We see a lot of articles like this from companies in January:
- The Next Big Thing in Digital Marketing
- This Year’s Digital Trends
And a lot of articles like this from bloggers:
- New Year’s Resolutions
- My Goals/Plans/Dreams…
I am both an industry company and an industry blogger and so I’ve shied away from writing anything on these topics at such a cliche time of year, despite the fact that lots of big things are happening in my world.
You see I don’t engage in New Year’s Resolutions.
Instead I focus on Vision Boards, which I create and print at home, simply updating each time all of one has been achieved, which can happen in-year. So I’m not going to wait until January to make more plans.
And no, I don’t believe in magic. I believe in staying focussed. That’s what the boards do. The current one from September looks like this:
Much of it has already been achieved, such as tapping into the husband’s Fitness Instructor past to workout twice-weekly with my snazzy Swiss ball. Family movie nights are now a regular feature of quality (offline) home life. The trip to New Zealand is booked (and just 56 days away!)
Granted, I remain sorely lacking in proper at-home work space… or a sexy kitchen.
But career goals can be harder to define than personal ones. And therefore harder to keep on track.
Especially when you hit a crossroads like me.
You see I dedicated a decade of my career to the Public Relations industry, only to find myself move (as I believe we all should) further into Digital Communications and now, as a freelancer, I do much less traditional PR and much more content creation and social management for clients and agencies alike.
I’m excited by that. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any career goals.
Continuous Professional Development
On the contrary, changing career direction means I can’t rely on a so-called local persona or online reputation to take me places or bring me work.
Most of us in the Digital world are self-taught given the recent emergence of much of the technology we use, and the ever-changing nature of its updates.
It’s an industry filled with both geniuses I admire, and Charlatans giving us a bad name.
So I’m going back to study a Diploma to prove that I know my stuff.
Or to prove that I care enough about the work I produce to test myself.
So what will I do with ten years’ worth of PR knowledge?
I’ll share it. In a book.
Books Are The New Business Cards
Because I believe a lot of businesses could do a decent job at PR themselves. Particularly tech-savvy, pitch-ready startups, like the ones I work with, in what is a vastly changed media landscape.
At the very least, business owners deserve the opportunity to understand all the aspects and processes involved so they can appreciate what they actually need to support their business and only pay for that, ensuring they get the best service and hold providers to account.
After 3 years putting all my advice online, it’ll also be nice to pull it altogether and say “no point me telling you what I know, let me show you.”
And of course sometimes in life ,work goals simply change over time.
For example, I made the typical student goal that I would be a Communications Manager by the time I was 30. Then I had a son at 24 and became a single Mum. But I still achieved that goal… only to find that it didn’t make me happy.
In fact, it made me miserable.
So my focus changed.
I worked part-time, in a more digital/content type role, with a great bunch of people in a charity and I was happy. After a few years I pushed myself to move back agency side to gain more commercial experience and then the curveballs came again.
Last June, when I was already making big life changes by getting (secretly) married and moving my son into a new home, my family ergo my childcare, fell through the floor and I had about 5 days to leave my job and go it alone.
No plans, no preparation, not so much as a laptop in the house.
The focus changed again.
For someone who never had any ambitions of working for myself (and still don’t!) it was a scary time. But you make it work because you have to. Because you have decided that the curveballs won’t beat you.
My overall goals changed and then, so did the routes I was able to take to get there. My achievements still came, just in an unexpected form.
The point is, if you decide that this year will be great, then that is the attitude you will carry with you. When life throws you curveballs, when the wind changes, when you have to up-sticks, rip up the plans and start all over on something totally different.
It will be great because you will make it great.
And as I face a year of massive uncertainties, possibly more changes and (hopefully) some big adventures, I’m finally learning, at 31, to embrace the curveballs and take the risks.
I learned to back myself.
So #BackYourself in 2016!