The beginning of a new year often brings about the promise of a fresh start and a chance to recalibrate our goals and move forward. While identifying what we want may feel effortless, knowing how to get from A to B can prove more challenging mainly because most of us dive right into obvious action without doing the work to create an internal environment to set ourselves up for success. That all changes now.
Whether you’re looking to reignite your career, build better relationships, or simply want to work and live to a higher standard, here are five ways to get make a quick impact and get going.
Create your mission statement
The first step in creating a meaningful career and life starts with having a strong understanding of who you are, what you want, and why you want it. What is it that motivates you to get up in the morning? What would you do all day if you didn’t have to worry about money or judgment? That’s your passion. Why would you choose to do that over anything else? Those are your values. What would you like to achieve with the work you would do? Now you have uncovered your mission. Take some time to write all of this down and place it somewhere you can easily reference it on a daily basis. When an idea or opportunity pops up, cross-reference it against your list. Is the idea in sync? Is the opportunity aligned? If yes, move forward. If not, move on.
Remember that everyone feels like an imposter at one time or another.
Though it might seem as though everyone else has it together in your Instagram feed, the truth is that we all have moments where we doubt our abilities, are bullied by imposter syndrome, and worry we have lost our mojo. The goal is not to waste time trying to eliminate those feelings but to use them as a sign to dive a bit deeper and do a proper self assessment to figure out what is at the source of your concerns. For example, if you’re feeling you have lost your edge professionally, look at ways to upskill. If you’re not feeling as creative as you once were, get outside and take a walk in nature. The key is to avoid going down the rabbit hole of self doubt and reminding yourself that nothing is permanent and you’re in control and capable of learning new things and making changes.
Stop personalizing everything
Whether it’s your colleague ignoring your suggestion or a friend not inviting you to an event, moments of devaluation can feel hurtful and deeply personal. While it might be tempting to lash out or allow your inner critic to start listing all of the things that are ‘wrong’ with you, neither lead to successful outcomes. Instead, remind yourself that everyone has their own set of experiences, expectations, values, and desires and those all play a role in their everyday decision-making. Most of the time they are focused on satisfying those needs and not even thinking about you. That said, if you do feel that something is happening a lot (a colleague constantly steals your ideas or a sibling repeatedly puts you down) speak up! Pull them aside and let them know that you have noticed their behavior and would like it to stop immediately. You’ll not only feel better speaking your mind, you’ll likely gain more respect (from others and yourself) as a result.
Think carefully about the energy you bring to a situation
If you have ever sat across from a disengaged lunch companion or found yourself feeling frazzled after meeting up with a friend, you know how it feels to be on the receiving end of low-vibe energy. While everyone has ‘bad days’ it’s important to remember that, when it comes to our day-to-day experiences, we often get what we give — and this goes far beyond getting a random stranger to smile back. Those who enter situations with a positive attitude are not only seen as better leaders, they are more likely to score higher on evaluations and be chosen to be on high-performance teams.
Get comfortable with self-advocacy
Though it would be wonderful if bosses valued (or even remembered) every win at your end-of-year assessment and dream partnership opportunities just fell into your inbox, that’s not how life works. Most of the time, getting what you want starts with asking for it and giving clear, indisputable evidence that you have earned it (notice I didn’t use the word ‘deserve’). Keep a journal where you can see it and write down every win, accomplishment, and accolade with names, dates, and supporting information. You will not only have a quick reference when it is time to make the big ask but you’ll also have a reminder of your success when you hit a slump.