“A journey of 1000 miles begins with one step” – Lau Tzu

Amazingly another year is coming to an end. As with many folks 2015 was a busy year for me. Notably, I completed a second Master’s degree and I launched my own business. However, like everyone else, what matters now is how to make the most out of 2016. In other words, what can be done today to position myself for an even greater 2016?

Over the last couple months I’ve outlined the basic concepts of centered leadership, now it’s time to apply them. Since many people’s thoughts this time of year turn to one’s professional well being and career I wanted to share how to apply centered leadership to accelerate your career.

A month ago I wrote about accelerating your career.  In this series we will take that deeper.  Whether you are looking to get a new job, score that big promotion or enhance your own leadership skills to improve employee engagement, there are three simple and practical steps you can take now to better position yourself for success in 2016. The steps are:

  1. Know yourself –> Mindfulness of self
  2. Know your goal –>Mindfulness of others
  3. Don’t go it alone –>Extending

In this first post we’ll examine the first step of knowing yourself and will touch on the other steps in subsequent posts.

Know yourself

Rather than starting with what you want to accomplish, start first with why you want to set out on the journey. What is your driver? Why do you want that new job? Why do you want that promotion? Understand your passion and what is driving you. Are you running away from your current situation or running towards something new? If you are running away from something, then just about any other job will do. However, if you are running towards something, then what is driving you to achieve your goal? That’s your motivation. How do you want to be different after completing your journey (i.e., what’s the growth opportunity)? This is about being mindful of yourself and what is important to you.

Take the time to understand why you are setting out on the journey, but also take time to assess what tools you have for your journey. How well prepared are you? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Inventory your knowledge, skills and abilities. You want to target opportunities that play to your strengths and down play your weaknesses. For example, one client was extremely strong in strategy, planning, and execution, but weak in marketing and sales. So while sales roles were plentiful and paid well, we agreed he should not apply because that would play to his weakness rather than his strengths.

There is also a current theme around looking at how you want to manage your career and how you want to trade your non-renewable resource of time for a renewable resource of money. Put another way, money is fungible, if you lose some you can always go earn it back. However, time is not. Once spent, time is lost forever, so spend it wisely on something you are passionate about.

A lot of people take a shot-gun approach to job searches and apply to anything. It is more effective to target roles that are at the intersection of your passions and your strengths and avoid the temptation to apply to any job that has a big salary associated with it. No amount of income can offset being miserable in your work.

There are lots of great resources out there to help you with job searches. Probably one of the most well known is What Color Is My Parachute.   However, what I’m talking about goes deeper. Try taking the strengths finder test as a simple, practical way to start your inward journey.

In the next article in this series we’ll look at how to get clear on your goal and match that up with your passions and strengths.

How do you want to grow from the experience of doing something new career-wise in 2016?