If you’re determined to make 2023 our best year yet, here are 23 ideas you can implement immediately to boost your career:
You’ll improve your communication, enhance your thought leadership, and bolster your personal brand by focusing on clarity, consistency, and discipline.
If you confuse people, you’ll lose them; when you’re clear, everything becomes easier. People understand you, what you offer, your value, what differentiates you, how you can help them, and how they can assist you. Clarity helps others know, like, and trust you. Having clarity also enables you to align your goals with a plan to achieve them—and avoid the things that can derail you.
Consistency is about aligning and maintaining your “voice” and look and feel in all your communications. It’s how you present yourself, how you sound, how you write, and all the visual and verbal touch points. So much so that people come to expect—and anticipate—your specific point of view and unique perspective. Whether you realize it or not, you send a message to the world about who you are and what you’re about. Rather than make your consumers, customers, and clients guess who you are and what you stand for, make sure to communicate your intended message by maintaining consistency.
Without discipline, you run the risk of trying to be all things to all people. And doing so lowers your competitive advantage and waters down your offering. Worse, people won’t know what to think of you (if they think of you at all). So instead, focus on what you do best, and let the other things fade into the background. Then, promote those one or two areas in your wheelhouse and your expertise in helping others so that your name becomes synonymous with those skills. In this way, restraint can be your biggest ally.
Wisdom is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. But it transforms into something truly powerful when it is shared.
Why? Because all the wisdom in the world is meaningless without application.
Yet many leaders eschew this and choose instead to hoard their insights, fearful of giving them away. They don’t understand a simple truth: sharing your wisdom doesn’t diminish your impact; it amplifies it. And today, the best way to magnify your message is to harness the power and reach of social media.
Everyone has a unique story, but not everyone leverages its power. Properly crafted, your career story helps to differentiate you from your competitors, highlight your value, and draw others to you. It provides a common thread that weaves together your personal and professional experiences, as well as your transferable skills, making it easy for others to connect the dots. Knowing and being able to articulate your career story clearly is transformative; use it wisely.
If you want to grow your career, you need to learn to say no to almost everything (and everyone) that doesn’t excite you, speak to your values, further your mission in life, or help you achieve your goals. Remember, when you say no to the things and people who no longer serve you, you can say yes to those that do.
Saying yes can be a boon to your career—it opens you up to new challenges and opportunities, invites collaboration, empowers and affirms others, and creates an environment where it’s safe to try, fail, learn and innovate. Best of all, it pushes you to leave your comfort zone so you can grow.
News flash: busy is not the same as productive. When you master time management, you’ll see that not all tasks are created equal. Busy people take on everything and offer unfettered access to their time, expertise, and attention, leaving them exhausted and wondering what they’ve accomplished. Productive people set boundaries and protect their time, treating it like the precious commodity it is.
Far too often, we assume that everyone thinks, behaves, and communicates the same way we do. Worse, we make the mistake of focusing our sales pitches and communication about us rather than our intended audiences.
No matter your industry or profession, four words have the power to change your results instantly: It’s not about you.
The finest leaders understand that by putting others first and adopting a service mindset, they can improve communication and connection, establish trust, deepen relationships, and build business.
Active listening demonstrates respect, builds trust, and makes people feel valued. It creates a virtuous cycle: we naturally gravitate toward those who listen to us, and when we feel heard, we open up and share. Active listening allows leaders to learn about good and bad things and discover new ideas and opportunities. They can also detect—and get creative about solving—potential problems when they’re still in their infancy.
Seth Godin suggests that “you don’t get attention unless you’re trusted. You don’t get trusted unless you get attention.”
Kindness and respect ultimately earn attention and trust. You can demonstrate both by differentiating between bad and good attention (something that aligns with your beliefs and will be positively received), not trying to game the system (don’t use a power play to try to influence people), and by being generous (not selfish, expecting something in return).
Despite their similarities, simple isn’t always easy; it takes discipline and a conscious effort to make something less confusing, complex, and difficult to understand or do. But in the context of your career, it’s worth it.
When you do the hard work of simplifying things for your intended audience—your boss, partner, client, prospect, or potential employer—you make it easy for them to do business with you.
