Time for thought and action!

At this time of the year it’s a good idea to take an inward critical glance at yourself and what you want from your career and your personal life, advises Keith McCarthy.

Any new year brings with it an opportunity for reflection and planning; thinking of how the last year has gone and planning for the year ahead.  Whether from an organisational or a personal view point, the processes involved are very similar.  The focus, however, of this months article is on the personal aspect.  Yes, you!

Keith  McCarthy
Keith McCarthy

A new year is a great time for selfish individual reflection.  The focus is an inward critical glance at yourself and no one else.  You can genuinely sit back and ask the questions:

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Reflection
How has my last year gone?
What have I achieved?
What new skills, knowledge and experience have I acquired?
What would I have done differently?
What parts of my life am I happy/unhappy with?
What do I want to change/keep the same?

The questions above, may seem like a glorified performance review discussion with your manager. Perhaps, it is.  But this is not with your manager, it is an inward discussion with yourself.  If we are honest, we are constantly reviewing our own performance. We know when we have done things well, or not so well. We know when to reward ourselves for a job well done. We know when we have learned something knew and will do things differently in the future. We may not think of this as a reflection but in essence it is. It happens to be a performance review with ourselves.

As you sit back and reflect on these questions you can begin to see gaps, areas for improvement or development, but also areas of strength, capability, expertise and happiness.

An interesting dimension though and to help enhance reflection is a personal plan.  This personal plan can be career, life or sport focused. Where is your career heading? What stage of life are you or your career at?  If you don’t have a plan, after a period of personal reflection it is always good to prepare a plan, even if that plan is to remain the same in certain areas.  As you prepare a plan think of some of the questions below:

Planning
What are my personal goals for this year? (personal, career, sport etc.)
What do I want to have achieved?
What new skills, knowledge and experience do I want to acquire?
Where can I get the support etc. that I require?
What are the potential barriers and how can I overcome these?
How will I know when I have achieved what I set out to do?

Having your plan is important but writing your plan down is even more important.   What you are writing is a commitment to yourself to achieve your plan.  Writing a plan of action will help you to keep focused on your goals and help achieve your personal outcomes.

Reflection and planning seems very simple. It is not complex. Let’s throw one final factor into the equation and that is personal responsibility.  Your own development, goals and plans must be driven by yourself. It is not your manager’s responsibility nor the organisation’s. They will satisfy certain skills or development requirements.  Mainly it is about you, and your personal choice to drive your own reflection, planning and development.

I have been struck over the last number of months at the number of people who are attending our training programmes out of personal choice. Not driven by their manager but by a personal decision to develop themselves. Following a period of reflection they have realised that they have a need to upskill, to learn more or to build their professional or educational portfolio. Significantly, however, is their personal choice to take action and begin developing themselves.  Reflect, plan and act!  You know you want to!

Keith McCarthy
Management Consultant
shrc limited

shrc limited, training and development partner for HMI, offer management development, performance management and healthcare records training across the country. Find out more.