Happy New Year

Another year has gone by so quickly!

It is this time of year again when we are reminded that time flies, and we had better keep an eye on what we are doing with it.

Whether your focus is personal growth or professional development, we can all use some help to make sure we grasped what this year had to teach, and are ready for a new one.

I asked learning and development professionals in Canada for their advice on making the best out of this time of the year, and here are the highlights of what they had to tell us:

  • Step back and look at the big picture

Rather than ruminating on all the details of what happened or what went wrong, use this time as an opportunity to look at things from a different perspective. Ritva Nosov, Talent Development Consultant and Founder of TalentEd Consulting, recommends asking questions like:

“What did you learn from this year? What do you walk away from 2018 with, and how will you use that lesson going forward? What do you want to clear out of your life, and what do you want to invite more of in?”

  • Prioritize and focus

There is no shortage of worthy personal or professional development goals. As a matter of fact, there are overwhelmingly many! To keep your momentum throughout the year, you need to focus on the goals that are most relevant and significant to you personally. Brad Smith, Senior Client Partner at FranklinCovey Canada, stresses the importance of taking this into consideration while outlining professional development plans.

Put together a plan that leverages your strengths and allows you to work on possible derailers, but prioritize the behaviors and skills that are important to success within your role.

  • Give yourself, and others, permission to try

We learn the most when we step into unfamiliar territories. This is also when we are most uncomfortable and likely to make mistakes. Carley Inglis, Learning Development Consultant at Clearly Learning Solution, urges us not to let this stop us. She recommends putting ourselves out there and allowing others around us to do the same.

“We get so caught up as leaders where we just want to provide answers, steps, process or best practices but sometimes people need to learn by messing up! Don’t be afraid to mess up and don’t be afraid to let those around you do the same!”

  • Focus on learning

Taking the time to stop and reflect on what you learned this past year is important, but Cheryl Bucknor, Manager of Learning & Development at Revera Inc, takes it a step further. She recommends thinking about how this learning happened and making sure we have similar learning opportunities planned for the coming year. Cheryl also encourages her team to focus on gaining career experiences, rather than pursuing specific positions that may or may not be available.

“By working towards employability at the level you seek to achieve, you are ensuring that you don’t look back on 2019 and feel the year was ‘wasted’ on chasing a job that didn’t pan out.”

  • Say thank you!

Nobody does it alone. As you think back on your accomplishments this year, remember the people who shared your journey and show your appreciation. Brad Smith reminds us to share our achievements with those who made it happen.

“I remember the advice from somebody early in my career ‘You’re only as successful as the people around you who support you.’”

The “new year, new me” mantra might sound very cliché, but as Carley Inglis says, “Whether it feels cliché or not, sometimes we need to pick a date and reset.” If you need a fresh start, look at the new year as one.