2016

For many, a new year on the calendar means that it’s time for personal and professional goal-setting and resolutions. But, before you start mapping out your game plan for landing that new job or promotion, it might be time to think about whether the same old ways of getting ahead are actually holding you back.

Consider this transformational thinking to change your work world in 2016.

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Yes or No Not Maybe

If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

Being safe IS risky. A lack of clarity in what you want out of life or too many options can cause “analysis paralysis”. In today’s world of constant and rapid change, you have to be committed to a goal not just curious if you can reach the goal. You can be comfortable or remarkable, but usually not both.   The key to going from invisible to remarkable is to get out of your current work-world comfort zone and into your passion zone.

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Employers (customers) today want to see and feel that interacting with your personal brand is something that is unique or compelling relative to your competition. You have to differentiate yourself from being ordinary to becoming extraordinary. More often than not, it’s your passion about what you represent that makes the difference in you being a success or not.

Realize that it’s often what you STOP doing that makes you a success or failure. If you’re looking for work, stop scanning job boards and start focusing on building relationships with industry leaders. If you don’t have time to think about building a personal brand, decide what you need to stop to free up time to get things going. It’s that simple.

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Consider, Dilbert, a comic strip written and drawn by Scott Adams. It’s known for its satirical office humor about a white-collar, micromanaged office featuring the engineer Dilbert as the key character. The strip has generated several books, an animated television series, a video game, and hundreds of Dilbert-themed merchandise items. Dilbert appears in 2000 newspapers worldwide in 70 countries and 25 languages.

For 6 years, he worked at a day job while doing the Dilbert comic strip mornings, evenings and weekends. Then Adams bought a book called “1986 Artist Markets” and followed the instructions on how to get syndicated. He drew 50 sample strips and mailed copies to the major cartoon syndicates. United Media called a few weeks later and offered him a contract.  Dilbert.com was the first syndicated comic strip to go online in 1995 and is now the most widely read syndicated comic on the Internet.

Scott essentially built a bridge from where he was to what he wanted. He passionately focused on making his goal to be syndicated a reality. The rest is history.

If you take risks, expect to fail many times. Failure is part of the process of learning. In fact, negative feedback is often some of the most important information you can get, if you use it to redirect yourself in reaching your goals.

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Look at people who are successful and you will almost always see a path of rejection followed by success.

Consider Anderson Cooper from CNN.

Anderson Cooper wanted to be a foreign news correspondent but couldn’t even get an entry-level job at any of the major networks. He ended up working as a fact checker for Channel One, an agency that produces news programs for high schools.

Cooper quickly realized that when you are at a job people tend to pigeonhole you in whatever role you are in—and sometimes you have to do something drastic in order to change people’s perception of you. So he quit his job, borrowed a friend’s video camera, and went overseas to shoot stories by himself.

Living on just five dollars a day, Cooper made his videos as interesting and dangerous as possible, then offered them to Channel One for such a low price that they couldn’t refuse. This bold move is what launched his career and enabled him to live his dream.

CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront" Launch Party

Cooper explains, “Had I asked the producers at Channel One if they would be supportive of my going out to make war videos, they would probably have said no. It’s easier to say no than it is to say yes, and they might not have wanted to feel responsible for me in any way. So I just did it. I rarely ask people for advice or permission when I’m planning on doing something I feel strongly about.”

If you knew you only had 3 years to live, what would you do differently?

Clearly define what you want as a career and go for it!

The time has come to stop looking for what’s available and build a bridge to what you really want from your life.