If you recall, we started our first career development blog post this year discussing effective goal setting. Before I move any further, I must check, how are those goals coming along for you? Are you crushing them, or are you having some challenges? I would love to hear from you in the comments, so please share.
For now, though, let’s move forward with the purpose of this post, shall we?☺️
I have a question for you to start us off. Do you find yourself spending more time focused on others than yourself? I am not just talking in your personal life, but also in your professional life. Do you find that you are more focused on meeting deadlines, attending meetings, performing to gain a pay increase, or potential bonus, more than spending time on your own career aspirations and desires? Okay, so maybe that was 2 questions instead of 1. Regardless, if you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are not alone. Frankly, I have answered yes to these questions in the past as well. However, to be the best you in ’22 from a professional perspective, which is my theme for the year, you have to take time to focus on YOU. This means taking time to focus on where you want to go in your career and how you will get there.
Now I would have to think, you probably have some goals you want to achieve this year. I am hopeful you are making progress on those goals; but with those goals may come opportunities to develop yourself, and you need to take time to do that. You see what tends to happen all so often is we get so involved in getting work done, that we put everything else as a priority over our own career development. Think about it, how many times in your career have you documented a development plan, but didn’t follow through on completing the objectives in the plan? Or better yet, have you ever created a development plan, and if not, why not? Probably because you don’t think it’s important at the time, because your focus is to do a good job, obtain a paycheck and take care of your responsibilities. Please hear me, I am not saying those things are not important, as they are VERY important. However, as you take care of your responsibilities one of those responsibilities is YOU. You need to take care of YOU.
I want to share a conversation with you I had in the early part of April of this year. I was speaking to a friend of mine, and during that conversation the topic of career pivot came up. He is seriously considering making a career shift due to his current work environment. We discussed potential industries he has transferrable skills for. I advised there would need to be some soul searching, researching on his part on what type of position he desired, as well as, industries of interests. One of his comments to me, was how was he going to find time to fit this in his schedule? That’s when I had to intervene and help with a mindset shift. I provided some tips on a different way of thinking of this, as you this shouldn’t be a burden or something you feel like you are adding to your to do list, that I wanted to share with all of you who may have the same question.
You make time for what is important to you – I have found you will make time for what is important to you. We can come up with every excuse to procrastinate, or not do something, especially if it may be hard, or challenging, but doing that is a disservice to yourself. You wake up and go to work every day helping an organization thrive and reach their goals, essentially making a profit. It’s your skill and value you are bringing to the table every single day that is helping that organization transform, and make money. You spend at a minimum 8 hours a day working for someone else helping them achieve their goals and objectives, right? Is it really too much to take an hour, or two, a week to focus on yourself to achieve your goals and objectives, to ensure you continue to grow and develop in the way you desire? To ensure you are doing what your love and you know what your purpose is in this life? I think NOT!!!! I don’t think it’s too much to ask at all, and neither should go.
Make a commitment to yourself – once you are ready to take some time for yourself, make a commitment to yourself to do it! Commit to a certain timeframe, and frequency, when you will focus on your professional and personal development. This could be an hour week on Wednesday, or maybe 2 hours a week spanning a couple of days; just make the commitment to focus on yourself.
Create & honor your boundaries – once you make the commitment stay true to that commitment by creating and honoring your boundaries. Do not allow others to infringe on the precious time you have dedicated to yourself. If those around cannot honor and appreciate your taking time out for yourself, maybe they are not the right people to be around, if you have that option. I know there are some things that are just out of our control. However, having boundaries an ensuring you are honoring them is very important.
Consistency is key – once you make the commitment you have to be consistent in executing that commitment. Consistency is KEY. You may need to block that time off on your calendar to ensure that development time remains sacred, with no interruptions or distractions. This is no different from you attending standing meetings every day or week at work, right? Yes, you are getting paid to attend those meetings as it’s part of your job, but you are also getting paid to develop yourself. The only difference is the payment may not be monetary at first for your own personal development, but the seeds you are sowing now are to gain a plentiful harvest in the future. There will be a return on investment. I am a witness! 🙌🏾
Accountability – make sure to have someone hold you accountable during this time. Going back to the conversation I spoke about earlier I had with my friend, I actually told him I will be checking in on him every week to ensure he is honoring his commitment. Sometimes just knowing you have to give an account of your actions to someone else is just enough to keep you motivated to do what you have to do. Most of us do not like to disappoint others, so this is a GREAT way to hold yourself accountable even more so. You don’t have to do this alone.
Celebrate – as you achieve success along the way, celebrate your wins, whether big or small. A win is a win and it should be celebrated. Don’t be so focused that you don’t appreciate the successes along the way. Celebration and recognition help to keep you motivated as you are seeing your progress along the way. A win doesn’t always have to amount to a promotion or job change, but it can be as simple as you raising your hand to take on a more challenging task and crushing it!
In conclusion, I hope you can take these 6 tips and start to implement them today if you struggle with taking time to focus on self. Taking time for yourself is hard for a lot of people. Many of us neglect ourselves for the sake of others. We do it because we have a heart to help others and we want to do a good job and be recognized for doing great work. There is nothing wrong with that, but you have to take time out for yourself as well. You have to take time out to continue to grow and develop yourself, even if your employer doesn’t support it, or see the value, in career development. At the end of the day, you own your own career, so take it by the reigns and own it. Remember, this is the year to eliminate unnecessary distractions, and stop forsaking yourself for others, so you can be the “BEST YOU IN ‘22”. This is the year for CHANGE! So, let’s make the changes taking baby steps. Take the first step in committing to making time for yourself weekly for a minimum of 1 hour, or if you already do this increase it by 30 additional minutes. Find someone to hold you accountable to that timeframe and do effective work to develop yourself. Then celebrate your wins along the way. WE GOT THIS!!!! YOU GOT THIS!!!! Now go forth and conquer!!!!
WE GOT WORK TO DO IN ’22!!!
Until next time,
The BA Martial Artist is signing off 🥋
To continue the conversation concerning professional and personal development please take a look at two programs I offer below.
P.S. Accountability Membership Program (AMP) - if you have defined your goals, or need help defining your goals and need someone to hold you accountable. I have got the program for you. I created the AMP to help individuals reach their goals. Most successful people are successful because they had help on that path to success. To find out more about this program click here.
P.P.S Coaching Membership Program (CMP) - Are you on a project where you need additional support and guidance to deliver on that project? Are you a business analyst, project manager, or leader who would love some 1:1 coaching, but also have an online community where you can glean wisdom from others? Then this program is for you. I created this program to provide 1:1 coaching for individuals who needed that 1:1 time to sharpen their skills, ask questions, and have an listening ear while doing work. To find out more about this program click here.