Author: Amy Blaschka
Wow! It’s 2020, and in honor of the new year (and new decade!) we thought we’d share some of the best ways to step up your career game.
Here are the 20 best (and free) ways to improve your career as the new decade begins:
1. Get your (career) story straight
Everyone has a unique story, but not everyone leverages its power. Properly crafted, your career story helps to differentiate you from your competitors, highlight your value, and to draw others to you. It provides a common thread that weaves together your personal and professional experiences, as well as your transferable skills, making it easy for others to connect the dots. Knowing and being able to articulate your career story clearly is transformative; use it wisely.
2. Share your wisdom
Wisdom is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. But it transforms into something truly powerful when it is shared.
Why? Because all the wisdom in the world is meaningless without application.
Yet many leaders eschew this and choose instead to hoard their insights, fearful of giving them away. They don’t understand a simple truth: sharing your wisdom doesn’t diminish your impact; it amplifies it. And today, the best way to magnify your message is to harness the power and reach of social media.
3. Clean up your (work) environment
Your environment, which includes your friends, colleagues, location, habits, and lifestyle, impacts you far more—for better or for worse—than you realize. You can’t make a significant, lasting change without altering some elements of it. Real growth happens when we understand whom and what best supports what we want, and then align ourselves with those people and places that do. Your environment always wins; make sure it supports your goals.
4. Say ‘no’
If you want to grow your career, you need to learn to say no to almost everything (and everyone) that doesn’t excite you, speak to your values, further your mission in life, or help you achieve your goals. Remember, when you say no to the things and people who no longer serve you, you can say yes to those that do.
5. Say ‘yes’
Saying yes can be a boon to your career—it opens you up to new challenges and opportunities, invites collaboration, empowers and affirms others, and creates an environment where it’s safe to try, fail, learn and innovate.
6. Brush up on your soft skills
Emotional intelligence is rooted in them, business leaders swear by them, and they remain in high demand. I’m speaking of soft skills, those frequently misunderstood and undervalued skills that power career success.
This finding underscores a fundamental truth: At its core, business is about relationships. No matter your job function or title, to succeed, you must interact with other people. And those who find a way to combine their hard skills with soft skills create environments that empower and ignite their teams, delight their customers, and fuel sustainable growth.
7. Master time-management
Your ability to prioritize and focus your attention on tackling work projects is crucial. How and with whom you spend your time, and your productivity while doing so, demonstrate your focus and commitment to what—and who—matters most. When you master time-management, you’ll learn to say no, do, decide, delegate or delete tasks, batch routine tasks, eliminate distractions, embrace mono-tasking, get to know—and work—your own rhythms, and build in breaks to recharge.
8. Become more self-aware
Most think of self-awareness as knowing yourself. Self-aware leaders have a clear understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. They are honest about what they want, their skills, and what matters most to them. They also have an accurate perception of what sets them apart, and can then use their unique talents to magnify their impact in an environment that best suits them. Conversely, they also understand and acknowledge their blind spots and areas needing improvement.
But self-awareness is not just about knowing how you move through the world; it’s about knowing how your energy affects others. This perspective allows you to understand that everything is connected—your interactions with other people, how they perceive you, your attitude, and your responses to them in the moment—and all can be enhanced through better self-awareness.
9. Get curious
Curiosity can be defined as a strong desire to know or learn something. But it’s so much more than that.
When you’re curious, you’re open. Open to exploring new ideas, experiences, and possibilities. Open to meeting new people and learning new things. Open to leaving behind outdated mindsets and limiting beliefs to make room for your highest and best self. And it’s that openness—that curiosity—that fuels growth.
When you embrace curiosity, you transform into a lifelong learner, which is what personal and professional growth is all about.