Career

5 step plan for a kick ass career in 2017

Career guru Kate Taylor shares her top tips for killing it in 2017, in your work and life.

Career progression
Career progression

STEP 1: Know what you want
Not every woman knows how to clearly define what it is they want… let alone how to go about getting it. Setting goals is a lot like going on holiday – if you don’t know your specific destination you won’t know whether to pack a bikini or snow shoes, let alone finding the right plane, train or boat to travel on.

Many women I coach think they know what they want but when pushed can only articulate generalities like “I want a better work life balance” or “I want to be promoted”. These aren’t goals… they’re generic wishes.

My advice is to start big – and then break it down into smaller steps. That way you can keep your eyes on the horizon and stay on the right track, even when life forces you to make a pit stop. I call the big goals in life BHAG’s (Big Hairy Audacious goals) and once you can truly grasp them in every aspect (what they “look, feel and smell” like) they can become a potent source of ongoing power and motivation.

STEP 2: Understand what’s holding you back
Once you know what you want you might think the next step is to take action. You can do that – but your path will be a lot smoother if you take the time to clear the rubble away first.

Although you might have genuine 'Life Problem' obstacles, these are usually much less of an impediment to your success than the biggest obstacle of all. Our voice of self doubt.

Ariana Huffington calls it the ‘obnoxious roommate’ and although most people have one it seems to be louder and more powerful in women. Your ORM will whisper the most damaging evil nonsense inside your brain – stuff that sounds ridiculous when said out loud, but we listen to it because it’s an inner voice.

Like all bullies the trick to silencing your ORM is to unmask them – identify and confront your ORM and it will lose its power over you.

STEP 3: Invest in yourself
Generally speaking women aren’t very good at investing in themselves. We seem to be much more content to spend time and money on other people and making sure their needs are met, yet are uncomfortable treating ourselves with the same respect. I think it’s because we don’t want to be seen as selfish.

Lao Tzu famously said “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – but we won’t take that step if it means putting ourselves first.

Whatever resources you are lacking you need to stop waiting for someone to provide them for you and stop waiting for permission to have them. Find a way to invest in yourself, regardless of whether it’s time, tools, skills or coaching. It’s the one investment in life that’s guaranteed to provide rich returns.

Taking practical steps towards your goals is important, says Kate
Taking practical steps towards your goals is important, says Kate

STEP 4: Make a plan – then just do one thing
Whenever I’m coaching, whether corporate or personal clients, the one thing I hear from everyone is that ‘they don’t have time’… to which I respond with one of my favourite sayings:

“I don’t have time” is the grown-up version of “the dog ate my homework”

Ladies, if we’re going to KICK ASS then we need to be stronger than our excuses! Trust me when I say I know how hectic life gets these days and very few people have hours of idle time each day just waiting to be filled. The trick is to fool yourself into getting stuff done.

Thinking about your entire to-do list can be paralysing… so ignore it and just do one thing. Then stop. Then just do one more thing. Then stop. Those ‘one thing’ actions mount up remarkably quickly and you will unwittingly build moment and create productive habits all at the same time. Easy peasy.

STEP 5: Ask for feedback – and mean it!
If you’ve followed steps 1-4 you may be wondering why there is a 5th. We know where we’re going (step 1), we’ve cleared the path to get there (step 2), we’re devoted resources to the journey (step 3) and we’re getting stuff done (step 4).

Step 5 is about keeping perspective. Getting an impartial view can be priceless and stop you making some horrendous mistakes – and the one thing that is almost impossible for anyone to achieve about their own life is impartiality.

Asking for feedback can be difficult, but really MEANING it is truly hard. Most people will want to be kind so won’t be brutally honest with you… but that’s when you need to push for a critical appraisal of you/the situation/your actions. Asking people to specifically criticise you may seem a weird approach to achieving your goals, but the wisdom and insight you gain can prevent you from taking the wrong path. Of course the catch is that you actually have to listen to and digest the feedback for it to be valuable (Alas I wish I had learned this lesson earlier in life!)

Kate Taylor at the launch of Killing It
Kate Taylor at the launch of Killing It

Kate Taylor has developed and launched a programme called 'Killing it (a girl's guide to kicking ass in her career and life).' A unique and personal concept, it's designed to help women achieve the goals they desire. Here, she shares with us her five step plan to boosting your career this 2017.

The guide is available from here and arrives as a dual pack - an ebook and a workbook.