We’re almost halfway through 2014, and it’s been months since most people talked about their New Years’ resolutions. How many of yours fell by the wayside before the end of January?
It’s not too late to brush off those career resolutions and still follow through. You can still resolve to make changes at work to truly get noticed. This can still be the year you emerge as a team leader and move up in the company. (Click here to tweet this bit of inspiration.)
By capitalizing on your strengths and avoiding negative or competitive behaviors, make 2014 the year you get ahead. These essential actions will help build career velocity and happiness.
1. Elevate your personal brand
As an individual you have a history, reputation and other attributes that set you apart. This is especially true at work, where your strengths and flaws are apparent. This experience of YOU is what differentiates you — not your title or credentials. People who hone their personal brand stand out in a crowd of talent.
If you’re consistent in how your deliver the experience of you, you build equity. As you build equity, more of your coworkers will want to work with you and engage with your brand. Build your personal brand like any large brand is built: with effort and lots of reflection.
What do you do for your customers — in this case your boss, employees or clients? How do you do it? Be innovative. Be creative. This consistent experience of you is how you build trust and relationships.
Last of all, why do you do what you do? What drives you? Be inspired, and you’ll inspire those around you. Be sincere. People will notice, and they will become loyal customers of your brand.
Forget your resume for a minute. Distill all that goes into your brand in a few sentences that capture the essence of the YOU experience. Like a powerful tagline or an elevator speech, own the way you communicate your value.
2. Get in alignment
When you feel “off,” “overwhelmed,” or “not yourself,” you’re out of alignment. You could chalk it up to stress and attempt to power through. But ignoring what’s going on within will simply deplete you and make your greatest work impossible.
This “off” feeling is a signal. If your energy is low, will your brand stand out? Think about the x factor every great leader has — that magnetism, that energy that makes us want to follow them. Nothing about about a great leader feels “off” or “overwhelmed.”
Is this because of a fundamental difference between great leaders and the rest of humanity or because they’ve found their alignment? Rather than powering through when you feel out of alignment, listen to your body’s needs. Know yourself and know what you need to reach that x factor.
To get in alignment, you have to feel good in your skin. Make time to exercise every day. Don’t say you don’t have time. Exercise reduces stress and helps process what overwhelms you — obstacles you don’t have time for.
When’s the last time you had a big idea? Were you sitting at your desk? Doubt it.
3. Choose to partner
Being in business can bring out the worst in us — or the best. It’s a choice. Hierarchy, competition, pressure, poor communication, deadlines and lack of financing or budget can create a feeling of scarcity, adversity and fight or flight.
No one gets ahead in fight or flight. Feeling threatened brings out the worst in us. The blame game, politicking, punitive management, paralysis and backlashing are symptoms you may recognize.
True leaders work with their teams, rather than against them. They understand the temptation toward fight or flight, but don’t give in. Instead, they create partners. Everyone on the team has something to offer, and they all want to be recognized for their contribution.
Being a leader means knowing how to both utilize and appreciate those around you. Being a partner means working toward a common goal. The hassles and inefficiencies of duking it out with your team aren’t worth your trouble. Forget about them and become a master of partnership.
Moving ahead in your career while building happiness takes immense self-reflection. You have to understand your brand — the experience of YOU — as well as what holds you back.
When you play to your strengths and make productive choices, you’ll find you remove roadblocks, build your brand, further your cause and inspire those around you. Know yourself. Consider what makes you successful. Now go out and make this the year you deserve!
Cherie Healey is an entrepreneur, Board Certified Results Coach, business owner, and Velocity Guru for Workboard, Inc. She has over 20 years of corporate experience and a deep commitment to reminding people what they’re made of so they can make a profound difference in the world. TappedInLeader.com