May 15, 2012
Look out for yourself to advance your career
Ready for a new habit that will keep your career as safe and secure as a career can get these days?
Call it the “Keep a Watch Over You” habit — because everyone else is too busy with their own problems to worry about your career.
Even if you have a mentor to advise you every step of the way or supervisor who’s a big believer in career planning, don’t count on it.
The issue of where you’re headed and how you’ll get there is your baby. So here is the only way to make sure you are getting where you want — by keeping a watch over you.
First, the basics: Buy a notebook to be used for this purpose only. Make it small or flexible enough that you can shove it in a drawer away from prying eyes and also carry with you.
Focus on two main areas in your notebook. Begin with you.
When you get home or can schedule just 10 minutes of quiet, alone time, answer these
five questions related to you in your notebook:
What am I working toward? Do I have a particular goal, level of expertise or title that I’ve set my sights on?
What do I still need to learn to help me get there? What am I lacking to become totally competent at what I do now and be able to move to the next level?
What do I need to master to believe that I am the best I can be? What techniques or skills so I need to progress?
What training would help me achieve what I just listed? Also think about experiences, exposure or frame of mind that would help work toward those goals.
Now, what am I going to do to make this happen?
Schedule a meeting with yourself for one month from the date you answered these questions.
At that meeting, ask yourself: Did I do what I said I needed to do to progress? Then schedule a meeting with yourself a month from then to check in. Do this every month this year.
One of the surest ways to lose your mojo and appeal in the marketplace is to rest on your laurels.
The other way you can keep watch over yourself is to stay clued into a broader view of what’s happening in the world in general and your industry in particular.
Besides reading reputable news publications, keeping up with the news and talking to people to learn what’s on their minds — and jotting ideas in your notebook — answer these questions in your dedicated notebook:
How will my line of work be affected by economic changes and such trends as population growth, longer life spans, loss of traditional culture and overall decline of the environment?
What problems have I discovered that could affect my field but no one is tackling and probably will get bigger?
How will technology affect my profession?
What can I do to enhance my value to my employer or clients, keeping these problems, changes and trends in mind? What do I need to learn more about or do to stay current?
Make an appointment with yourself in six months to revisit these questions. Ask: Did I do what I said I would? What else has changed?
If you want to be successful and in charge of your career, try the “Keep A Watch Over You” steps until they become habit. As Sean Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” says, “We become what we repeatedly do.”
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