Last week, our friends over at the VIKTRE Career Network published an excellent piece on the “Six Ups” for success in a career after sports. For those of you who are not familiar with the VIKTRE Career Network, their focus is to help professional and Olympic athletes make a successful transition in a career after sports, much like we do with athletes from all levels of competition.
What really stood out among these “Six Ups” laid out in the article was a true call for ownership and action for an athlete once their career was over or coming to an end. Athletes needed to admit their weaknesses, learn how to get better, find out what they were good at or wanted to do and much more to advance through the stages to finding a career after they were done playing.
Just like professional athletes making a transition into a new career, jobseekers just like you are going through a very similar process through the “Ups.” In particular, there is one “Up” that was not mentioned in the piece over on the VIKTRE Career Network that stood out to me, and I think it is extremely relevant when it comes to advancing in your career—“Step Up.”
When most former athletes hear the phrase “Step Up,” we are instantly thrown back to a moment where our coaches and teammates looked at us to be better or do something great. It could have been after we let them down or after someone failed to get the job done, or it may have just been a moment where the entire team needed something big to happen to change the game or season.
In our careers, we usually only hear the phrase “Step Up,” when someone is falling behind. Either that person is being told to get it together, or members of their team are being asked to pick up the slack. Very rarely in the workplace is the phrase “Step Up” used as a way to positively motivate employees or the workplace.
Well, today you have the opportunity to change all of that—just like many of us did as athletes growing up. In fact, there are three ways you can personally choose to “Step Up” in your career that can not only be beneficial to you, but also beneficial to your company as well.
“Step Up” Your Training
As former athletes, we all know many of us had two choices when the gym lights were turned off and coaches kicked us off the field from practice. We could go home and be “normal kids,” or find a way to continue our training on our own. Well, you have the same opportunity in your career as well—and luckily you will likely not have to make your parents mad doing so, like I did as a baseball player.
In order to advance your training in your career, most of you can simply go online and take free advanced training courses, watch helpful webinars and YouTube videos or even enroll in some tuition reimbursement available courses at an online or local university. All you have to do today is identify an area you would like to be better at or learn more about, and boom—you can start your training on that topic today.
This all sounds much easier than that time I cleared out my parents’ garage and stored everything important they needed in the attic in order to create an indoor baseball mini-gym for some of the team. Though that pop-up hitting net, indoor pitching mound, cable strengthening system and much more helped us out for the upcoming season, my parents were not very happy when they returned from their out of town trip for the weekend.
If you are not sure where to start, Lynda.com is a pretty good place to give it a try. They offer a free 10-day trial on courses, which could give you enough time to try it out and pitch it to your boss as something your office could use to really “Step Up” their training.
“Step Up” Your Communication
One thing that often gets lost in the workplace (and in life, really) is the difference between talking and communicating. Just because you are having conversations with your co-workers and bosses, does not mean you are truly communicating with them on the level you need to for everyone to work together in a positive manner and accomplish team goals.
Working in the website world, this situation happens far too often between “web people” and “sales people.” Why are they in quotes, you ask? Because that is how so many organizations differentiate the two parts instead of everyone being part of the team.
The “sales people” (in this example) only care about how the “web people” are going to make the website and other vehicles (email) give them clients. So they want an environment full of bold buttons and sales pitches all over the place. On the other side, the “web people” are thinking of the users and their experience, so they often forget that the end goal is to not only have happy web visitors, but also get those visitors to purchase and become customers.
So, what can we learn about communication from the “sales people” and the “web people?” There is clearly a lack of communication between the two sides, as neither truly understands why the other values what they value—which is likely something you deal with in your career as well.
How can you “Step Up” your communication if this problem exists? Simple—instead of just talking to people, work together to see how your departments or jobs are integral to the organization and both important. Which is exactly how I got the “sales people” and the “web people” at my old organization to become the “company people.”
“Step Up” Your Goals
You know what the most common reason why people do not set goals? They are afraid of not meeting them. The second most common reason? They forget about it in the day-to-day hustle of getting all of their other responsibilities completed.
I am 100 percent guilty of the second reason—as I am sure many of you are. We sometimes get too focused on the seemingly insurmountable task of completing 60 hours of work in 40, that we often forget what it is like to achieve something major we really wanted to. This in turn leads us to that normal feeling of, “Oh great, time to get back on the work week grind” when Monday rolls around again.
Since we cannot just stop doing our regular tasks in order to tackle major goals we have been missing out on, how can we truly accomplish this final “Step Up?”
That is a good question. If delegation is an option, that is likely going to be key. Do not view it as giving away the tasks you do not have time to do, instead, view it as freeing yourself up to do the tasks you strive to do.
This “internal struggle” is one that is going be presented to me next week as a new member joins my team. As someone who likes to oversee every single task and detail, delegating to my new team member will allow me to set major goals, create strategy and execute those goals in 2017 and beyond.
If you can, delegate some of those responsibilities and at the same time, set yourself some achievable goals to reward your hard work and effort in 2017!