This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 5 which is about a 15-20 minute daily habit to prime yourself for success.
For career success, whether it’s finding a new job, advancing in an existing career, or changing careers, daily progress is essential. You can’t cram in networking (contacting someone 3 days in one day is not the same as contacting someone 3 times over the year!). You can’t send out applications one day and then nothing for weeks and expect a new job. You can’t ask one day for a promotion, without setting it up over time – researching what the decision criteria is, researching what the process is, getting feedback on how you’re doing, getting to know all the decision-makers (it probably isn’t just your immediate boss).
Because the process for any one career goal can be long with an open-ended timetable, it’s critical to build in daily activities, 15-20 minutes or longer when you have time. Here are some sample habits for career success that you can mix and match so you can do a different activity every day:
Network – pick contacts at random from your phone, Outlook or LinkedIn and connect just to say Hello. Or respond to status updates on LinkedIn or Facebook, using these as built-in prompts to reconnect
Research – keep a running list of companies that you’re interested in, and visit the website, read about the management team, view press releases, and check for social media connections (a former colleague may have moved there and you just didn’t realize)
Respond – I know too many professionals who get unsolicited calls and don’t respond. If it’s a recruiter call and you’re not looking, you still can glean market information. If it’s a long-lost colleague and you’ve lost touch, you would want the same courtesy of a response if you reached out! (Remember, this person may now be at your dream company.) If it’s a newbie looking for advice, it’s a way to give back.
Brand – post your own status updates. Or change your email signature.
Learn – catch up on articles in your field. Catch up on internal memos at your company (you need to know how your company is doing and what the strategic focus is, especially any changes!). Catch up with colleagues outside your company. You don’t want your knowledge or connections to get too insular.
Mentor – helping and teaching others is a great way to learn. Mentoring doesn’t have to be a formal relationship. It could be that you respond to one of the newbie inquiries. It could be having coffee with a junior colleague. It could be helping out your alma mater.
Journal – career progress doesn’t only happen in relation to other people. In fact, introspection and self-awareness is critical to career success. Keep a journal of ideas, thoughts, and feelings. What is going well (so you can build on this)? Where are you stuck (so you can get support)? What are your wildest dreams (so you can stay inspired)?
My ongoing career success habits include all of the above. I also find meditation very helpful. I also make sure to mix in live/ offline networking with all the online communication we already do. Finally, I build in something fun every day. This week, I saw a movie on a Tuesday, our family went out to dinner on a Wednesday — I don’t wait for the weekend!