I awoke a few nights ago with a realization. This came after much reflection and contemplation over the right resolutions for the new year. One of the best things about January is that it provides a fresh start, a chance to reaffirm the kind of person you want to be, and there is something so very positive about that. Inevitably, there is also the negative context – the acknowledgment of obstacles, faults, and weaknesses that can blur your vision. My epiphany, for what it’s worth, was that for as many chances as I have to do the right thing, there are equally as many chances to do the wrong thing.
This is true both personally and professionally. As important as it is to resolve to read more, travel to a foreign land or join the gym, it is also critical to set resolutions for your career. Now is the time to pause and consider your professional identity. Are you on the right path? Are you creating the career that you imagined for yourself? Are you the colleague or manager that you want to be? Now is the time to reset your focus and establish a plan that will move you forward.
A year ago, as an exercise around a similar concept, I was able to leverage my addiction to word clouds. (For better or worse, I use word clouds frequently, mostly to my coworkers’ dismay). For this particular activity, each manager wrote down a list of words that she wanted mentioned when someone was describing our team. When we combined our lists, many of the words were impressively identical, and ultimately they created the word cloud that you see above. We then shared this image with our team and engaged in a conversation around how to reinforce our team identity. It is my belief that the establishment of a team identity drove us, however subconsciously, to success over the course of 2014.
So how do you stay on the right side of the equation? You might find it helpful to define your own professional identity. Chances are you have already initiated it, based on your interactions with others and your work product from day to day. Take advantage of this time to clearly articulate your career resolutions as you embark on a new year of growth and discovery.