As 2023 draws to a close, I wanted to take some time to talk about something different other than traditional New Year goals. I’m so over the boring resolutions, quantitative business goals, and budget setting spreadsheets! I want to focus on something that I actually WANT do. This next year is an opportune time for business leaders and professionals to embrace creative strategies that redefine your personal success, whatever that looks like for you. For 2024, I am going to focus on a holistic approach to my own professional development, one that balances business savvy with personal growth. In preparation for this newsletter, I sat down and wrote an outline of what that means for me, and I am sharing this list with anyone wanting to do a little something different to chart a new course in their professional journey.
- Expanding Knowledge Horizons:
Those of you who know me, know I am a lifelong learner (Umm, 7 degrees might be your first clue!). But I am challenging you to commit to learning something new each day, whether it’s a reading about a recent development in your industry, watching a video about a new skill that could complement your role, or an entirely different subject altogether that piques your interest. This continuous learning not only keeps you relevant but also stimulates your thinking, bringing fresh ideas and approaches to your work.
- Prioritizing Physical Wellness:
I know, I know, this is nothing different! But hear me out. I, for one, am NOT going to focus on weight loss or even exercise. I am going to incorporate physical wellness into my daily routine, even if it’s in small increments. I am not going to make a resolution to do regular morning jogs, yoga, or gym sessions, but I am going to be more mindful about wellness. Wellness to me means making good food choices each day, taking a few minutes before each meeting to breathe deeply, drinking a least 68 ounces of water per day, wearing 2lb wrist weights whenever I walk, and yes, taking some time to move my body even if it is only a 5-minute stretch! Regular physical activity isn’t just about health for me; I find it improves my cognitive function, energy levels, and overall work performance. Find what works for you and make it a non-negotiable part of your day.
- Mindful Reflection and Recharging:
I’m going to get a little ‘woo’ here. As someone who loves writing, I despise journaling. It might have something to do with my awful handwriting, and the fact I can never read back what I write. But I do want to start 2024 off with a word, phrase, or quote of gratitude when I wake up each day. I have a ‘journal’ that I have had for 4 years that has sat empty. This year I am going to dedicate time each day to step back and reflect on my professional journey, and instead of focusing on the struggles, really embrace the wins and be thankful. If you choose this activity, I would urge you use morning time to assess your progress, identify areas for improvement, or simply free write to decompress from the stresses of your job. This mindful practice helps in maintaining a clear head and a focused approach before work.
- Expanding Professional Networks:
This is a big one for me. Since remote work and Zoom meetings have taken over my life for the past 3 years, I find myself isolated from face-to-face contact and networking. In early December, I joined a C-Level women’s club in Boston and am dedicated to attending in-person workshops and conferences to meet new people. Yes, it is sometimes will be a hassle- ferry, train and Uber to get to events, but overall I believe it will help me with finding more clients. Try to actively seek to broaden your professional network by connecting with individuals outside your usual circles. Attend cross-industry conferences, join diverse professional groups, or engage in online breakout group forums. These interactions can open doors to new opportunities, collaborations, and insights.
- Getting Financially Savvy:
This sounds boring, and the same old, same old. But stay with me for a moment. I have a CPA who does my taxes. I budget monthly with an Excel spreadsheet. I itemize all my receipts quarterly. I thought I was on top of things. But it is a HUGE time drain and something I dread doing. So I am biting the bullet and investing in a money management system that allows me to scan receipts and automatically itemize them for me. For those of you in corporate that travel, I know if you are anything like me, you probably despise expense account reporting! Staying financially on top of paperwork is crucial. Make it a priority to streamline processes like expense reporting, budgeting, and organizing tax-related documents. By simplifying and automating these essential yet time-consuming tasks, you’ll free up more hours in your day. Efficient financial management isn’t just about numbers; it’s about creating more space for creativity, innovation, and the joys of your profession.
- Engaging in Personal Passions:
Someone recently asked me what I like to do in my free time. My first thought was, ‘What free time?’ Between work, travel, family, and you know, sleep, every hour of every day was accounted for! I used to play golf 4 times a week. I used to read for an hour each night, instead of binge watching some reality tv show. I would play bridge once a month with friends. I haven’t done any of these in forever. I am going to branch out and find a card group to play with this winter and am promising myself to get back on the course when spring arrives. Balancing your professional life with personal interests is key to avoiding burnout. Pursuing hobbies or passions outside of work can rejuvenate your mind, inspire inspiration, and provide a much-needed counterbalance to your professional responsibilities.
- Setting and Achieving Personal Milestones:
2016: Post-doctorate certificate- check. 2019: Several #1 International Best-Selling books- check. 2022: TEDx and keynote talks- check. 2024: Securing a Board Advisor for a private or nonprofit company- set. While this goal might sound like a professional one, it is something that I want to do personally to help in my own empowerment. It will not elevate my status as an executive coach, consultant, or trainer, but it doesn’t hurt on a professional level either. Identify personal goals that excites you, separate from your professional objectives. Whether it’s running a marathon, learning a new language, or volunteering, working towards these goals can bring a sense of fulfillment that positively influences your professional life.
- Partnering with a Coach or Consultant:
I need a mentor and a coach, STAT. In my opinion this is ranked #1 on my list of things to do in 2024. While I have several colleagues that I can bounce business ideas off, I am not meeting with them on a regular basis, and they have no idea what my short- or long-term business strategies are. As a coach myself, this has been a hard one. How do I find someone who is the right fit for me? Simple. It starts with what I would tell any potential client that comes to me…with booking discovery calls to find out if there are synergies in your personalities and experience. My business is growing by leaps and bounds, and I need to be able to mitigate this growth. Consider investing in a coach or consultant as a part of your personal development plan. A professional coach can offer tailored guidance, help you navigate career challenges, enhance your leadership skills, and provide objective feedback. This partnership can be a catalyst for significant professional and personal growth.
2024 is more than just another year for me; I see it as a new chapter in my professional story. So which ones are you ready to take on? You don’t have to try to tackle them all, just choose 1 or 2 that resonate deeply with you. I’d love it if you would make this year about smart, holistic growth, stepping beyond the confines of conventional goal setting and resolutions, and making 2024 the year YOU DO YOU!
#NewEraProfessionalGrowth #LeadershipTransformation2024 #HolisticBusinessStrategy