We all know that sticking to a New Years Resolution is no cake walk (especially if you’re trying to cut back on cake) and coupled with research from the Department of Psychology at the University of Scranton showing that only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolution, it seems like a daunting task (who gets off the couch for 8%?!).
Don't stress about committing to a full year of professional development just yet. Give yourself 30 days and work on some fundamentals to get you headed in the right direction. Every Monday morning in January, there will be a fresh list of things you can choose from to boost your career without having to ignore the rest of your life...or break a sweat.
You’re busy, we’re busy, but we also understand how important it is to keep moving forward in your career. That’s what we’re here to do so let’s get started.
Know someone who feels like they're in a professional cul-de-sac? Share TheCareerCue with them today.
Your Professional Story
If someone were to ask you today, “What is your professional story?”, would you know the answer? Could you walk into an interview tomorrow and succinctly respond to the dreaded, “So tell me a little about yourself.”. It’s more than the numbers or your latest job title. You're not just the Sales Manager who exceeded their target by 150% last year or the Software Engineer who has written a million lines of code. You are far more than the bullet points on your resume.
Invest in yourself this week by scheduling an hour (invite a friend too) and kick things off with six key elements from Tom Perry, Founder of Engaged Pursuit, to help fine-tune your story.
- Strengths: What are you good at? What do you find energy from?
- Values: What do you value about yourself? What values are you seeking in a manager and/or company?
- Organizational state: What type of business do you thrive in (eg., start-up vs established)?
- Business results: What impact have you had in previous roles (qualitative and quantitative)? Which achievements are you most proud of?
- Environment: Is commute time important? Do you prefer cube or private office space? Why type of personalities do you enjoy working with (introvert or extrovert)?
- Opportunities: What are the skills you're looking to gain? Are there competencies you excel at or would like to strengthen?
Sign up for The Pursuit newsletter for tips and insights on employee engagement from Tom and his team.
Your Professional Legacy
Legacy. It can be a scary word to toss around but we’re not going to talk about your personal legacy and how you want your family and friends to remember you. We’re talking about your professional legacy. The one that stays behind once you leave a meeting, a conference, or when you move to another company. When your co-workers describe you to others, what do they say? Similar to our personal legacies, we’re building on them every single day, with every single interaction.
So how do you begin? Kelli Hildebrand, owner of Keynote Discovery, recommends starting with 20 minutes on each of the following steps to get things rolling.
Set the timer:
- Legacy map: List all of your jobs and create a headline or statement for each role.* --20 minutes
- Connect the dots: Identify the common themes or threads throughout your career so far (values, relationships, guiding principles). --20 minutes
- Write your legacy: Review the headlines, statements, and common themes from the first two activities and curate a short paragraph showcasing what you want your legacy to be. --20 minutes
- Schedule: Mark your calendar to review your legacy statement every 90 days to make sure that it still applies or if it needs tweaking. --20 seconds
*Bonus item: Identify two people to contact and ask "What do you think my legacy was at xxx company?".
Feel like you need a little more time? That's okay, rinse and repeat as many times as you feel you need. Remember, your legacy will continue to evolve as you move forward through your career.
Beyond the Locker Room
When you see Jen Mueller on television or hear her broadcasting live from the sidelines, you would think it’s a glamorous professional story that fell into her lap because she was in the right place at the right time. That's certainly not the case. Let's not forget, part of her job is to interview the likes of NFL Linebackers after a heavily fought (physical and mental) game, at which time they may or may not be wearing pants.
The reality of her professional journey has included 10+ years officiating football, attending the Seattle Mariners training camp for six years before she landed the job, showing up to every Seattle Seahawks football practice, in addition to making sure she has earned the trust of famous athletes and coaches who closely guard their relationship with the media.
With every interaction, on and off the field, Jen is intentionally curating her professional legacy and brand.
When Jen isn't reporting on sports, she's coaching others on how to use sports (football, soccer, basketball, golf, and more) to their professional advantage. Jen describes herself as “America’s Expert Talker” and works with client all over the country on how to start a conversation with anyone, anywhere…even cruising down the Panama Canal.
Try a few of her tips this week:
- Read: 5-8 sports headlines from the previous week (or receive Jen's newsletter every Monday morning...she gives you everything you need).
- Identify: Look around. Who is a sports fan? Who's wearing a jersey or hat featuring their favorite sports team?
Practice: Have a goal of starting a conversation with someone new every week in January. It can be as simple as saying "Did you see the game last night?" and then let the conversation go from there. Even if they say no, you've already opened the door to engaging with them further so don't hesitate to keep the discussion going.
Sign up for the Talk Sporty To Me newsletter for tips on conversation starters.