Professional reflection and setting goals for direction
A new year brings hope for career success and personal fulfilment. We are rejuvenated and positive for the year ahead. To ensure that we commit to such fulfilment, it is important to undertake professional reflection of the previous year, and set goals for the year ahead. If you haven’t done that yet, it’s time!
This is the time to understand yourself and your life direction by asking yourself thought-provoking authentic questions. Your answers tap into a deeper level of understanding your inner self.
Reflect on where you are now in your career and personal life. Ask yourself:
- What has contributed to my success both personally and at work?
- Am I satisfied in my job?
- Am I working with my professional strengths?
- Am I doing what I enjoy?
- Are my work goals being met?
My rule when I am doing well, is to know what I have done, and keep doing it!
Now reflect on went wrong or negative situations. Some may find this difficult as it may be difficult to admit to – and take responsibility! Others are very good at only seeing the difficulties.
Ask yourself: Why did I make a mistake? Consider how much was within or external to your sphere of control. Your sphere of control are all the things that you can directly control – your internal factors. Essentially, it is everything that you say, do and think!
Address your mistake in the context of the internal factors such as your personal disorganisation, habits, health, lifestyle, or family situation. Place your energy in addressing these areas.
External reasons for issues or mistakes may be within your organisation such as: organisational policy, lack of training, resources, job design or unrealistic job demands. There may be increasing work demands due to staff reduction, or organisational re-structure that has affected your stress levels and work performance.
Other external factors may be due to industry trends, new or increased technology that impact on your performance. Record those that impact on your ability to meet your work key performance indicators.
Take a specific situation, analyse and reflect on the reasons for the mistake: within or external factors. It is a time for emotional honesty. Mistakes happen, but by reflecting, you are able to take responsibility and demonstrate your professional learning to make a change. Your response is often recognised by others, and demonstrates your flexibility to manage change.
How can you Change? Set goals – short and long term
Where would you like to be in the future, perhaps by the end of the year or in the next 2-3 years? It is a time to visualise and be creative. To set goals, ask yourself:
- What do I want from my career?
- Are you seeking a promotion, a new job or perhaps a new career?
- Are you seeking to work in a new capacity, perhaps part-time to leave time for a work-life balance, semi or retirement?
The gap between where you are now and where you would like to be in the future creates the opportunity to position yourself. How you get there is by establishing short and long term goals, planning your professional development and managing your career.
Plan your professional goals. Based on your professional self-reflection, develop your goals. Be realistic and set two or three goals. Prioritise these according to your needs, and into short and long term goals. Short term goals are usually 1-2 years, and long term goals are 3 years and beyond.
Ask yourself: What are the professional areas that require improvement? It may be learning a new skill, developing a skill deficiency, or if you are considering working in industry, you will need to develop a business orientation.
As you grow and develop, you change how you see yourself, and in the process, how others see you. You gain self-confidence, and a sense of control.
Get a clear direction of where you want to go in 2016, and a passion for your life direction.
Good luck, and enjoy the journey.
Leah Shmerling is the Director and Principal Consultant of Crown Coaching and Training, and has over 30 years’ experience in career development, life coaching, education and training. Leah is the author and publisher of the nationally accredited online short course Foundations in Career Development Practice.
Leah is a professional member of the Career Development Association Australia (CDAA), a Certified Retirement Coach and is Board Certified as a Career Management Fellow with the Institute of Career Certification.
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