Year Half Gone – What Does Your Career Progress Look Like?

So the year is half gone, which means it’s time to take stock of your career progress. Where did you start from at the beginning of the year, and where are you now? If you’re not happy with the answer to that question, you might need to take a new approach.

Your Goal: Professional Growth

To-Do List - Grow Word on Dry Erase BoardNo one progresses by standing still. You probably started the year with a goal to grow as a professional and maybe advance to a higher position by year-end. Perhaps you were aiming for a job with more prestige, more money, more long-term potential. You might have simply put “GROW” high on your to-do list for the year.

The question now could be, “Did you have a plan for your growth? If so, have you worked that plan consistently?”

I can (and do) put lots of items on my to-do list–daily, weekly and longer. How many times have I completed all the daily items in a given day? To be honest, not many. If your approach is anything like mine, you might find that your growth “to do’s” have kept getting pushed down on the list while other short-term, “hot priority” items take up the space at the top of the list.

Hey,  it happens, and sometimes the activities that take precedence over your growth items really can’t be ignored or postponed. For example, if you or a close family member has a health crisis, you can’t just say, “Well, my professional growth is a higher priority than this crisis.”

If your career progress seems to have ground to a halt (or, worse, not even gotten started since January), what can you do about it?

Refresh – Rethink – Renew Your Career Plan

First, take a deep breath–or several deep breaths. Do whatever you need in order to gain a breathing-space, some mental fresh air. You still have half the year left, remember. That’s more than enough time to propel your career forward–at least heading in the direction you want to go, if you start working at it now.

time for new ideas conceptNext steps:

  1. Refresh your thought about your growth goal and see if it has undergone any change over the past several months. Maybe one reason you haven’t progressed as expected is that your vision changed when you weren’t looking.
  2. Rethink the actions you initially figured on taking to achieve career progress by year-end. If you implemented some of them but not all, try to determine why actions are still undone on your list. You might uncover a good reason for it that wasn’t previously obvious to you.
  3. Renew your career plan. Delete those aspects of your growth goal that no longer fit (if any) and focus on “what’s next.” It might actually be time to incorporate new ideas/actions into your plan and re-energize your efforts.

By all means consult other people if you have difficulty thinking this through by yourself. Sometimes you just need an impartial perspective because you’re too close to the situation to see clearly what’s working, what’s not and why, and decide what to do about it. What you emphatically do not need is to keep banging your head against the wall without changing anything you’re doing or flail around in all directions in panic-mode because…yes, the year is about half gone and you’re not where you “should” be in terms of your career progress.

Decide what to do and then do it! Ultimately, that’s what it boils down to.

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