Take Your Career to the Next Level in 2018

The New Year is always a time for reflection, when we look ahead and set personal goals, such as losing weight, spending more time with family, or quitting smoking. But January is also a great time to re-solidify work goals for the coming year. Here are some professional resolutions to consider to help you make 2018 your best year yet—both personally and professionally.

Resolve to keep learning.

Thinking about going back to school or just taking a class? Let 2018 be the year you make it happen. There is something incredibly valuable in expanding your knowledge and learning something new on a regular basis. Successful CEOs know this. Consider the correlation between Mark Zuckerberg’s personal educational goals and Facebook’s annual successes. In 2010, Zuckerberg committed to learning Mandarin in the hopes of fulfilling Facebook’s mission of “making the world more open and connected” and Facebook exceeded 500 million monthly users and became the largest social network. In 2015, his goal was to read a new book every two weeks, and the next year, Facebook grew as a major publishing platform. Think about ways to incorporate new learning into your life on a regular basis, whether that is reading a book for 20 minutes a day, taking a new class, or even learning a new word each day. Think you’re too busy? Remember that knowledge fuels success. Think you can’t afford it? Many companies offer tuition reimbursement for their full-time employees.

Do work that truly inspires you.

Successful people usually have a good idea where their “zone of genius” is—that place where you’re doing what you’re best at and most enjoy, lose track of time and produce your best and most satisfying work. Wouldn’t it be awesome to go there more often? To be more in sync with your job and purpose, and at the end of the day feel more energized than burned-out? Make it a priority this year.

Raise your community profile.

“My resolution is to do more publicity and public relations this year,” says a president of a Manhattan-based event-planning agency. “I’m going to focus on doing more press — because press equals exposure, which equals money.” What kinds of PR and public events can you get involved with in your local community? There are many opportunities out there, from sponsoring a Little League team to helping out at a soup kitchen. The great thing about charitable events is you’re doing something good for the world, while meeting potential clients in a relaxed, positive environment.

Become a mentor to a young person. 

Another key to success in work and life is mentorship. Positive and productive mentorships help employees learn, become more engaged and reduce work attrition. This year, make a point to find or reconnect with a mentor, and also give back by mentoring someone else. It doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment. The key is to be involved and engaged—this is the most important factor in a successful mentor relationship. And enjoy the unexpected benefits. Many mentors say they become better at their jobs by teaching others.

Focus on long-term goals.

In work and life, stop focusing on the immediate bottom line and reward and look toward long-term success and sustainability. When you focus on the long term, you shift your focus to making proper investments in your time, money, and goals. Think forest from the trees. You might not see immediate returns at first, but going about your days with long-term goals in mind will help you stay on track with what you ultimately want from your career and life, and help avoid spending endless hours putting out fires or regretting short-term decisions.

Take time to meditate.

The research and evidence on the benefits of mediation is truly extensive, and top CEOs are taking note. Meditation increases immune function, mental focus, positive emotions, empathy, increases social connections and much more, according to Psychology Today. The best part is it’s free and doesn’t take much time at all each day.

Resolve to recharge.

“This past year taught me that taking time to regroup and recharge is essential to being able to give my gifts and effectively wear all of the hats that I wear every day,” says a career coach and strategist. This year, focus on working more efficiently, so you get more done and don’t burn out. Exercise, eat well, and go to bed and wake up at consistent hours every day. Periods of restorative rest can help reset the brain, so you’re even more efficient and creative on the job. If you need a vacation, prepare ahead of time, talk to people, and don’t feel guilty about it. You deserve some time off, and taking time away responsibly can also show managers and coworkers that you respect healthy boundaries when it comes to work and personal life.

Source: Monster.com

Inspiring New Year’s Resolutions of CEOs

As 2017 begins, we thought it would be interesting to look at some New Year’s resolutions of top performing CEOs, courtesy of Inc.com.  We hope they inspire you to make 2017 your best year yet both personally and professionally.

Find your zone and do work that truly inspires you.

Successful people usually have a good idea where their “zone of genius” is—that place where you’re doing what you’re best at and most enjoy, lose track of time and produce your best and most satisfying work. Wouldn’t it be awesome to go there more often? To be more in sync with your job and purpose, and at the end of the day feel more energized than burned-out? Make it a priority in 2017.

Your dream job is not just a fantasy. You can make it a reality if you identify your zone of genius and how it intersects with your career and life. Then, think strategically on how you can make your work move toward greater “in the zone” moments.

Learn something new every day.

There is something incredibly valuable in expanding your knowledge and learning something new on a regular basis. Successful CEOs know this. Consider the correlation between Mark Zuckerberg’s personal goals and Facebook’s annual success. In 2010, Zuckerberg committed to learning Mandarin, and Facebook exceeded 500 million monthly users and became the largest social network. In 2015, his goal was to read a new book every two weeks, and the next year, Facebook grew as a major publishing platform.

