I don’t know about you, but I feel that this year has gone by with meteoric speed. It has been filled with unexpected great surprises, accomplishments and completed goals, but it has also been painted with a few unexpected challenges. Nonetheless, I look toward 2014 with confident expectancy and invite you to do the same. Here are a few tips for getting off to a winning year of Awesomeness and Abundance.
Do a review of your professional and personal goals from 2013.
Which goals did not get accomplished and which are worthy of pursuing in 2014? Did you want a promotion and did not get it? Make a plan to speak to your boss and understand where your shortcomings were and get a really clear strategy of what you need to deliver, produce and do, so that you will not be disappointed again next year. Make sure that you do not just resolve that you will do better. It is imperative that you have a clear understanding of what needs to be done from your boss’s and the organization’s perspective and have a tacit agreement with your boss that if you deliver those things, your chances for promotion will be pretty high, if not guaranteed.
Review your list of sponsors.
Make sure that you are clear on “who is carrying your paper into the room” (read Expect to Win for a more detailed definition of sponsors, mentors and advisers). Many people decide to retire or accept other positions toward the end of the year, effective at the beginning of the year. You should make sure that you still have at least two people in your organization that will spend political and social capital on you behind closed doors. If your sponsor has left the organization, then you should identify at least two people that you want to build a sponsor relationship with, and you should plan to execute and complete this strategy in the first two quarters of the new year. Don’t forget that your sponsor who has left the organization can help you to identify other potential sponsors and they can use their relationship capital to make “warm” introductions for you.
Are you ready for a change?
Ask yourself, what skill, relationships or experiences do you need to get to the “dream job.” Make sure to identify and rid yourself of the usual excuses that people use to justify not moving forward “I can’t afford to right now”; “I have to make sure that the kids’ education is taken care of”; “The job market is really tough”; “What if I fail?” Yes, you may have very real financial obligations to yourself and for your family, but that is no excuse for not exploring relationships, classes or opportunities so that you can make a plan to move forward.
You can set up a coffee or lunch appointment to speak to someone who is doing the job that you want to do to find out what skills are needed, what relationships led them to get the position, how much did their prerequisite experience really matter in their getting the role, etc. The key is to get started, even if you cannot see the entire plan or strategy. Sometimes things are revealed to us as we start to move forward, but if you don’t get started how will you ever get there? The year 2015 will be here quickly and you want the sense of satisfaction that you made affirmative, forward steps toward your “change” in 2014. A journey begins with a single step, commit to taking just one step by Jan. 31, 2014.
Remind yourself that you are a unique, powerful person that perseveres, has tenacity, forms and maintains relationship, and has a track record of accomplishments. Take inventory of where you have been and all that you have learned. Pay particular attention to those experiences that did NOT work out the way that you wanted them to, for they taught you valuable lessons and gave you very valuable and tangible tools that will help you to prosecute your plan going forward. Understand that you have everything that you need to move forward in an awesome way toward an abundant professional life and future!
I am looking forward to sharing more “pearls” on maximizing your success and winning in 2014! Awesomeness and Abundance in 2014, let’s go get ’em!!!!
Happy New Year!
Carla A. Harris is a vice chairman of Global Wealth Management, managing director and senior client adviser at Morgan Stanley. She is a 2005 Network Journal “25 Influential Black Women in Business” honoree. Although the above was first published at carlaspearls.com on Dec. 31, 2013, with a view toward 2014, its guidelines can be applied to every New Year.