When you’re curious, you’re open. Open to exploring new ideas, experiences, and possibilities. Open to meeting new people and learning new things. Open to leaving behind outdated mindsets and limiting beliefs to make room for your highest and best self. And it’s that openness—that curiosity—that fuels growth. When you embrace curiosity, you transform into a lifelong learner, which is what personal and professional development is all about.
Failure and success aren’t mutually exclusive; they’re connected. Leaders use failure as fuel, maintaining grit and perseverance to keep going. By viewing failure as an ingredient of success rather than a negative alternative, you’ll adjust your mindset to a more positive one where you see failure as a necessity.
Consider, too, that making mistakes helps you learn. Your ability to adapt to failures is vital; a failure is only a mistake if you fail to learn. Try keeping a “failure resume” of all your biggest screw-ups—and what you learned.
To become more empathetic, shift your mindset to put people first, seeing them as human beings rather than a means to the end of a transaction or task. In addition, listen more and talk less, and ask thoughtful and probing questions that draw out implications and feelings, fostering a deeper connection. When you practice empathy, you’ll better understand your customers, colleagues, and partners and then use those insights to better serve and communicate with them.
Your perspective is the lens through which you view yourself, your career, and the world. It affects the story you tell yourself and the story you tell others, especially when things don’t go your way. Shift your thinking to reframe trying times by telling yourself, “I’m going through this” to “I’m growing through this,” and swap “have to” with “get to.” Going through something is deflating and passive, whereas growing through something is action-oriented, positive, and empowering. And when you swap out an “I have to” with “I get to,” everything changes. Having to do something feels like a chore; getting to do something feels like a reward.
Charisma is more than being engaging or witty. We’re attracted to those who truly listen to us, give us their undivided focus and leave us feeling seen and heard. They dare to be vulnerable and genuinely want to connect, share, and treat us with respect and kindness. And in return, we offer our unwavering attention and trust.
At its essence, charisma isn’t just about your likability or ability to tell a good story. Instead, its real power has less to do with you and everything to do with how you make others feel.
Your environment, which includes your friends, colleagues, location, habits, and lifestyle, impacts you far more—for better or worse—than you realize. You can’t make a significant, lasting change without altering some elements of it. Real growth happens when we understand whom and what best supports what we want and then align ourselves with those people and places that do. Your environment always wins; make sure it supports your goals.
Self-aware leaders clearly understand their strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. They are honest about what they want, their skills, and what matters most. They also have an accurate perception of what sets them apart and can use their unique talents to magnify their impact in an environment that best suits them. Conversely, they also understand and acknowledge their blind spots and areas needing improvement.
But self-awareness is not just about knowing how you move through the world; it’s about knowing how your energy affects others. This perspective allows you to understand that everything is connected—your interactions with other people, how they perceive you, your attitude, and your responses to them in the moment—and all enhanced through better self-awareness.
Creativity is the ability to perceive the world in new ways, find hidden patterns, connect seemingly disparate things, and generate innovative solutions. When you’re creative, you’re able to turn new and imaginative ideas into reality. To cultivate your creativity, ask big questions, pay attention, be open-minded, set aside time to let your mind wander, and don’t be afraid to take risks.
You’ll never regret investing in yourself. Your ability to adapt and learn is essential to the survival and growth of your career, so make a conscious effort to add to your skillset by reading books, watching educational videos, listening to informative podcasts, and furthering your development by partnering with coaches. Use your curiosity to seek out new ideas, information, and perspectives, even (and especially) if they differ from your own.
In a world where everyone is looking to get ahead by beating the algorithm or upping their level of hustle, the biggest growth hack might be the one hiding in plain sight: harnessing the power of intention.
It’s been said that what you focus on grows, so it follows that where you choose to direct your attention can significantly impact your career progress. Attention without intention is meaningless, so you must consciously align your attention with what matters most.
Fear is a powerful emotion. It often masquerades as a cloak of protection, keeping us from doing things that may cause us harm. But sometimes, the real damage comes from the inaction that fear enables.
Taking action is the one surefire antidote to combat career anxiety, doubt, and fear. Action begets more action. When you use awareness to make action an intentional habit, you train yourself to continue to take action. Over time, those small behavior changes creatively shake things up and breathe new life into old methods and routines. And combined with focused action, that newfound clarity will bring you something even better: success.
Everything you’ve ever wanted is sitting on the other side of fear; now’s the time to take action to supercharge your 2023.