For most of us, July is typically the time of year for the mid year performance review. And while no doubt our “traditional” business goals around projects, savings, and cycle time improvements are critical, so are the personal measurements that determine our long term growth and development. Too often I have forsaken growth in these areas to keep up with the demands of “the job”….only to realize that I desperately needed these things to overcome the challenges I was facing in my work life. Here are a few “metrics” I would ask you to evaluate as your own midyear review:
You have to be committed to your own development plan. Managers, HR, and learning organizations are great and should help connect you with the right resources. But you need to determine where your interests lie, and no one will do this for you. The good news is that even if all those groups can’t help, there are tons of great books, blogs, podcasts, and videos to challenge your thinking. (if you don’t know where to start, feel free to check out last week’s post: http://www.5for5blog.com/5-for-5-summer-readin-ill-need-to-read-fast/)
To me this is one of the most vital tools in your long term development. As we have talked about in the blog before, more careers and job roles are based on knowledge work. If so then we need to bring our best ideas to our teams to solve ever changing problems. Cultivating our creativity is an important part of “priming” ourselves to identify those new ideas. What are you doing in your job or outside of work to exercise your creativity?
If Creativity is about developing our ability to generate ideas, leadership is about the discipline to execute on them and influencing people to join your effort. And while all of the items in this list are ultimately tied to learning, leadership is an area where learning is so critical. There great (and frankly bad) examples of leadership that you can learn from every day. Are you taking on projects or roles that allow you to grow your leadership abilities? (Remember: leadership is not about a title, and having followers is not contingent on having direct reports. Lead where you are.)
This is about taking care of your mind and body. And while the summer means midyear reviews, it also means vacation (at least in the northern hemisphere). Vacations can be valuable downtime away from your job, if you give yourself permission to disconnect. But disconnecting from our digital tools doesn’t have to wait for vacation. Being mindful and present with our work and are families needs to happen every day. The email can wait. But well being is also about taking care of your body. How are you doing in the exercise, sleep, and eating right categories?
Part of disconnecting from our work is having friends and mentors with whom we can be transparent about all of the areas above. Too often we bottle up our issues, when sharing them with someone you trust to help you look at those in the mirror may be exactly what you need. But this is also about connecting outside of work with friends and family who make the work with it and inspire you to keep growing and making a difference.
Over this next week, take stock in how you are growing in these areas. I know I have some serious work to do in all of the areas above (that it is why the first person I write these posts to….is me.) But, these are about YOUR development. They are investments in your future, don’t short change yourself.
Here are this week’s 5 for 5 blog articles:
Every Day – by Nancy Merkling – via NancyMerkling.com
- SO WHAT: This is the best thing I read all week. A wonderful reflection on the importance of growing…..every day. (note: Nancy is my photography mentor and has taught me a lot about the creative process.)
- Tags: Growth, Creativity
Winifred Gallagher On Living a Focused Life – by Shane Parrish – via FarnamStreetblog.com
- SO WHAT: Focus to me is an elusive commodity. It is something I crave, but seems just out of reach due to the demand of my job and many digital distractions. A nice article about how pushing yourself (perhaps in your creativity) can help you find the focus you desire.
- Tags: Growth, Focus
Why You Should Flush 90% of Your To-Do List Down the Toilet – by Michael Hyatt – via MichaelHyatt.com
- SO WHAT: Here’s that word again….focus. But to truly focus, as noted in the article, you are going to have to say no to meaning “interesting” opportunities.
- Tags: Focus
Using Focus to Help Ideas Become Reality – by Kaley Mamo – via QuietRev.com
- SO WHAT: A wonderful piece by a young author on how finding focus many times is about getting away from the noise that seems to always surround us.
- Tags: Focus
Get in the Right State of Mind for Vacation – by Alexander Caillet, Jeremy Hirshberg, and Stefano Petti – via Harvard Business Review
- SO WHAT: A nice way to tie this post together….touching on many of the things mentioned above: disengaging, being present, focus.
- Tags: Well-being
All the best, kevin