One of my mentors once told me that December is a good month to take time and reflect on what you have accomplished career-wise in the last 12 months and what your goals are for the coming year. Thanks to this advice, I began to view the month of December as a sort of a personal performance review.
The advantage with December is that any concept of routine gets tossed out the window: you have more activities than normal, you see people you haven’t seen in a long time, you travel, you indulge a little more, you stay up past bedtime, sleep in a little later… What’s great about breaking your routine is that you have a window of opportunity to see yourself differently. If you take it, it can set the tone for the year ahead.
Why it’s important to reflect
If you have never taken time to reflect your career, you may be wondering why it’s important. My answer is this: no one will manage your career for you.
No one will drop a bucket of cash in your lap. No one will come to you and give you one exciting project after another. No one will show up and mentor you in the way you need to be mentored.
To accomplish any of these things, it’s up to us to seek them out. And if you don’t know what you are looking for, it can be pretty hard to find. This is why you need to take stock of where you are, figure out what you want and analyze the gap between the two.
How to begin your reflection
Let’s start with where you are. In your current job, what elements are perfect? Is it your boss? Perhaps one or two of your responsibilities are exactly what you want to do. Is it your team? Do you have a star employee you would like to develop? Take a few moments to think about these or jot them down and let them sit in your subconscious.
Conversely, what are some elements about your job that you would rather leave to the side or delegate? What are some duties that you dread doing? Are they essential to accomplishing your job? It’s important to think about what you don’t want to do, because it gives you contrast and perspective.
Right now, you shouldn’t necessarily be looking for answers, but rather just ask yourself questions. You also want to pay attention to how you feel. We act in accordance with how we see ourselves. If you are acting on the outside in a way that is not aligned with what’s going on inside, you will consciously or unconsciously behave in a way that will direct you towards a more authentic self. Needless to say, it is better to act consciously, plan and set the goals that you want to achieve.
Throughout the month of December, I will offer tips and advice to help move the thought process along and some concrete actions to take if you decide that 2017 is your year to get behind the wheel of your career. Stay tuned!