As the year winds down, it’s always a good idea to reflect on how you’re career has progressed over the past year. Its human nature to have a tendency to look forward to what lies ahead, but I’ve learned over the years that if you want to move in the right direction you have to review the past.
As a big football fan and a fan of sports in general, I like to tie what I see in sports into the business world. One of the nuances that I love about football is that coaches and players do a lot of strategic planning. They watch a lot of film from past games looking for ways to improve themselves and to find an edge in beating their opponents. Teams just don’t go into the next game without watching any film or with no game plan at all. The great teams and players are always prepared and are always looking for ways to improve.
I don’t think enough of that takes place in the typical workplace. It’s really not surprising because for most people one day just blends in with the next day. It’s easy for the average employee to come in, put in the work and go home. Then come back to work the next day, put in the work and go home. A job is a repetitive cycle. Before you know it, a year has gone by, then two, then five and so on.
I’ve relentlessly stressed to those I work with or have worked with in the past that if you want to move ahead you can’t get caught up in the “work cycle”. What I mean by this is, just coming into work is not good enough. You have to do more. Just like in football, game time is how the players get paid, that’s their “work”. The top-tier players don’t just show up to the games only. They put in the extra time outside of the official game to improve themselves so they can perform their job better. Everyone can see what happens in the game, but not everyone sees all the preparation that takes place outside of the game – the extra conditioning, reviewing game film, etc.
Whatever career you’re in, I know you can do more to get better. All of us have lives outside of our careers, I understand that. Time is a limited commodity. None of us have all the time in the world to do everything we want, but if moving ahead in your career is important to you, then you need to do more than just show up to the “game”. So before we look forward to next year, let’s review the past year by answering these questions:
What goals have I met?
What goals did I not meet and why did I not meet them?
What areas can I improve in?
How is my relationship with my peers/boss/subordinates?
What more can I do to help the organization?
This is our way of reviewing game film. If you can effectively answer these questions heading into next year, you can put together a good game plan for the upcoming year. Instead of just showing up to work and letting the time just melt away, you can go into work with more purpose and direction. Don’t get caught up in the cycle and always strive to improve yourself. Growth is a mindset. Happy holidays!
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