It’s that time of the week again and we’ve another fantastic blog from Sinead Sharkey of Generation Women, this week she explores how to create habits for success.
Sinead is the Founder of Generation Women and is a Career and Leadership Coach. She has almost 20 years’ experience of developing leaders in global corporates. Her passion for helping women excel in their careers has resulted in her clients landing the jobs they want, being headhunted, and stepping up into leadership with confidence. She’s the Director of Leadership Development for Lean In Ireland and a passionate advocate for equality.
Habits for career success
Our success is based on what we do every day. Think about it, you don’t get fat or fit overnight. It’s the decision to sit on the sofa or move your butt every day that makes the difference. It’s the same with your career. You can’t expect to put in a good day here and there and get recognition. We’re all looking for a quick fix, but sadly, that’s not how it works. It’s your habitual behaviours that count.
The good news is…it’s never too late to change. Neuroplasticity has shown us that we can rewire our brains to create new habits. The even better news is, that by making a few simple tweaks to your day and week you can have massive results. AND it could be the difference between you sitting in the same grade for another year or two and getting noticed for the next promotion.
We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, we can borrow a few ideas from the most successful people in the world. From Bill Gates to Oprah Winfrey, these are habits worth stealing.
Life is so busy these days. It’s rare to get time to think, especially when you can be contacted 24/7. What’s worse, is this busyness and distraction is causing our attention spans to be reduced, as much as 4 seconds in the last 20 years. It’s also causing our critical thinking ability to be diminished. The result is we have become reactive, and the best results come from being proactive.
The key is to take time out with a clear focus to think about. You might want to consider; ways to improve your performance, seeing the big picture, developing a career strategy, how to add more value at work, or advancing important goals. Why not try making an appointment with yourself to make it happen?
How often do you take time out to plan or reflect? The practice of writing things down allows the brain to process thoughts and feelings, to develop strategies, and see patterns of behaviour that are helpful or unhelpful.
You don’t need to become Adrian Mole, as little as 10 minutes a day can make a big difference. Try using it to start your day off on the right foot by writing down 3 things you’re grateful for and to set an intention for the day. You could consider finishing off your day with some reflection on what you learned today and what you want to achieve tomorrow. It’s your journal, make it work for you.
What do you do to set yourself up for the day? If you hit the snooze button and roll out of bed at the last possible minute, it’s likely you’re not going to hit the ground running. Imagine feeling ready for whatever is thrown at you, that’s what a morning ritual can do for you. It only takes a few minutes to get your head in the right space.
You might try some focused breathing or a mindfulness practice, drink a glass of water, set your intention for the day, exercise, and practise gratitude. Whatever it takes to get your mind and body in the right place. NB – It can be helpful to have 2 versions; one that you do when you’ve plenty of time, another when you need a high-speed hit.
Develop a growth mindset
A study of 1,200 of the world’s wealthiest people revealed that they spend at least one hour a day reading to develop themselves. Not only that, but successful people also see failure as feedback. They challenge themselves to learn and grow every day, recognising that knowledge isn’t fixed, and with effort, we can learn anything. What are you doing to grow your mind? You don’t get impressive results by standing still, it takes disciplined effort.
Try setting yourself some goals, and identifying a daily action that will take you towards it. When things don’t work out, instead of beating yourself up, ask yourself what can I learn? Challenge yourself to recognise the things you do well, and how you might improve. This will help you enjoy the journey rather than getting stuck on the destination.
Change and improvement start with the decision to make it happen, and a plan to keep it going. Start by keeping it small, and making it easy for you to do. Set reminders, put what you need in the right place (e.g. your journal beside your bed), and link it to another habitual behaviour – when I wake up I will… In sports, they call it marginal gains, fancy finding out how successful you could be with the right changes?
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Sinead is the Founder of Generation Women and is a Career and Leadership Coach. She has almost 20 years’ experience of developing leaders in global corporates. Her passion for helping others excel in their careers has resulted in her clients landing the jobs they want, being headhunted, and stepping up into leadership with confidence. She’s the Director of Leadership Development for Lean In Ireland and a passionate advocate for equality.