A new year usually comes with anticipation for improved quality of life. Every individual enjoys the opportunity of a new chance to change something in their life.
On the career front, it’s very easy to get lost in the daily administration of your roles & responsibilities that you forget to grow professionally. Growth in your career shouldn’t be limited to a job. It should span all the accomplishments, relationships, education and assets you want to have in your professional life.
The AREA Model is a career and professional development model that breaks down your growth into
A – Accomplishments
R – Relationships
E – Education
A – Assets
It’s a model I came up with whilst planning for last year: 2019. And having tested it, I can assure you that it’s a framework that works. Of course only if you put in the work to turn the plans into action.
For all four aspects, break them down into tinier checklists that you can cross off on a regular basis. This is to let you know you are headed in the direction of achievements.
Note down the challenges and additional victories too. You can even institute a reward system to help you stay motivated if you need it.
Now let’s get into the aspects:
These are the specific things you want to achieve in your professional life for this year. It can be getting certifications, getting a promotion, negotiating a salary increase or maybe changing jobs. These are things you are willing to commit to ensuring come to pass. It’s no pressure, it’s just daily working towards them.
An example can be “Apply for Sales Manager and interview for the role”. This is a goal that will get you closer to actually becoming a Sales Manager, which comes with the added salary increase and more responsibility. This big goal can then be broken into tiny bits which you can do daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Things like attending sales conferences, getting certifications, taking courses, etc. will eventually prepare you for your accomplishments for the year.
Since we’re now starting, I will advise you to keep it to a minimum of two and maximum of three. And commit to doing something daily that gets you closer to achieving it. Don’t have the mindset of “I have to do this or I die”. I want you to develop the mindset of “I am capable of doing this and it will happen no matter how long it takes”. Together we will look back and cherish our efforts.
Whether you like it or not, humans are relational beings. The earlier you accept this and work towards making your relationships worthwhile, the better for you. Professional relationships span that with colleagues, superiors, mentors, proteges, clients/customers, etc. You want to make a conscious effort to improve upon these relationships.
My goals around this area last year was to volunteer for industry-related events. With the purpose of networking with industry and market leaders in the profession, thus giving me leverage and opportunity to offer and receive value. I also intended to relate better with my work colleagues, understand them and relate to them with wisdom.
And these goals were met in bigger ways than I imagined.
You can also set goals around what I have mentioned. Others worth considering are:
- mentoring younger people,
- sharing your expertise/experience with others for free,
- staying in regular touch with your mentors,
- connecting with other industry leaders whose blogs, case studies, research, etc. you consume.
There is no end to learning. In fact, to survive the current professional world, you need to be big on learning. Learning, in this case, involves reading blogs, taking courses, doing personal research, podcasts, videos/tutorials, etc. As much as young people today like dynamics in our work, consistency sometimes means repetition. And growth comes through consistency.
In a bid to help yourself enjoy your career and improve your value, you should actively be involved in learning. My goals in this regard came out from looking at longer-term career goals. Like if I wanted to rise to executive/management position in my digital career, what does that look like? And what should I know to be able to get to that level in the next 5 years?
Work through what your long term career goals are. Then find out the things you need to know to get there and thrive. Now look for avenues to educate yourself in those things.
I will be taking some courses in project management, improving my presentation skills, understanding agile methodologies and some others.
The internet is your best friend in getting this information. Type in the end goal, read up about skills needed for it, qualifications and roles/responsibilities that come with it. Even if it is an entrepreneur you want to be, there are still skills and qualifications to have to increase your chances of success in certain key areas.
This aspect was unclear to me even after I decided on it. Until I went online and found out there’s actually something like professional assets. I couldn’t get a standard definition for professional assets. But the understanding I got from reading the various articles pegs it like this: the attitudes, soft skills, and unique qualities that create results and potential.
Professional Assets are the attitudes, soft skills, and unique qualities of an individual that creates results and potential.
Some of these assets include high standards, tolerance, optimism, flexible mindset, a thirst for knowledge. This article here gives you about 10 professional assets you can bring to your company.
An inventory is in place to help you identify your current assets and decide which ones to add. Take stock of your experiences, education, interests/values, volunteer experience, etc.
This article in here helps with the inventory.
Whatever the case, don’t leave your professional development or growth to chance. It’s important to set personal goals, but I recommend separating the personal and professional to afford you clarity.
My personal & social goals also follow the same four aspects. Except that the person has an additional six categories. I will be willing to share it with you if you will like to have it. If there’s anything at all 2018 taught me, it’s that things happen even when I don’t plan them. So why not put some effort into deliberately orchestrating the things I want to happen.
I will leave you with this scripture. The planning is always necessary. The direction and step by step fulfilment will be guided by God if you commit it to Him.
Have a fruitful new year!
A man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life], But the Lord directs his steps and establishes them.
Proverbs 16:9 (AMP)
The initial article first appeared here.