5 unorthodox tips to start your career right

I love the start of a new year.

It comes with a freshness that following the reflection of a year past, choosing what to close off, what to bring with you into another year and the new adventures you’d like to create.

Reviewing your career is a natural part of the process and as we ready ourselves for a new work year – it’s interesting to observe the inner changes that come along with it.

Here are 5 tips to start your career right and spark those intentions you set:

1. Slow it down

I had to start with this one!  The first few days back at work, despite your best intentions, tend to be a bit of a kerfuffle as your brain reawakens to thinking All The Time, remember what you had planned to kick off with and not secretly wishing for your afternoon nap or wine.

The return to everyday life takes a few days to adjust along with juggling school lunches and home admin in shorter time windows. It’s a natural part of the human rhythm.

If you find you end the first week back and didn’t get to The Talk with your manager, or registered on the job site or rewritten your CV – it doesn’t make you a loser or a wimp.

Give yourself space to get back into the swing of things. Don’t lose sight of the actions that you want to take to create the shifts in your career.

Look at how you use your time – the quality and energy of it. Use this time sketch tool to help you identify what to make more or less in your week.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed – break the actions down to the smallest step. Small enough that your intellectual brain is insulted because it’s that simple.

Start there.

2. Review your ‘Average 5’ circle

Jim Rohn said ‘you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with’.

Whether you want to acknowledge it or not – the environment we operate in and people who surround us influence our thoughts, beliefs, conversations and aspirations.

Make a list of the 3-6 people you spend the most time with. It could be family, friends or co-workers. Evaluate them for the influence you’d like them to have in your life. Remember to have a balanced circle, you want a combination of people who support and challenge you.

What is their background? What are their successes?

How do they conduct themselves and do they share similar aspirations to yourself?

Are they ‘stuck’ in the same old story or do they take steps to empower themselves?

If you’re thinking ‘how can I change up the 5 in my workplace?’ – I’d challenge you to think if this is truly the type of workplace that fits your values, your personal vision and how you want to shape your career.

You may find that you’d like to step away from some of the people who currently take up a lot of your time. Acknowledge it may take courage to do this and reflect on the qualities you’d like to replace them with going forward.

3. Fire up your focus superpower

Sigmund Freud popularised the ‘3 minds’ of the brain being conscious (10%), subconscious (50-60%) and unconscious (30-40%).

In a high level summary – our conscious mind is what we’re most aware of in everyday life as it’s the way we experience ourselves and others through thoughts, actions, words, pictures and movement.

Our subconscious and unconscious minds (apart from taking care of our automated body functions such as breathing) store memories and past experiences. These may be repressed or not, depending on the nature of the event. It communicates with us through feelings, emotions, sensations.

Our unconscious mind is in constant contact with our conscious mind. It evaluates a situation and based on previous experiences and memories – will choose to respond in a certain manner.

Think how a work colleague utterly exasperate you with a certain behaviour, yet others don’t seem to be as affected by it.  This is because of your own filter on the situation.

Given that our conscious mind is 10% and our working memory can hold maximum 7 thoughts at a time – no wonder making changes can be difficult!

Your hidden super power is focusing your conscious mind.

How? By being aware and deliberate in the choices you make.  Remember – by NOT making a choice – it is still a choice.

As soon as you notice your thoughts have run away with you – whether they are positive or negative – bring them back into focus.

Examine them.

Is this what you want to be planting in your mind?

Do you want to invest your precious energy in those particular thoughts or actions or choose a different one?

Focus is your best friend!

4. Make self compassion one of your best friends

With almost every client that I coach – lack of self compassion comes up. It’s like a dark, dirty secret to admit they are so hard on themselves.

In fact – they often can’t see it.

It comes up when they took sick leave but felt like a loser, guilty or a fraud for not being at their desk

It shows when the project they spent hours over and received praise for, still wasn’t ‘good enough’

It’s the inner voices the chant ‘loser, slacker, you could do better, you’re taking the easy way out’ when you’ve done your best on a piece of work.

Self compassion is like the loving conversation you’d have with your best friend – except it’s with yourself.

It’s about holding your mistakes, thoughts and feelings with more lightness.

With gentleness for the human experience you are having in an ever-changing workplace.

I appreciate these words may be easy to read, yet difficult to put into practice.

It took adrenal burnout for me to truly grasp self compassion. It was an incredibly hard lesson to learn and remains an ongoing journey. The results however are I now have a life and career that feel more at ease, with more room to breathe and alot less judgement. 

I encourage you to play with it.

Start small.

It may be catching the internal dialogue and choosing to stop it.

It may be holding the palm of your hand to your stomach and offer it the same comfort you’d offer a friend.

Do start.

5. Choose to invest in yourself

Given that our sub-and-unconscious mind drive 90% of our brain – little wonder that changing mindset, behaviours and actions is a never-ending ongoing personal marathon.

If your company actively invests in your training and you attend courses to improve certain skills (communication skills, leadership, time management, functional expertise) you are in a fortunate position.

Yet, you need more than training – you need your own personal guide to help integrate what this means for you, the inner beliefs that need to change and how you want to show up.

Many clients I coach have not received formal training for some time. Whilst they continue to ask their leadership for training, hoping each new year will be different – apart from a one-or-two day conference – they don’t receive anything further.

Please don’t leave it in the hands of your manager or the next performance review. You are the captain of your career, the driver of your own career. In today’s world of work where the changes continue to come our way – if you’re not being proactive about your future – you may be left scrambling on the other side of a restructure versus feeling confident in the skills and path you shaped.

You invest in healthy foods, exercise programmes, entertainment and activities to feed your mind and soul. You invest energy and time into your friends and family for deep relationships. You invest far more than the 40 hours you are paid for in your career, work colleagues, projects and the after-hour thoughts that arise.

Shaping your career takes deliberate, focused intention.

Working on purpose, feeling fulfilled by what and how you do it – requires self insight and support to take the necessary changes.

Book a free 30-minute Discovery call with me to find out how you can get started today!  

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