2012 Career Goals: The Good, the Bad, and the “What Can I Learn From This?”

Hot damn, you’ve survived the holidays! (Okay, let’s say we’re working on recovery….) Now it’s time to take a quick look backward and a bit of a longer look forward to keep moving forward toward your career goals.
Looking back at 2012, ask yourself what went great and what went, ah, not so great. On the “what went great” list, think about the why of these successes. What had you done that lead to a great outcome? Had you spent some time brainstorming a new idea? Reached out to someone who helped you? Read a book or magazine article or blog post that sparked a creative solution to a problem? Analyzed a company process until you found a more streamlined approached? Built a rapport with a company client that caused them to spend more money with the company?
Pay attention to the things that you did before that moment of success, then find ways to ramp up those activities even more in 2013. You’ll be building not only greater success for your company, but also a higher level of professional performance – which is one of the best long-term career investments you can make. Next, check out any failures you had in 2012, the more spectacular, the better. The good news about looking at the “what went not so great” side is that this is where you can really learn and grow.
 The often-repeated quote that we learn more from failure than from success is true – your job is to look beyond that cringe-worthy moment(s), step back from the emotions involved, and clearly assess what you could have done differently to possibly produce a different outcome. Could you have spent more time preparing? Could you have vetted your assumptions with a senior colleague? Could you have done more research about a potential customer, vendor, or partner? Could you have used better people skills to manage a difficult staff situation? Would your presentation have been more compelling if you’d had better knowledge of the presentation software? Would your budget have had a better chance of being approved if you’d been more effectively able to use an Excel spreadsheet to more effectively lay out your department finances?
Yep, giving yourself a debrief on all the things that didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped in 2012 can be a bit of a downer, but only if you don’t recognize how valuable this information is for you in terms of creating your 2013 career agenda. By taking responsibility for what went wrong, you also have the opportunity to change the outcome next time by improving what you need to improve and learning what you need to learn. And if you didn’t have any failures in 2012? Then your career goal for 2013 is to push yourself out of your comfort zone and start taking on new challenges. To quote automotive industry pioneer Henry Ford, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
Here’s to a 2013 filled with lessons learned, challenges embraced, and new opportunities to grow.
About the Author: Acclaimed Career Coach, Kim Dority is a frequent presenter for Bryant & Stratton College Online. Dority is an information specialist, consultant, career coach, published author and adjunct professor at the University of Denver in Colorado. She has written extensively on career development for students and new graduates and is a frequent presenter, lecturer and panelist on career-related topics. Kim’s areas of expertise include professional branding, career transitions and career sustainability.

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