Think about a way for you to incorporate new learning into your life on a regular basis, whether that is reading a book for 20 minutes a day, taking a new class, or even learning a new word each day. Think you’re too busy? Remember that knowledge fuels success.

Be a mentor—and connect with your mentors.

Another key to success in work and life is mentorship. Positive and productive mentorships help employees learn, become more engaged and reduce work attrition. This year, make a point to find or reconnect with a mentor, and also give back by mentoring someone else. It doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment. The key is to be involved and engaged—this is the most important factor in a successful mentor relationship. And enjoy the unexpected benefits. Many teachers say they become better at their jobs by teaching others.

Focus on the long-term, not the short-term.

In work and life, stop focusing on the immediate bottom line and reward and look toward long-term success and sustainability.

When you focus on the long term, you shift your focus to making proper investments in your time, money, and goals. Think forest from the trees. You might not see immediate returns at first, but going about your days with long-term goals in mind will help you stay on track with what you ultimately want from your career and life, and help avoid spending endless hours putting out fires or regretting short-term decisions.

Take time to meditate.

The research and evidence on the benefits of mediation is truly extensive, and top CEOs are taking note. Meditation increases immune function, mental focus, positive emotions, empathy, increases social connections and much more, according to Psychology Today. The best part is it’s free and doesn’t take much time at all each day.

Source: Inc.com

Preparing Your Speech on the Road

When you travel for work, do you make presentations to colleagues or clients? Do you interview or train people? Whatever the reason, communicating well is critically important to career success. Here are tips on how to prepare and hone your communication skills, even when you’re on the road.

Take advantage of travel time. The upside of air travel is downtime. This is a great opportunity to think about your speech and what you want to communicate. Use time waiting for your plane and/or flying to think it through and write down notes.

Who is your audience and what’s the best way to communicate with them? Is it a casual Q&A format or a more scripted talk? Write an outline of the key points you should get across, and start rehearsing them in your head. Since most people have a smartphone on them, consider recording your thoughts into the phone, then writing them down more clearly later when you’re alone at the hotel.

Keep it simple. The K.I.S.S. principle, “Keep it simple, stupid,” is a simple but wise adage. When you cram too much information into a talk, your speech will suffer and leave your audience confused, if not resentful that you’re wasting their time. Instead, keep it succinct and focus on two or three main points you want the audience to understand and retain. For example: Here is the challenge, this is what we propose and here’s why it will work.

Rehearsing pays off.  One area where many presenters fail is not rehearsing their speech enough. Know how much time you have, write out your presentation and practice it until you know it by heart. If you’re traveling with a colleague, ask him or her to stand in as your audience. Otherwise, stand in front of a mirror in the hotel room and go through the speech as if you’re presenting.

Some people think that too much rehearsal removes the spontaneity from their speech. The opposite is true when you know what you want to say without cue cards, you’ll be more confident, your talk will flow better and your personality will shine through. Don’t forget to leave time at the end for a question and answer session.

Whether you’re practicing alone or with people, stay aware of your body language. Make and keep good eye contact throughout your speech. If you’re nervous, look for a few key people with positive energy who support you. Smile when appropriate and use hand gestures to put an exclamation point on important points. Stand up straight and don’t be afraid to walk around and engage the audience. Your confidence will breed respect from them. Think of it more as a warm conversation than a speech.

Speak clearly and loudly. Another common trap of presenters is speaking too fast and/or not loudly enough. Don’t be monotone and bore your audience to death—let your voice reflect the words and emotion you are conveying.

When rehearsing, record yourself on your phone and listen back. Are you easy to understand or are you speaking too quickly? It may feel uncomfortable to hear your voice at first, but this is priceless feedback that will help you hone your speech and public speaking ability.

Open strong with “The Rule of Three.” Great orators know the importance of opening a speech strong and drawing the audience in quickly. For example, instead of using the standard, “Today, I’m going to talk to you about childhood obesity,” use the “Rule of Three” instead. “Children. (Long pause.) Obesity. (Long pause.) Epidemic. (Long pause.) This approach creates dramatic impact and will demand the listener’s attention from the start. Then continue strong.

Water and a paperclip. If you find yourself nervous, keep a small object in your pocket such as a paperclip that you can hold and focus on. It will give your nervous energy somewhere to go. Whether it’s a favorite crystal or small toy your child gave you it doesn’t matter what it is as long as it helps you calm down and stay focused. Also, keep a bottle of water close by in case you get a “frog in your throat.” A strategic sip will also allow you a moment to collect your thoughts.