Author Bio ▼

Dr Flis has a BA SSc and a PhD in organisational social psychology and is passionate about helping people who lead and work in organisations create better workplace experiences and improving work cultures. Get free resources and tactics on appropriately dealing with negative online and offline workplace behaviours at or contact Dr Flis at[email protected] or  LinkedIn. You can also follow Dr Flis on her blog Twitter or Facebook.
January 19, 2017

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Careers: six simple steps to kick start your new WORK year

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Each New Year gives us all a wonderful opportunity to gratefully recall our wins and lessons at work (and life). We can pause and ask ourselves, “What were my wins in 2016, and how can I use this knowledge to create a better New WORK Year for myself?”

For most of us work is quite literally the second most important relationship in our lives. It is therefore critical to regularly check-in with ourselves and ask, “Am I happy and fulfilled at work?” Your relationship with work can significantly shape how you feel about yourself. Furthermore, research now shows the happier you are at work, the greater your engagement, creativity and overall well-being, and boost your success in life. For those of you who enjoy statistics and facts, read this research from the University of Warwick which found happier people are significantly more productive.

To help you kick-start your New WORK Year, try these six surprisingly effective steps.

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STEP 1. What work activity worked out really well for you in 2016?

Find a notebook and pen, or use your smart phone, and write down ‘My Work WINS in 2016” and list the tasks, activities, projects, programs, outcomes that you recall as a success or a win.

STEP 2. Now ask yourself “What exactly made “project ABC” a win for me”?

What specifically was it about that project, activity or task that made it a “win” for you? The more detail the better as you can drill down into what the activity made you feel or behave, or learn. Perhaps there was a relationship development component that you enjoyed. Or you identified with an creative or innovative component, or the type of direction you received from your boss. It could have been a person or group of people that simply ‘made’ it for you. Maybe it was the first time you felt connected to a critical or pivotal program that significantly improved (for example) an element in society, or your workplace. Use this step to build a dossier of specific factors that literally gives you the opportunity to shine.

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STEP 3. What did you do at work last year that you or others still talk about with pride?

For example, this could be a new set of skills, expertise, program outcome, or even a new experience. What is really important is nailing why you feel this sense of pride when you think or talk about this particular project or outcome. This emotion is an important insight and can help you hone into  your personal values and/or life purpose (what makes you tick). To help you out I’ve created a completely free “New Year. New Job Guide“.

STEP 4. Can you recall someone who made a pivotal difference for you in 2016?

You may find you were unintentionally mentored by co-workers, supervisors, clients, stakeholders, family or friends. Perhaps someone said or did something that led to an epiphany. In hindsight, you may realise that you’ve been helped by many people in 2016. Take a moment to feel grateful for their time and support, and to identify the person or people who are supporting your growth. Importantly, I recommend staying in touch with the people who are actively encouraging you to grow and shine.

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STEP 5. In considering the pros and cons of 2016, what elements would you  want MORE of (and LESS of) in the New Year?

Basically, this means taking a reflective look at last year (i.e., 2016) and think about the pros and cons, what did and didn’t work for you. Be honest with yourself. What you’re doing is focusing on the elements that allowed you to be a success and/or shine. These are the elements to recreate in 2017. It’s also useful to think about our mistakes and lessons so we can avoid repeating them, or to determine what external factors led to these mistakes/lessons. Try these focusing questions:

Given you aim is to ‘shine your awesomeness at work in 2017’ (or something similar), ask yourself this:

  • Is my existing workplace or job More likely to give me the environment that can consistently give me the ‘win’ opportunities I need to shine?
  • If my current job gives me these opportunities, what else can I do to enhance these opportunities and increase my potential to shine?

Think about the mistakes, lessons or things that simply didn’t work out for you last year and ask yourself this:

  • Are these elements intrinsic to my current workplace? (i.e., will I keep falling into similar traps simply because of the existing work environment?). If so, is this the best workplace or job for me?
  • Or, is there something about last year’s lesson/mistake(s) that suggests I need to make a small tweak (e.g., in my communication, behaviour, attitude) that would help me shine in 2017? Do I need some help with this? Who can help mentor/coach me?

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STEP 6. I know what I want …HOW am I going to get it?

Hopefully, you’re now a bit clearer about the external environmental factors and internal personal strengths that help you be your best at work, and therefore create a happier you. Now you need to know HOW to get this new job, career, workplace that supports you to consistently BE that creative, fully engaged and happy person at work.  To help you, I’ve created a completely free 9 Step Strategy here or at to help land your dream job. It may be useful to use this Strategy AFTER you’ve used my free “New Year. New Job Guide”.


Happy New WORK Year!

Dr Felicity Lawrence has a BA SSc & PhD in organisational social psychology with 25 years’ experience in private, military and government organisations. She uses a mixed adult education, academic-evidenced approach to help people leading & working in organisations create respectful work cultures by preventing bullying, fostering new insights, and diagnosing organisational problems. Contact Dr Lawrence at [email protected], LinkedIn  or follow her blog Twitter or Facebook.

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