By Dr. Maria G. Hernandez
Latina Cubicle Confidential™
The New Year is just around the corner and it’s the season for resolutions. It may not be a formal process for you – simply committing to start doing something new or to stop doing things that hurt or hinder us. Resolutions are an important part of managing your career, however.
Thinking about the future may be comfortable for you and yet there may be cultural factors that can make that hard to do.
Your parents or grandparents may have often said to you “si Dios quiere”, if God is willing. We heard them say “ni modo”, oh well — and it is these phrases or sayings that are often used to define fatalism as part of our culture. We endure. We suffer through what we accept to be our destiny.
The roots of fatalism are complex and no one person can define the emerging Latino culture of today. It is possible however, to make a conscious decision to claim the power you have over your work – life, career and personal success. Your decisions about 2013 can be a game changer.
The first question I often ask clients looking to make a change for the better is to define what specific areas of their career they want to address: communication skills — writing or speaking to groups; visibility — promoting their work; networking — expanding connections; leadership — inspiring others to act; project management — meeting deadlines; or work-life balance — taking care to keep work from dominating your life.
Next it’s important to link what is motivating you to change these parts of your career and write these down next to each item on your list. Your motivation drives your focus of what you want to achieve. Get in touch with that often to remind you of how you will use your time and energy. Next, in the process is to define the steps to throughout the year to keep your resolutions or plans for success.
Breathe. You cannot do it all at once.
The idea here is to look at each area and break it down to a few small steps. I often ask folks to just note what one small step they will take each quarter. Many organizations plan for updates or reviews each fiscal quarter and that makes this a good way to divide up the tasks into workable chunks of time.
Let’s say you want to get better at public speaking or making presentations. Your first step in that category might be to read something about what makes a great public speaker. The next is to join Toast Masters — an international organization designed to improve public speaking.
After that you may be ready to volunteer at work to facilitate a meeting or lead a workshop. At the end of your list of your steps to achieve your goal make note of what the result will be of all your hard work: “I will be confident about getting my message across when I’m in front of large groups”.
The formula for making resolutions stick is simple: What’s my goal? What’s driving me to do this? What reasonable steps do I take to get this done? What is the result I intend to have?
Some goals are life-long. Some are to be managed over a year. The first step is just realizing you must have a game plan for your career.
Take control of what you can manage for yourself. Hay esperanza en la certeza, y no hay certeza en la esperanza. There is hope in what we make certain and no certainty in hoping.
Dr. Maria G. Hernandez has 20 years experience consulting in both the United States and Mexico to senior executives in Fortune 50 companies and facilitated change initiatives for elected officials and their staff. She has worked in academia, business, nonprofits, technology startups, and public agencies. For more information, visit Latina Cubicle Confidential™ on Facebook or on Twitter @SavvyLatinaInfo.