Resolve to Think Strategically About Your Career in 2017

It is January 24; do you know where your New Year’s resolutions are?

I recently stumbled across some pretty interesting statistics on New Year’s resolutions from Statistic Brain Research Institute. One of the ones that stuck with me was “People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.”

Did you make any? If not, it is still early in the year. Go find a quiet spot and reflect. Write down some goals. It is a healthy process that creates energy and focus.

I am a big believer in stating personal and professional goals. I do it every year. I try to get my kids and my wife to do it with me, but they are at that age where they think I am just weird. Yes, even my wife (although she tends to generally feel that way). I know I can be annoying. My behaviors are obsessive. But it works for me and maybe it will work for you.

Looking long term

As many of my readers know, I think about goals across multiple levels: work, family and community. I take a long-term perspective. I always think about where I want to be a few years from now, across each of those areas. I am very happy with my life, but I am motivated by learning and growing. I set goals because change and growth are important to me. Truth be told, I find them fun.

With this long-term perspective established, I then set short-term goals for the year. For example, a long time ago (before I was in my 50s), I said I wanted to be a professor when I retired. So I took a chance and started to teach accounting (my major) at local colleges. Today, I teach leadership and executive coaching at Villanova and I have been doing that for the past 17 years. What was initially just an idea, today is an asset. It is a great feeling and something of which I am genuinely very proud.

This is not a new behavior pattern for me. Every year, I spend the time setting goals. I know we are all busy, but we should never be too busy to think about and invest in ourselves.

Think strategically

At the end of the year, I came across an article, Think Strategically About Your Career Development by Dorie Clark. The title caught my attention because I have always thought about my career as a business – something I personally own and grow. I never have looked at my career as something that was managed by my company or someone else. I have always sought mentors, but for guidance and advice, not ownership. So the idea of thinking strategically about the business of “me” is something I have always done and believe in. It is not selfish, but necessary for professional survival. These concepts are reinforced in Clark’s article.

Additionally, she provides some practical and useful advice:

  • Set the time aside
  • Pre-write your resume
  • Get deep –do work that is meaningful, not work that gives you face time
  • Invest in your reputation “externally”

Though the topic is not new to me and often at the forefront of my mind, this article made me think differently. I love that. I am working on my goals for “getting deep.” How about you? What are you thinking about strategically for your career?