Old Dog, New Tricks: What Can You Change Before Year End?

Happy businesswoman jumps in the airport

Most of us, thankfully, do not need to learn a new form of martial arts to effectuate the change we want to see in our lives. It could always help, yes, but it’s not the natural next step.

Yet we do have something eluding us. A piece of the puzzle we have not yet fit, and we cannot reach the next goal (even one we have been desperately seeking) without finding and placing that piece.

But human beings are stubborn. I know I am. And yes, I’ll say it, some of my clients are stubborn too.

Too often, we know what will serve us – what we need to do, so we can do what we want to do – but we make excuses. We are like old dogs who refuse to learn new tricks.

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So here’s what you do to change that:

(1) Take some time to chill. (Relax, settle in and create some emotional space.)

(2) Review what you wish to bring into your life, and articulate your top goal between now and year end. If your goal may not (or cannot) be completed by year end, choose a manageable goal that is a piece of a larger goal, and repeat these steps in the New Year. For example, rather than “get a new job,” your goal may be to take certain concrete steps toward that end. Focus on what you can change, without attachment to outcomes.

(3) Embrace the vulnerability that you need to move out of your comfort zone. Be prepared to fail, but also be prepared to succeed. In fact, redefine success as a series of steps, not only as an end point.

(4) Embrace the power that you can call forth, from the depths of your being, to reach your goal.

(5) Envision all of the ways you (yes, you) and your family, friends, team, community and/or others. will be better off when you have reached your goal.

(6) Build a support network for your change, even if it’s only one person. Ask them to hold you accountable at each step.

(7) Be curious about what you need to reach your goal, and take the time to explore the most efficient path for you to get there. 

(8) Focus on the present. Not what you could have done last summer, last year or five years ago. What can you do now to achieve your goal? Keeping yourself in the present keeps your emotional energy available for solutions rather than stressing.

(9) Create a realistic action plan and work your plan. Reverse engineer your possible investments and divisions of time and energy to prioritize this goal among other obligations.

(10) Be your own best fan. Cheer yourself on, and celebrate your wins in a way that is meaningful to you.

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Focus on what you can change, without attachment to outcomes.

In the career context, your goal may be to build something, such as:

  • Resilience
  • A Calmer Demeanor
  • Relevant Skills or Expertise
  • A Stronger Professional Network
  • Gravitas and/or Greater Recognition in Your Field

Choose the goal that’s most pressing for you, and stop giving yourself excuses! Feel free to drop me a line telling me what you have been able to achieve.

Anne Marie Segal is an executive coach, resume writer and author of two well-received books on interviewing and career development. She served as a corporate attorney for 15 years, including roles at White & Case LLP and a prominent hedge and private equity fund manager, before launching her coaching practice. Based in Connecticut not far from New York City, Anne Marie partners with clients internationally on executive presence, impactful communications, graceful transitions and other aspects of professional and personal development. She also offers online instruction at www.segal247.com.

Image credits: Adobe Stock.

It’s November: Time to Revisit Your Priorities?

61 days left of opportunity before the New Year.

That is, opportunity or “opportunity costs.” The choice is up to you!

Hello November sign on blackboard

Hello November! Today marks 61 days to the end of the year!

If you saw my time management posts from last week, you know that productivity or even prioritization is not the ultimate goal. The goal is to spend your time like the precious commodity that it is. 

If you count up the days in November and December, you have 61 days of opportunity before the New Year. That’s 1,464 hours.

1,464 hours to make count on what is meaningful to you. 

Clients often ask me how to make better use of their time. Here’s what I suggest:

Figure out what you want to do most. For example, maybe you want to celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and/or Kwanzaa holidays without interruptions. Then back into what you can do now to get yourself there. What do you know will be lingering over your head, ready to jump out at you, if you don’t address it early?

If you can get ahead of the game, without rushing, not only will your work product be better but also your quality of life.

Again, Happy November! Hope your hours are meaningful, however you choose (or need) to spend them.

Anne Marie Segal is a career and leadership coach, author and resume writer for attorneys, executives and entrepreneurs. She recently brushed up on her time management skills to finish her first book, Master the Interview. Her short post about what it is like to write a book is here.

Image above from Adobe Images.

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