10 Ways to Light a Fire Under Your Career

It’s the end of the year—a time for reflection and for looking forward. The calendar change is the time when we also think about change for ourselves by setting new goals and starting new behaviors.

Consider what new goals and behaviors you can make for your career. Here are 10 approaches that can light up a New Year’s Eve celebration.

  1. Tough Self-Love
    For genuine, lasting career advancement, look in the mirror and ask yourself:

Overall, is work enjoyable? Does it provide enough money to enjoy life AND save for the future? What’s the best way to get on an employer’s or client’s radar AND stand out in an overcrowded pack? Is it time to “fire” that troublesome client despite losing the revenue? What’s the potential fallout? Is that fallout manageable? Is it time to take a real stand with a colleague, client or boss, regardless of the consequences?

  1. Clean Sweep
    A cluttered workspace is a creativity and productivity killer. Clear space equals clear thinking. It also saves time finding things and makes a good impression on clients, colleagues, customers and the boss. Ten minutes is all it takes.
  2. Get Smart
    Staying relevant in today’s technology-fueled world requires people to evolve on the fly. Lack of knowledge can be a deal-breaker for some clients, customers and bosses. Approaching technology and professional development from a position of curiosity instead of education makes it more enjoyable and less like “work.”
  3. Don’t Force Yourself to Figure Out Life’s Purpose
    And don’t let not knowing your life’s purpose prevent you from making smart career moves. This mindset does two things: removes pressure from decision-making and supports a flexible approach because you’re not constrained by a prearranged plan.
  4. Make the Most of Things
    There’s a big difference between settling and making the most of a situation. Settling encourages stagnation, while accepting added responsibilities for future benefit, for example, is being strategic. This approach challenges the mind and allows for the mastery of new skills, which results in clarity and confidence when making career moves.
  5. Take a Vacation
    Too much focus can be counterproductive. Whether it’s a week in Mexico or a day away from home, a change of pace and scenery isn’t just fun, it allows the brain to problem solve subconsciously and effortlessly. (Fifteen minute mini-vacations at work are also useful.)
  6. Sell Yourself
    When you’re updating a resume or home page it’s best not to “leave things to the imagination.” Using numbers to document performance makes an impression. “Managed a team of 6 and increased sales by 20%” is more impressive than “Managed a team.” Develop your personal brand.
  7. It Really Should Have Stayed in Vegas
    It’s a world where anyone can get the lowdown on anyone. Why sabotage a current or future career? Potential clients and employers frequently use Google to help make hiring decisions. What will they find? Save the racy photos and off-color remarks for “friends only.”
  8. Do Something Dangerous
    Try public speaking, volunteer to lead a team, write a spontaneous proposal to the boss or invite a big name to collaborate. Being courageous provides accelerated personal growth, which results in new and unexpected opportunities.
  9. R-E-S-P-E-C-T
    Finding a respected mentor can supercharge a career. Be selective. Taking bad advice sinks a career just as fast as not taking any advice. Avoiding pitfalls, having a sounding board and learning from others’ mistakes are just a few benefits an experienced mentor provides.

When it comes to lighting a fire under your career it’s all about making a habit of daily, incremental steps over the long run that lead not merely to a recharged career, but to one that’s on fire.

What suggestions do you want to share? Send me your career-on-fire starting ideas.

Danielle Allen