Shift Your Mindset to Achieve your Career Goals in 2017

A recent article in the New York Times described how the coach of the NY Knicks has been providing the team with mindfulness training with the goal of optimizing their athletic performance.  The idea of mindfulness is somewhat nebulous depending on personal preferences: it can take the form of meditating, writing in a daily journal, or creating an awareness to stay in the present moment.  It has the potential to calm racing thoughts and focus our intentions. 

As we approach the beginning of a new year, it is natural for many people to reflect on the past and to set new intentions for the coming year.  Does one of your 2017 goals includes reassessing your career direction? Maybe you are ready for a change in direction, your core values differ from those of your manager, or you dream of relocating to a new city.  A mindfulness practice can help center your intentions; however, shifting your mindset potentially has more power to change the belief system that might be holding you back from seeing results with achieving your goals.  Mindset is different than mindfulness, but the two can certainly complement each other. 

Here are three ways to shift to a more growth-oriented mindset that activates change, rather than staying fixed in patterns of past thinking.  A growth-oriented mindset has been shown in studies to lead to success in the academic environment and in the workplace. The following exercises will help you gain momentum by defining and realizing what your strengths and capabilities are, and framing them in a positive way.

Persist with these as you define and tackle your career goals for the coming year. 

1.        Acknowledge the potential.  You may be certain that your path is leading to a change in career or a shift from a publicly traded company to a non-profit.  So, take one action each week to propel yourself in that direction, and believe that you will get there in time.  For example, if you want to change careers to be a grant writer, try first volunteering for an organization that needs that expertise.  Once you see the results that your actions are bringing about, and experience the feeling of momentum, you will have more confidence that you will meet your goals.

2.        Change the way you view differences.  If you have a communication style unlike that of your manager, and your daily interactions leave you vowing to quit your job, try taking a step back and assessing the most recent interaction you experienced.  If you can find a way to learn something from that encounter, rather than giving in to labeling it as a failed communication, then when you are ready to move on to your next job or even a different department within your current company, you will have learned something about different communication approaches, and you can identify and respect differences rather than thinking they are your personal failures.

3.         Gather and appreciate insights from others.  Be open to approaching colleagues or friends who have experienced a similar change that you are seeking, such as a relocation to a different state or country.  Hear what they have to say about not just the positive aspects of their experience, but what they would have done differently. Reflect on how their advice or perspectives might apply to your own circumstances. Keep in mind that being authentic and clear about what your goals are will validate the changes you are aiming to make.  For instance, listen to how your colleague has appreciated being on a 2-year job rotation program in London, and consider whether that particular experience aligns with your goals.   

These shifts in mindset can spark a powerful change in the way you approach and achieve your future career goals, and they can make the journey more enjoyable. 

Author: Joanne Witmyer is the founder of Indigo Health and Wellness. She teaches group workshops, offers workplace wellness learning and performance consulting, and helps individuals achieve their goals for well-being – particularly during times of transition and change.  Joanne writes a monthly column focused on wellness for the Examiner Media newspaper. She has her MBA in organizational behavior and an extensive background in human resources within publicly traded companies and consulting firms, inspiring employees to find balance, results and fulfilling careers. Contact Joanne for customized insights about connecting wellness to or (914) 208-1022