Do you have the itch to make the most of your time in the workplace but aren’t exactly sure where to apply your efforts? It might be time to revamp your professional development wish-list. Though, wishing won’t get you where you want to be.
Paying conscious attention to areas that can use improvement is sure to pay off. Be patient, set goals, and go after them. Here are our top eight to get you started on your journey to better work experience.
1. Grow Your Network
Don’t settle for the connections you think you have and don’t impose limiting beliefs on yourself, such as “I already know someone for that.” Every single person you meet is a contact for something. Some may prove to be more fruitful than others, and others may not have initially apparent value.
Never pass up an opportunity to add someone to your growing database of helping hands. Remember that to have a thriving network, that you must also be available to offer yourself. Consider your network as ever-growing and watch it bloom.
Do it now: Make a habit of collecting contact information after short meetings and make yours minimal and easy to remember.
2. Become Emotionally Intelligent
Tap into your ability to connect with people past basic work lingo and address. Cueing into your emotional intelligence will lead to a stronger instinct in the workplace, and possibly even more confidence in doing your job.
Having a high emotional intelligence will allow you to effortlessly pick up on nonverbal cues and expectations that perhaps aren’t required to be communicated, but are no less crucial to your success.
Do it now: Next time you’re at work, make an effort to talk to a co-worker, and listen. Pay attention to the details about their days and more.
3. Master the Work-Life Balance
Achieving a smooth balance between your time at work and outside of it is a challenge for most. Make a conscious effort to establish a healthy connection between the two. This will enable you to be more effective in the workplace while recharging outside of it.
Mastering the work-life balance is the key to preventing job burnout.
Do it now: Write everything in your daily life that falls under “work.” Then, flip the paper over and write what pertains to “pleasure.” Make an effort, to be honest, and when you’re finished, absorb the facts.
4. Embrace Your Weaknesses
Don’t shy away from the parts of your job that you aren’t the best at. Take your weaknesses and own them harder than your strengths. Identify them and tackle them one by one. Understand that this may take time and extra effort.
Make yourself available and receptive to acquiring new skills. Drop any limiting beliefs about “what you always mess up” or the things that you feel you’ll never be good at. Rewire your strengths by simply deciding and executing. Being patient with yourself and going the extra mile will get you one mile closer to being amazing at your job.
Do it now: Identify your weaknesses, then envision what the opposite of them would be and feel like.
5. Improve Your Micro-Skills
Think about all of the micro-skills you’ve needed to acquire to do your job daily. How often do you consider the things you do what feels like automatically? Take a moment to identify what these might be, and zero in.
How can you become an absolute expert in the little things? If you needed to write the manual on them, could you? Perhaps there is an opportunity to remind yourself just how much you know or extend your abilities to training others.
Do it now: Write a step by step process of how you’d explain how to do your job to someone who would have absolutely no experience pertaining to any aspect of your job, in the format of the listing.
6. Ask for Regular Feedback
Even if you’re pretty sure where you stand at work daily, it’s always a good idea to get feedback that supports what you assume is a good job. You might find there are small aspects you’re overlooking that have the potential to make a world of difference.
It may not be anything you’re doing “wrong,” but instead things you can do better or GR8. Plus, it indicates the initiative to grow from criticism on your end.
Do it now: Be compassionate when requesting additional feedback from your superiors. Do so with humility, and make sure to communicate your intentions.
7. Understand the Systems Around You
It’s oh so easy to become complacent in the workplace and have a tunnel vision attitude when it comes to showing up, doing the work, and leaving. Life hits around us, and sometimes, although we’re keenly aware, we forget we’re moving parts of a bigger machine.
What is that machine? What are the other moving parts? Even though the systems that surround the work you do may not always appear to impact your own, you may be surprised to find that the cogs often correlate. Promote a smooth, systematic experience by taking the time to educate yourself on the corners of your work that you don’t usually touch.
Do it now: For one week (or more depending on your workplace), dedicate an hour or so each day to learn about a specific branch in your company. Ask questions and survey those with expertise, if possible.
8. Become Fearless
Being fearless, contrary to its appearance, is not the absence of fear. It is instead the resilience to fight it at all costs. Understand that your fears are likely a product of your experience and personal trauma. They are probably a product of the concerns belonging to those around you.
Either way, taking control of whatever fear is present is the idea to hone in on. Don’t allow fear to prevent you from being bold, taking chances, or taking the lead. Ask for help when necessary, offer help when needed. Drop fear off where it belongs, in the middle of nowhere, and out of your workplace.
Do it now: It’s common for us to push our fears where we can’t see them. Identify your fears clearly, and say them out loud repeatedly.
Take Your Time
Remember that change takes time and that the products of your effort will not show themselves overnight. Put in the work, and you’re sure to reach a place of higher development in time. Be realistic about your goals, and go for them.