As we reach the end of the year we start thinking about how we want next year to be better. Peter Diamond suggests we work to first BE better.
A tennis instructor once told me, “Either you are on a quest to continually improve your tennis game or you are getting worse, there is no staying the same.” The same holds true for your career and life.
During most of my twenty-one year career in advertising I was singularly focused on my clients and their success. I did what was needed to develop marketing programs that increased their revenue and created a competitive advantage. In turn, I was doing very little to enhance my personal value. Over time I found myself feeling depleted, bored and frustrated. Worse yet, I felt left behind as others were advancing and enhancing their life.
It’s easy to forget that you are your own best asset because so much time is spent reacting to the wants and needs others. This is particularly true if you’re over 35. With the omnipresent demands of career and family you find little time for yourself.
As one year eases into the next, take a moment to pause, reflect and reset how you live in the present and what you want for yourself in the future. Creating a personal investment plan entails mindset, action and belief in what can be. Here are 6 tips to get you started.
Appreciate and accept what you have
It’s easy to lose sight of accomplishments made and the good in your life. In today’s hyper-connected world people are constantly sharing their achievements and good fortune. Without a healthy dose of self-esteem you can under-appreciate your efforts. In comparison to others they may not seem as meaningful or grand. It’s not uncommon to shine the harshest light on yourself. This unwittingly draws your attention to what you don’t have.
Tip 1: Reflect on the past year and make note of what you are grateful for, your favorite experiences, memories, personal highlights and career successes.
Amplify what matters most
You spend years gathering and holding on to wants and needs that you thought were critical to who you are, such as; I want and need the next promotion, I want and need a bigger house, I want and need more stuff, etc. During this dizzying pursuit, all too often you lose sight of what matters most including your own best attributes. They get pushed down or layered over by doing what you think is the right thing to do, act or be in order to gain success and acceptance.
Tip 2: Get reacquainted with what’s best about you and make sure it’s front and center in your life and how you interact with others. This could be your playfulness, kindness toward others or sense of adventure. You owe it to yourself and those around you to let your best self shine bright.
Acquire a new skill
There is a prevailing sentiment that once past age forty, you’re too old for change or you can’t spare any time in an already over-scheduled day or there is no imminent business need to learn a new skill. With this mindset you are compromising your personal growth and perceived value as it relates to your colleagues and others in your industry.
Tip 3: To enhance your personal value, identify a new skill to add to your repertoire. If this skill is within the context of your current job check to see if your company will pay for it especially if it will benefit your team or organization. Go one step farther and create a learning agenda for the next twelve months. Each month pick an interesting topic to investigate or skill to learn. With all the online resources available you won’t even need a budget.
Actively pursue your life
Investing in your health and physical well-being should be non-negotiable. Not surprisingly, this can be relegated to the sidelines. Without awareness, you can spend most of your day sitting in the car, at work and at home. Exercise has not only physical benefits but also mental. It can provide a welcome relief from daily stresses and serve as a distraction from negative thoughts. Increased physical activity can lift your mood and improve sleep patterns.
Tip 4: Be active. Be engaged. Get up and start doing. Put yourself into motion. What form of exercise do you like most? Dancing, walking, running, swimming, skiing, racquetball, boot camps, biking, spinning, etc. Add a healthy dose of exercise to your daily routine.
When dealing with day-to-day career and life challenges it’s easy to let unjustified fears drag you down. This could be apprehension about increased responsibilities, a new boss, your continued job performance or family. The unknown can create scenarios that play out over and over in your head usually ending in disaster. This is referred to as pre-worrying; thoughts that consume so much mental space that you aren’t focusing on the present thereby losing valuable time to positively influence your situation and those around you.
Tip 5: Instead of being weighed down by the heaviness of worry, opt to be lifted up by the joy and prospect of happiness. The next time your mind is flooded with anxiety about a future event bring your attention back to the present and anticipate a positive outcome.
Allow good things to happen
How much of your life is spent moving away from what you don’t want? You may not have thought about your life through this lens but for most people they make decisions in order to avoid what they don’t like or things that cause them angst, pain or discomfort.
Tip 6: Open yourself up positive change. Move toward what you want by spending your time and energy in activities that your believe in and will enhance your personal growth.
You owe it to yourself and those around you to invest time and energy in what will make you flourish and prosper. In 2015, how are you going to invest in yourself?
Photo: Flickr/David Goehring