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Insights on Communication Skills and Relationship Building

How to Get Creative with Your Professional Skills Resolutions

Posted by Elizabeth Levey on January 2, 2015

by Elizabeth Levey

elizabeth-levey-1Ok, we’ve rung in the New Year — now it’s time to reflect on the accomplishments and challenges of the year past, and time to set resolutions and goals for the year to come.  Every year at this time, it’s the same thing going through my mind – “Man, where did last year GO?  It was over so soon!” And then I struggle to remember what my last New Year’s resolution was – a pretty clear indicator that I didn’t put much effort into keeping it as the year progressed.  But this year is gonna be different, I swear it! Although my personal resolutions are compiled from the typical “greatest hits” (eat better, exercise more, etc.) I’m going to get creative with my professional skills resolutions. 

Here are a few I plan to try out (and stick to!) in 2015:

1. Write thank you notes: This year, Mark Zuckerberg has been busy practicing gratitude by writing one thank you note per day. While I may not have that level of ambition, professional thank you notes are definitely something I could take up a notch.  “Thank you” is something that we can never say enough, or hear enough, and in the business world, it is often a rarity.  Professionally, we have a lot expected of us.  In my experience, colleagues neglect to say “thank you” to each other because doing a good job is often seen as part of one’s job description.  Taking the time to write a thank you note (or email or text) can go a long way toward building professional relationships.

2. Less screen time: Tired eyes, inability to sleep, carpal tunnel syndrome – we’re all well aware of the physical effects of too much time in front of our many, many screens.  But I also worry that all this screen time is impacting our ability to create, innovate and think. I don’t know about you, but my mind is constantly pulled in a million different directions – always busy, busy, busy! Some of my best work is done by sitting quietly and thinking. Smart, insightful, and creative ideas are hard to come by if my mind is constantly going from one email, tweet and text to the next one.

3. WOOP it up!:  Have you heard the news?  The power of positive thinking is a load of crap!  Well, not professional-skills-resolutionsexactly, but while those motivational posters in your office may provide a spark, they can actually hamper goal achievement. According to the latest research, the positive attitudes meant to provide inspiration may be the ones that get in the way of accomplishing those dreams. What to do instead? Use the WOOP method! WOOP stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, and Plan – the technique may seem similar to SMART goals, something we’re all well familiar with in the business world.  Read more here and here about energizing a pithy positive thinking quote by putting WOOP into practice.

4. Be Patient: I vow to keep in mind that professional improvement may not happen overnight. There will be setbacks and challenges, good weeks and bad weeks. But that’s not an excuse to completely scrap my new and improved resolutions.  Rather, I will strive to work steadily and patiently towards the goals I plan to achieve. I resolve to make the most of every situation on the way, and to look for the lessons within each experience. 

Happy New Year from Team Ovation! What are your professional skills resolutions for 2015?

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