The New School Year Has Started – What Grade Are You In?

I always like September because I feel like it really is the start to the new year.  Maybe it is remembering having all new school supplies, lunchbox, clothes, etc.  I call it my “new yellow pencil mentality”.  For that reason, I always decide on a few goals that I want to achieve; a couple of personal ones and a few professional ones.  Some needless to say take longer to achieve than others.

This is also a time for self-reflection as the days get shorter.  At this point in your career, do you feel like you are progressing the way you want to?  Are you entering a “new grade” or are you being left back?  What are the things that motivate you each day and what are the things that make you want to stay in bed, throw the covers over you, and miss the school bus?

I feel that once you have experienced a setback in can be more difficult to move forward.  To combat this, you need to break down all the pieces of why that is.  Start with yourself.  How do you feel?  What is making you anxious these days?  What are your triggers?  After that, look at external factors.  Are you experiencing pressure from your boss, your spouse, your kids, and maybe even the family pet?  Are their expectations unrealistic?  How do you pushback and just say “no”?

On the positive side, there is nothing stopping you from getting on the school track and going for a run/walk.  Even if you can only put one foot in front of the other for a short span of time it is better than nothing.  Build up over time.  This is the same when you think of achieving your goals and/or moving your career forward.  It takes time and when we are not thinking clearly it seems overwhelming.  This is similar when you are trying to build relationships with another person.  You can’t meet someone and within ten minutes ask them to marry you (well you can but…).  Try to identify the scenarios when you are more patient and see if you can apply them in new situations.

Finally think about those times in school when you received a gold star on your paper.  How did it make you feel?  If you are a manager have you ever thought about handing out stars to your team that does a really good job on a project?  Or have you been a recipient of one?  When I give presentations and talk about rewarding oneself, I mention gold stars.  Everyone in the audience always smiles.  In closing, try to give some gold stars to yourself, be patient, and recognize that the life, like school, can go by very fast so try not to be too hard on yourself.