Let’s talk about career journeys.
We all know that each journey is as unique and interesting as the person experiencing it, so why do we keep comparing ours to others?
I know I’m guilty of this. I hop onto social media and instantly see all the wonderful progressions my past classmates or coworkers keep on making. And I start to second guess all the work I’ve been putting in lately.
Let’s take this time to break down how to stop looking outward, and start focusing on your own progression and growth, so that you can focus on breaking all the glass ceilings.
Compare yourself to the you that you were yesterday
By now, you know that it’s not productive to compare yourself to others. Not only to someone like Michelle Obama or Tina Fey, but also to your sister, best friend from elementary school or even your mom.
But I want to take this a little further. Stop comparing yourself to the best version of yourself. Yes, it’s great to strive for perfection - to a point. However, if you’re constantly trying to be the you that you were that one week after vacation when your creative juices were roaring and you were well rested, well, that’s just not reality.
Instead, look at the you that you were yesterday, and try to be better than that version. And let me tell you, that’s not always possible either, but it lets you take in the peaks and valleys and lets you embrace them.
Create big goals, but make them manageable
Big goals are great. Big goals are what gets us that promotion, that new job, or even that new business, but big goals can be intimidating.
When I look at my one-year or five-year goals, sometimes I don’t know where to start.
So, instead of hyper-focusing on that big, shiny goal, I break it down into achievable pieces.
What is something you can achieve this month, this week, or today? Create a list, and plot them down on a calendar for a great visual (hello bullet-journaling!). Once you start crossing items off the list, regardless of how small they are, you’ll get the motivation and confidence to keep going, and you’ll realize that the big goal you were fearing wasn’t such a big hurdle after all.
Check in with yourself
Now that you’ve set goals, it’s time to check in to see how you’re doing. I prefer checking in with my goals every six months, halfway through the year, and at the end of the year. These appointments you make with yourself should be taken seriously. You wouldn’t skip your review at your corporate job, so why is it okay to skip your personal review?
This is the time where you should look at your work honestly. Have you been a better version of yourself throughout time? Have you been growing toward your goals? Are your long-term goals more achievable? If yes, then great work, keep it up! But if your honest answer is no, this is also the time that you can reflect on what’s holding you back and brainstorm ways to make the next six months more productive.
Improve your skills
We talked earlier about comparing yourself to the you that you were yesterday, and making sure that you’re improving and growing over time.
One great way to ensure constant growth is by selecting skills you want to improve. This can be something as simple as time management or as complicated as learning a new skill like coding, but It must be something that you specifically identified as a skill that will help take you to the next level personally or professionally.
Give yourself a time frame. Maybe you need one year to learn one new coding language. So, take the time to learn.
Figure out if you need new courses or new equipment, and set a time frame in which this new skill can realistically be adopted.
Make sure you include this in your next check in, and reflect back to see how you have improved on this specific skill. Not only will this take your skillset to a new level, but it will also challenge you and keep you interested and engaged, making sure you’re continuously producing the best work that you can.