As the year 2022 draws to a close, it’s impossible not to reflect back over the past 12 months and look ahead to the year to come. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the things that have gone well, explore the things that haven’t gone so well, and make sure that you’re setting yourself up for the right kind of success next year. So, what are some of the ways in which you can redefine success in 2023?
Redefining success in 2023
1. Set yourself meaningful goals
As I’m always reminding anyone who’ll listen, success means “the accomplishment of an aim or a purpose”. That means, of course, that you need to define what that aim or purpose is; it means that you need to set yourself goals.
And not just any goals. We’re not talking about the traditional New Year’s resolutions that you scramble to set yourself on 1st January (get fit, eat better, bla bla). We’re also not talking about the linear next steps at work, whether it’s completing a big project, getting a salary increase, landing your next promotion, and so on.
Giving yourself a real aim or purpose to work towards requires you to set meaningful goals. What does that mean? Well, it means looking beyond the narrow domain of your work to consider other areas of your life that are just as important, if not more so – your health, your family, and your other interests. Within work, it means elevating above the specific job that you happen to be doing right now to consider your professional development more broadly. And it means making sure that the goals you set yourself are such that, when you achieve them, they will change your life in a meaningful way.
2. Invest in your own learning and development
Speaking of professional development, the next area to focus on is investing in your own learning and development. This can – but doesn’t have to – involve formal education. It can also involve more informal training, online courses, or even ‘just’ reading books and listening to podcasts.
Use your goals from the previous step to make sure that the learning that you’re doing is supporting your objectives. How can you take ownership for upskilling in different areas and continuing to challenge yourself, so that you make sure that you stay relevant and competitive in the workplace?
A caveat here: don’t let this become an excuse for procrastination. Signing up for yet another formal training and certification can easily become a way of putting off the real work of ‘doing the thing’. By all means, keep learning – but don’t let that stop you from taking action in the meantime.
3. Give your personal brand a boost
Your personal brand – how people see you and the value that you bring – is important whether you are an entrepreneur or a full-time employee. When you’re in a job, it’s easy to neglect this whole area and think that it’s not relevant. I often see people whose personal LinkedIn summary is entirely about their employer rather than about themselves, and this astounds me.
Reflect on how you are being thought of – if you’re being thought of at all – and invest time and effort in making sure that the image matches up to the reality that you want to project.
Elevating your personal brand – getting clear on what you stand for and the value that you bring, and communicating that clearly to the right people – will stand you in good stead in the future when you inevitably want to (or have to) change role or company.
4. Design your own version of flexibility
I’m a big fan of work-life integration (rather than balance) and it’s encouraging to see more and more organisations waking up to this idea as well. Work-life integration involves looking for synergies and harmony between the different domains of your life, rather than accepting a trade-off. It means getting creative as you design solutions that will work for you. This means that you need to put some real thought into what that looks like.
What are your priorities, across your work, health and well-being, family, and other areas that are important? What are the criteria for making your career support your lifestyle, rather than having to fit your life into the gaps that are left once you’ve finished all your work? And what are the boundaries that you’ll need to set to uphold your priorities in the day-to-day of real life?
Taking a more holistic view of who you are and the life you lead will help you design work-life integration that works for you. The benefits will be obvious for you, your family… and, yes, your career as well.
5. Choose your One Thing
I’ve covered a lot here, across your work as well as your health and well-being, your personal relationships, your learning, and everything else that matters in your life. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and, in the end, not really see much of an impact at the end of the year.
If you fast forward now to the end of 2023 and imagine that you’re reflecting on where you are and what you’ve achieved… what is it that will have made the biggest difference? What’s the biggest change you want to see, the real impact that you want to make? What does success in 2023 really look like for you?
Choose the One Thing that will make the biggest difference this year. And, when you inevitably get lost in all the noise of expectations and obligations, remind yourself what really matters.
Here’s to your success in 2023 – whatever success looks like for you!