Here comes the New Year! What will you do differently in 2018?

Uncertain times can bring opportunities, and that applies to the way we think about our personal challenges, just as it does to businesses.

We’re all experiencing more and faster change than ever. The global and local political and business landscapes are unpredictable... and that’s the clue to our first tip.

1. Concentrate on the things you can actually do something about

It sounds obvious, but try not to dwell on what might happen, or to predict the outcome of things that are not within your control. Instead, focus on the areas of your work and home lives that you can influence. If you spend too much time sketching out different scenarios – ‘what if this happens?’ or ‘what if that changes?’ then your year will be gone before you have got any plans at all underway.

2. Be bolder

Don’t wait for people or events to come to you. Use your new-found focus on the areas you can actually influence (see tip 1, above!) and seize your opportunities. One leadership coach told us: “I’m steering my clients towards being more aggressive with their action plans, and not to wait for people to come to them, nor wait to be asked to progress a project.” If you want to change direction this year or develop new skills, you need to look at how you can make that happen and go for it. Break it down into small, achievable chunks and you’re more likely to succeed. As one famous sports brand says: Just Do It.

3. Embrace the uncertainty and do more short-term planning

Accept that being agile and nimble will help you to perform at your best in unpredictable times. As business and work environments are changing so fast, you don’t want to be left behind, finding yourself sticking rigidly to a professional – or personal – plan that was cooked up a year ago. Shorten your time frames and expectations for everything, and expect to be reassessing and amending your goals far more often than you may have done when things were a little more settled and predictable. By all means map out a 12-month framework, but treat it as just that – a road map that harnesses smaller chunks of activity that you will review and adapt in order to stay productive and relevant.

4. Get personal

Whatever your field of work or your career priorities, there is a greater need than ever to think about the service you are providing and how you are interacting with others.  Make everything you do as tailored and personal as possible. Try to always consider the motivations and needs of the people you’re dealing with, whether they be a client, your manager, a new customer, or your colleagues. That way, you are in a stronger position to build an authentic relationship that has longevity.

5. Sell yourself

Funny how the traditional CV format is much the same as it was 10, 20, even 30 years ago. And yet the way in which this all-important information is communicated has changed measurably (the change theme, again!) What you say, and how you say it is something you really can influence (back to tip 1 again…). Using LinkedIn is no longer new, it’s just what you do. And there are plenty of other channels to consider when you’re thinking about how to create your own professional profile or, your own ‘brand’ as some describe it. If you’re serious about changing career tack, or want to attract the attention of new recruiters, then maybe even consider a video CV. Nothing fancy or expensive – a friend and a phone can do it, but if we’re getting serious about getting personal, then 60 seconds of you talking about yourself on film is a great way to go.

Happy 2018 to everyone!