OK, first things first. Happy New Year! Let’s kick off 2022 with an interesting question:
How do you feel about your job? Happy? Or do you spend the week counting down to the weekend?
On average, we spend one third of our lives at work. One third! If you’re unhappy in your working life, that’s a heavy weight to bear. Inevitably, it will affect your overall health and well-being —so let me do something to help.
In this post, I’m going to recommend 5 ways to live your best working life in 2022.
1. Stop keeping your goals a secret
If you keep goals a secret, nobody will know about them. Being passed over for promotion is horribly disappointing, but can you guess the most common reason? It’s because people keep their desire for promotion a secret.
If you want career progression, training or anything else at work, tell someone — preferably your boss. They are your most powerful advocate and can help you get what you want.
While I’m on the subject, don’t be embarrassed about advocating for yourself in the workplace. Waiting quietly for recognition leads to just one thing — endless waiting. Be brave, talk about your achievements because nobody else will.
2. Get inspired
Now, I know what you’re thinking. It’s January, the weather is foul and we are still in the midst of a never-ending pandemic. Inspiration? Where the heck can you find that?
Actually, you already have inspiration. It’s within you, although for understandable reasons you may have mislaid it recently. The trick is to find it again.
Feeling inspired is about finding “flow” — the state of mind where you’re so absorbed in something that time falls away. That feeling gives you energy, joy and total involvement. You’re living in the moment.
But here’s the problem:
Stress. It’s the enemy of flow. Stress creates a fight, flight or freeze response (a so-called `amygdala hijack’) which blocks the brain’s higher thinking processes in favour of basic survival instincts.
It makes sense — or at least, it used to. Under attack by a hungry sabre-toothed tiger, who needs creative thinking?
The trouble is, our stress response isn’t always helpful. It reacts to ongoing difficult situations — an unsatisfying work life, for instance, or a perpetual pandemic — and stress becomes a chronic condition.
Going through the motions at work, day after day, will never be inspiring. For that, you need to work out what drives you. What’s your passion? What makes you feel most alive?
Whatever that is, inspiration will come when your job allows you to do more of it.
3. Find your personal brand
You’re probably familiar with `personal brand’. To be honest, the term has become an overused cliché, so you may be a little over-familiar with it. But please bear with me.
Your personal brand is the distilled essence of… well, you. It’s your unique self, your most compelling and impressive moments condensed into one elegantly neat story. It’s what people remember about you.
As American professor Bréne Brown puts it, personal brand is about knowing your story, and being proud to tell it.
“You either walk inside your story and own it, or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.”
Are you owning your own story? Are you telling it clearly and concisely enough? Life’s too short to hustle for worthiness. Discovering your unique personal brand will change more than just your work prospects for 2022. It will change everything.
4. Build a network
Networking. Some people thrive on it. For others, the very word brings on a rash.
It’s fair enough. For what seems like forever, just leaving the house has felt like a risky decision. We can’t stand too close, we can’t shake hands. How can you go out and meet strangers?
You don’t have to. Networking should start with people you already know. Start with the people within your own organisation.
How do people move up the career ladder? More often than not, it’s through who they know rather than what they know. Try asking a top executive to be your mentor — to answer questions, offer advice and give feedback.
By forging strong authentic relationships with mentors and colleagues right now, you get a ready-made list of people who will champion you in the future. Get to know them properly, build genuine friendships and above all, be yourself.
5. Create a roadmap
It’s good to have a clear destination, and it’s even better when you have a roadmap for getting there.
Your mentors should help you clarify what you want next. Creating a roadmap gives you the route. Rather than one huge destination goal, set micro-goals along the way —training or qualifications, for example — and don’t forget to congratulate yourself as each one is achieved.
The path to a truly rewarding career is rarely a straight, clean line from A to B. It’s full of obstacles and potholes. Tripping over, falling flat on your face. Mistakes are part of the process because each time they happen, you learn something new.
Good luck! And, if you’d like some coaching to identify what makes you unique and amazing, you know what to do. Click here.