It’s New Year’s Eve. You’re having friends over for dinner and an evening of game playing. You walk into your kitchen and start pulling out the ingredients you need to make your favorite meal and all of the snacks to accompany it. But before you went to the grocery store to purchase the ingredients you needed for this special event, you most likely made a list of what you wanted to serve your guests. Or maybe you simplified your life and catered the event instead. Whether you hired a professional to help you through the planning and preparation or handled it on your own, you had a plan in hand for executing your dinner plans and evening of entertainment. The menu or list you started with guided you through the selection and purchase process as well as the preparations when you returned home.
When it comes to your career, it’s also vital to your success to have a plan and know what you truly want to accomplish before you begin setting goals and pursue achieving them in the new year. Running your administrative career without a strategic career plan is like going to the grocery store without a list when you’re preparing for a big event. You have no idea which ingredients you specifically need to create the items on your menu. You may remember the big things, but some of the little ingredients that are just as important get forgotten. As you wander up and down the aisles, you may choose things that were not even on the menu to begin with. It may end up costing you more because you were buying on impulse instead of based on a plan. And when it’s all said and done, the missing ingredients, wasted time and effort, and an end product you are not ultimately happy with leave you feeling frustrated and unprepared.
Your administrative career should not be left to chance. Career-minded administrative professionals don’t put their career on autopilot and hope things work out. They create a proactive strategic plan that lays out the details, timelines, and desired outcomes not only to reach goals, but to propel their careers forward. It keeps you on track. It keeps you from wasting time and effort. It keeps you from missing key ingredients. It sets you up for success.
With goal setting being on a lot of people’s minds at this time of the year, creating a strategic career plan will help you be better prepared to accomplish the goals you set for yourself, prepare you for making transitions into new opportunities, and give you a renewed excitement for your career path overall. This isn’t an activity you do once and put it on the shelf. Strategic career planning is an ongoing process that you will revisit frequently. And this is the perfect time of the year to pull your old one out and refresh it or get your brand new plan created. This can also be a valuable tool to help you prepare for the annual performance review process that occurs for many companies at the turn of the year as well.
Throughout this past year, I’ve written several articles on this topic. You can find the links to them here:
- Mapping Out Your Reinvention Plan for 2012
- Do you need a “Career Reset”? Part 1
- Are you on a Mission? Part 2
- Mapping Out Your Plan of Attack Part 3
But I would like to give you some additional things to think about as you assess what you accomplished this year and where you want to go next year. Anytime you look at goal setting for the new year, it’s important to acknowledge, document, and celebrate the successes of the past year – including the things that may not have even been a formalized goal in the first place. Then you can easily identify where you need to focus your efforts in the new year as you set your goals for what you still want to achieve in your career.
Here’s how to do this:
- Review your list of goals from the past year and identify which ones you accomplished.
- Add any accomplishments that weren’t on your list of goals for the past year. Make sure you give yourself credit for things you achieved that may not have been part of the original path you set out on. They are still important, and they still count!
- Use these questions to help you identify other achievements from the past year which you may not have thought of:
- Did you attend any professional development training? (in person, online, by phone)
- Did you read any career building or skills boosting books?
- Did you learn any new skills?
- Did you take on any new roles or responsibilities in your job?
- Did you participate in any professional networking activities?
- Did you volunteer for any special projects?
- Did you create any new procedures or systems for your office?
- Did you learn any new software or technologies?
- Did you develop your leadership skills?
- Did you mentor or help another colleague achieve a goal?
- Did you update your resume, professional portfolio, and other vital career documents?
- Did you deliver any presentations or speeches?
- Did you develop any new contacts in your professional network?
- What were the highlights of the year for you? Why?
- What was your proudest moment? Why?
When you have this list assembled, it gives you a positive list of successes and accomplishments that will help motivate you to pursue your new goals for the coming year with renewed energy and enthusiasm. It also gives you insights into what you might want to map into your plan of action and goals for the upcoming year.
This exercise is also an awesome way to prepare for your annual performance review. If you haven’t kept up with tracking your accomplishments throughout the calendar year, this gives you some great material to create an impressive list of accomplishments from the past year as well as the new goals you have set for yourself in the new year. Present this to your executive in preparation for your annual review so they know exactly what you’ve accomplished as well.
When it comes to your career, do not depend upon chance. Don’t let someone else dictate your career path. Choose to plan. Choose to grow. Choose to succeed.
Keep the positive momentum going, and make 2012 your best year yet!
If you haven’t already, download my free report, “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan”
© 2011 Julie Perrine International, LLC
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity. And request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at www.AllThingsAdmin.com.