Once again, the calendar has turned us into a new year, and with every new year we are faced with the question of how will this year be different than the last? What goals do we have? What worked well last year, but could be better this year?
And, what about resolutions? Resolutions are usually presented with a different perspective – turning a negative into a positive. For example: I’m going to lose 20 pounds this year. I’m going to eat healthier. I’m going to spend more time with my family. I’m going to …. you fill in the blank. It’s no wonder we give up on resolutions within the first month of the year! It’s hard to get up each day and face the negative.
Why do we even bother with all this? What’s the point? Especially when, after returning to work after the holidays, let’s say January 2 or 3, don’t we generally just get back to “business as usual”? Most of the responsibilities we have in our jobs/careers are cyclical. We do them on repeat from week to week or month to month, or even season to season, but in general not a whole lot of changes. So, if the task is the same, the routine is the same, the job is the same, how do we inject an attitude of improvement, challenge, and opportunity into the mix?
Look for opportunities. New opportunities don’t always come in the form of a new job at a new company or even a new job at the same company. In your current position, how can you take a current process and make it better? Push yourself even further than that. How can you take a current process, make it better, and sell that new process to your supervisor? Even further. Sell it to your supervisor and the rest of the team, the organization as a whole, the customer. Those are challenges. Those are opportunities you can rise to. Just by engaging in that scenario you will learn and grow this year. You will have found your opportunity to change your work world, maybe in a small way or maybe in a big way. That change may also impact the world of those around you. Small changes can make big impacts. Look around you for opportunities.
If you’re struggling to find opportunities keep your eyes and ears open in meetings. Have intentional conversations with co-workers – in your department and outside your department. Talk to your supervisor about ways you can make a difference. You’ll find your way, it may not happen today, but if you’re looking for new opportunities, they will present themselves.
I believe the majority of people who look for new opportunities think they need to look outside their current company to find them – probably because they just haven’t thought of the possibility of change in a position that hasn’t changed in years. Valuable employees are progressive employees that make it a habit to find what the next best way is. We challenge you to become that employee.
But, if looking for a new opportunity equals a new job in a new place for you, then by all means you should find your fit. Discover your passion and aggressively look for a way to work in that field. Talking, complaining, dreaming and wishing isn’t going to get you there – doing is going to get you there. Consistently looking, asking, applying and interviewing is going to get you the next opportunity. Too often people stagnate in the talking and complaining phase. Being stuck there is no place to be! You are infecting your daily thoughts (which never positively affects your performance in your current position) and you are oftentimes spewing those thoughts at your co-workers (also affecting their work world in a negative way). Find an opportunity, right here in this phase, to refrain from allowing these talking and complaining behaviors to control your world or affect those around you.
Move swiftly into the doing phase if you have decided the only place for you is not the place you currently find yourself. Only you can find your next opportunity. Engage your network for help, look at job boards, apply for positions, talk (not complain) and strategize with mentors, interview (and learn from each interview) until you find your new place.
As you find yourself getting back into the daily routine after the holidays look for opportunities to be a better you – push yourself outside of your comfort zone and make this one of your best years yet!