The weather is crazy, March Madness is in full swing, and the days are getting longer…sure signs that springtime is here. Winter is the time to hunker down and hibernate, while spring is all about rebirth and renewal. It’s the time when people not only clean out their homes, but should also clean out their careers.
We all go through our closets and make decisions about what fits and what doesn’t fit, and what works and what doesn’t work. The same approach and decision-making should be applied to our careers. We don’t keep old clothes that don’t fit or are outdated, so why should we keep old processes, ideas, or relationships that no longer “fit” our careers?
Spring is the time when we awaken from a seasonal slumber, and find ourselves reenergized with a renewed sense of motivation and inspiration. We no longer need to brave the snow and cold weather conditions, and we can be out and about with literally a spring in our step. It’s with that same mindset and perspective that we can dust off our careers, plant some new ideas, and grow our goals for the spring season.
Here are the Seven Tips to Spring Clean Your Career…
- Plant New Ideas — Nothing says springtime like a clean, fresh start. And when it comes to your career or business, nothing says springtime like innovative, new ideas. If your accounting system is sluggish and prone to mistakes, try a new program. If your sales have become stagnant, try a new marketing or advertising campaign. Or, if your current position has run its course, try a position with a new company.
- Branch Out — Whether you work for yourself or for someone else, delegation is critical to professional success. As much as we like to believe we can do it all, and do it all by ourselves, branching out to other co-workers or vendors, or outsourcing non-core roles and responsibilities, enables you to do more of what you love to do.
- Grow Your Goals — There is a lot of truth to the idea that it’s not that we don’t have goals; it’s that our goals are usually not big enough. Instead of playing it safe or erring on the side of conservative, inject rocket fuel into your goals and push yourself. Sometimes you are fortunate to have a boss, spouse, or mentor who encourages you to do more, and to set the bar even higher, but sometimes it has to come from within. Springtime is the time for growth, and that includes your goals.
- Polish Your Messaging — Just like our homes get dusty and need polishing at this time of year, so does our messaging. Dust off that resume and revisit your LinkedIn profile. Is everything up-to-date? Does it still reflect your personal brand and current value proposition? If not, it’s time to update and polish your marketing materials and messaging.
- Clean House — Literally and figuratively, cleaning house is about taking inventory of what’s working and getting rid of what’s not working for you. It’s time to take stock of your processes, products, and people and decide what’s helping and what’s hurting your career. If there’s a vendor that’s underperforming, perhaps it’s time to give the contract to someone else. If a product isn’t selling, it could be time to trash it and put something new on the shelf.
- Weed Out — Not all opportunities are created equal, and we can’t be in all places at all times. Learning how to be more discerning and when and how to say “no” is key to career success. Weed out what’s not aligned with your personal and professional goals. Say “no” to those extra invitations and activities if they derail your agenda and occupy too much of your valuable time and resources.
- Sow Seeds — It’s common knowledge that your network is your “net-worth”, and that maintaining an active network is much easier than building one when it’s needed. Relationships are critical to starting a career, advancing a career, and catapulting a career to the next level. You never know who you will meet and who could potentially help you and your career. With warmer weather on the horizon, it’s much easier to connect with new friends and reconnect with old friends. Sowing new seeds and developing new relationships is a great way to kick off the spring season.
Spring cleaning for your career can bring fresh, exciting opportunities. Shake off the winter and plant some new ideas, clean house on unproductive activities, and renew a career that will flourish with the success and rewards you deserve.