Planning Your Career - and Your Life

As we begin 2015, many of us have made New Year’s resolutions. These may involve weight loss and exercise goals, spending more time with family and friends, or finally planning that vacation you have been wanting to take. Our resolutions are created to make our lives better, and if you have set New Year’s resolutions, you have probably determined by now that they take planning, adjustments, hard work, adaptation, and willpower

The same is true for your own career, especially as it relates to integrating your career goals with your personal goals. Over the years, I have learned that it truly takes time, planning, and intentionality to achieve success. At DHG, we exist to build valuable careers for our people, but the success of our mission requires our people to also play an integral part. DHG obviously cannot plan the lives of our people; only they can do that. Rather, our Firm’s responsibility is to create an environment where careers can flourish while our people’s broader lives outside of work also flourish.  Indeed, a valuable career must include a proper balance with the rest of your life.

As you embark on 2015, I suggest that you set goals for integrating your personal life with your career, making sure the two are compatible and reasonably balanced. Begin thinking about your own life and how it should be integrated with your career.

Here are my six suggestions for getting started:

  1. Make sure you have hobbies (none of which are work!) that are personally rewarding. These may include time spent volunteering, participating in activities such as tennis, golf, dance, or even learning a new skill like playing a musical instrument. Devote substantive time to that hobby 3-4 times a month.
  2. Plan your vacation schedule for the coming year, and make reservations so it becomes official and cannot be overridden by work. Put your plans on your calendar and share them with your team, and ask them to do the same. I have already set vacation plans with my family for the coming year so those who need to can plan around that.
  3. Include a physical activity in your personal time. This may be walking, yoga, jogging or a competitive sport. Regardless, increased physical activity will make you healthier both physically and mentally, clearing your mind of stress and anxiety. This is your gift to your body, acknowledging that it too deserves your attention.
  4. Find a mentor(s) that seems to do an excellent job integrating their career and their life. Offer to buy that person lunch so you can learn their secrets.
  5. Establish a schedule with your significant other or best friend for one-on-one time each week. A suggestion might be to select a few specific nights each week to eat dinner together and watch a favorite TV show, or make certain nights of the week off limits for work or business dinners. Consider this person your “coach” for balancing your life; spending time with him/her may be your best secret to success.
  6. Write down your plans and share them with your significant other or someone close to you. Ask them to help keep you accountable.

Building a successful career takes work, not only at work, but also away from work. Take the time to be intentional and build your own plan for integrating a healthy life with your career goals.  Together we can build your valuable career while helping our clients achieve their goals.