Kick start your professional growth in 2021


I started last year with what felt like big plans for my personal and professional growth. I was going to become a certified coach, and I was going to take time to focus on meditation. In 2020, I intended to finally figure out what my next big thing was going to be. 

Throwing plans out the window

Then in March, most of those plans got turned on their head. Instead, I was helping my team through an abrupt move to work from home. I was leaning in to readjust and shift business priorities in the midst of uncertainty. Most days, I felt like I was treading water at best.

Those expected plans and achievements went out the window, and the days and weeks became more about making it through than thriving. More about taking care of myself and others than accomplishing any great feats. 

For a while, I gave myself a hard time about not doing the ever-present ‘more’, and about putting the expectations I had created for a great 2020 on a shelf. I denigrated myself mentally for not living up to my usual ‘Katie standard’. A lot of us do this – give others around us a pass when things get tough but keep the same high bar for ourselves. And then feel like we are constantly falling short.

Luckily, a good friend reminded me that it was enough. To be there supporting my team and family, to be taking care of myself. That was good for now. I didn’t need to do everything that I would do in a normal year.

So, I passed on ‘more’. I specifically gave myself permission to take a breather on growth and development for the rest of the year.

Waking up in 2021 ready for growth

Now 2021 is here, and I am waking up and stepping back into a future thinking mode. Each week is bringing about the possible and I am once again imagining what could be. I see others waking up too, not everyone, but little by little. People are getting ready for change and growth once again. 

If you are like me and feeling a little rusty, a simple tool may help you get started. One of my favorites is to imagine yourself at the end of an awesome year and work back from there. Attached is a worksheet I have used in a team context, and it can also be used for personal and professional goals. 

Big or small, now is a good time to dust off your dreaming cap and revisit what direction you want to head in this year. When you are ready to kick start, give yourself some grace and just jump in!