people – the key decision makers and influencers?
No More Excuses
We expect miracles to happen in the new year, but just because you set yourself a few resolutions does not mean that this year will be any different from the last one – unless you make it different! If you don't take action now, you will be in the same place this time next year, waiting for things to materialize instead of going out to get them for yourself!
As we all know, you only get out what you put in!
Everyone has reasons for not doing the things they want to do. Sometimes, life just gets in the way – but when life gives you lemons, you have to make lemonade and be done with it!
My message is that resolutions can happen today, they can happen tomorrow, and they can happen anytime during the year. We all like the symbolic fresh start of January, but the fact is that it doesn't matter how many resolutions you make or when you make them. What matters is if you keep them.
Start thinking right now about your long-term career plans. There are lots of experts out there who will offer advice, but do remember that many of them are just giving you information; it is up to you to put that information into practice. If it is transformation that you're looking for, you will need to invest time, energy, and money into making it happen.