Put New Mindset to Work in 2010
The new year has one thing in common with the last year: We have no idea what to expect.
Most economists predict another shaky one. Some foresee an up tick in hiring late in the year. Maybe not. So last year's career advice goes for 2010.
Last year at this time I urged you to grab hold of a new mindset with the rallying cry that won a Civil War victory at Mobile Bay: "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!" It was not easy to embrace.
The inclination to hold on for dear life kicked in big time.
"I held on to my job so tight and would not look right or left and remained paralyzed with fear," one client told me, reflecting on how she handled '09.
Things didn't go well for her. "I didn't utilize the year as best I could. Maybe I just needed to be clobbered with a two-by-four to get moving. Now it's not a question of will I make a change, but when," she said.
So after a year of one of the weirdest economic spells in most of our lives with predictions for more trying times ahead, the question is: What will you do differently this year?
Will you do things you need to - but haven't - which includes this 2009 advice:
- Have your long and shorter here's-who-I-am-and-how-I-make-a-difference spiel ready to share at a moment's notice.
This is your well-crafted, meaty overview of your career that you'll whip out at formal meetings and impromptu moments when asked to "Tell me about yourself." A tool you need to practice in front of stuffed animals, pets or real people until you're sick of hearing yourself and the words confidently roll off your tongue.
- Stop spending time on wasteful job hunting activities like blindly sending out resumes and letters asking everyone for a job. Instead target people and organizations who have a need for what you do.
- Stop talking about your title. Instead figure out your value so you can wow another company.
- Squash the notion that getting it done is good enough. Someone said, that which gets done can be measured. But that which gets done well can be measured and rewarded.
- Hone your hyper-human skills.
These are skills that can't be performed by machines and make us superior, says Richard W. Samson, director of the EraNova Institute.
They involve conscious perception, pursuing ethical objectives, imagination, subjective decision making, hypothesizing and social skills.
Most important, will you take another stab at that new rallying cry? The one where, despite all you lost and is still unknown, you muster your strength and go full speed ahead anyway.
When I wrote that last year, I based it on how a self-employed man told me he was entering 2009. "I'll be accelerating things," he had said. "Working on new fronts. Looking at greater value I can provide clients. Trying out new ideas. Working longer hours and doing more work on speculation."
How'd it go?
"I had a good year," he says. "I tried new things. Some didn't fly, but I learned. I worked hard, got new business and my clients had their best year yet. I played to win instead of playing not to lose. I worked."
So how about it? It's 2010. We have no idea what to expect. So why not damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!