At the beginning of this month, we asked you about your professional intentions for the year. We weren't surprised that many of our members were already thinking about how to make 2014 a great year professionally.
As we wrap up our #workresolutions series, we wanted to share some of the tweets and LinkedIn comments we got about your intentions for 2014:
@DM3AZ Possibly my 2014 mantra "I will manage my emails, not let emails manage me!" Yep #workresolutions @ynpn
— Millennial Speaking (@GenYtalk) January 23, 2014
What are your 2014 #workresolutions? I want to get more involved in tech policy and advocacy! @ynpn — Jessica Rothschuh (@JessieRothschuh) January 23, 2014
@ynpn #workresolutions this year, i’ll embrace the weird, wild, millennial freelance economy by starting independent projects i care about
— Dory Trimble (@doryelizabeth_) January 24, 2014
I love this and am planning on it myself RT@ynpn A #workresolution to consider for 2014: Take the initiative. http://t.co/gTuanh6fNF
— kalammi-ty (@kimlammi) January 15, 2014
@ynpn I'm going to pass the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) exam in 2014. #workresolutions
— Jessica E.M. Aleksy (@JessAleksy27) January 23, 2014
Catching up on professional development was a popular resolution:
@ynpn I will identify resources: books, trainings, etc. I need in order to be more successful at my job #workresolutions
— Ashley C. Hernandez (@AshCorrinn) January 6, 2014
And even our ED Trish got in on the action:
Mine? Building more chapter voice AND a badass #ynpn data system! RT @ynpn This year we're all about #workresolutions http://t.co/2ovApiK0iF
— Trish Tchume (@ttchume) January 6, 2014
The most common theme, however, was the need to do less and restore work/life balance. YNPN member Natasha Golinksy wrote a great post on reverse resolutions, or choosing things that you're not going to do in the year ahead. This idea hit home for quite a few people:
Hm, @ynpn things I'm NOT going to do this year. guilt myself, say yes to EVERYTHING and try to fix every org I work with. #workresolutions
— Dania Toscano Miwa (@daniamiwa) January 14, 2014
@YNPNportland @ynpn @ngolinsky Love this idea! I'll be thinking about what's on my "don't do" list for 2014... #workresolutions
— Liza J (@lizaface) January 14, 2014
@ynpn I've stopped everything except looking for a full-time job. No more can go out until something comes in!
— Katie Greer (@KC_k8e) January 14, 2014
Did any of these resolutions resonate with you? It's not too late to share your #workresolution with us in the comments.
Thanks to everyone who joined the discussion on Twitter and LinkedIn to share your #workresolutions with us. Every month we'll be talking about a new topic here on the blog and on social media, so make sure you're connected and part of the conversation.
One final note: At the end of our January newsletter, we took a quick poll as to whether our members set new year's resolutions or not. The answers were almost equally split, with 54% saying they do and 46% saying resolutions just aren't their thing.
Regardless of whether or not resolutions are your jam, we wish you a year filled with professional success!
YNPN National Board member Cat Beltmann talks about the adventure she's embarking on in 2014 and shares a few tips for going out on your own.
Last August, I made one of the biggest career decisions of my life. I decided to start my own consulting business. I had never worked for myself, really had no idea what I was getting myself into, but knew that I had to make a change. I had worked with a number of consultants over the years and decided they had the best jobs ever. Doesn’t sleeping in, working on projects you want to work on, and sitting at your desk in pajamas sound amazing?!
I couldn’t officially make the leap until November, but decided that my first move needed to be talking to my boss. I knew that he would be supportive of my decision and I wanted his blessing to start talking to mutual contacts about my transition. The last thing I wanted to happen was for him to find out through the grapevine that I was quitting. Thankfully, our conversation went a million times better than expected. During my transition, I spent countless hours getting advice from anyone and everyone. I’ve learned a lot during the past few months. Sadly, my initial picture of consulting work was a bit skewed, but it’s been an amazing journey so far.
So, what advice have I found helpful?
1. Whether or not to set-up a work day routine is a big debate. Some people recommended acting like you are going to an office – shower, shave, and get dressed in work clothes. Others recommended just going with the flow. Work when you want and wear your pajamas if you so desire. I think you just need to find what works best for you. Attempt a structured routine and if you hate it make adjustments. What works for one person might not work for you.
2. If you work from home create a workspace. It’s easy to be reminded of all of the housework you could/should take care of when you’re sitting in the middle of it, and on the flip side it can be hard to stop working if you’re constantly sitting by your laptop. Working for yourself shouldn’t be an excuse to toss work-life balance out the window and designating a workspace can help. I was lucky enough to have a room that I could convert into an office. If you don’t have a separate room then carve out a corner of your kitchen, bedroom, or living room. Set-up a desk and use it when you’re working. Establish an office closing time, leave your desk, and don’t go back until the next day.
3. Working for yourself is very different than working for someone else. You’ll quickly realize there is a big difference between running your business and doing business. You are your technology person, bookkeeper, personal assistant, and chief marketing officer. Clients aren’t paying you for the time spent fixing your printer or setting up invoices. Don’t underestimate the amount of time you’ll have to spend actually running your business. You might be working 60 hours a week, but you’re probably only getting paid for half of that (if you are lucky).
4. There are tools and apps that will make your life so much easier. Use them! Do your research and ask around. Two of the first things you’ll need to figure out is what it will cost you to run your business and how much you should charge. Freelance Switch has a great rate calculator to help you figure that out. I love using Toggl to track my time and Wave for accounting.
5. This sounds cliché, but believe in yourself and trust your instincts. My grandpa once gave my brother the advice that when you get to a four way stop just close your eyes and go. Terrible driving advice but great life advice. Close your eyes and go has become my personal mantra. If you’re going to succeed you have to trust yourself and your abilities. Every time I start to panic and doubt myself I just remember to close my eyes and go. I’ve never regretted doing it and have found that I’ve succeed more times than I’ve failed.
6. Don’t forget to breathe. A friend sent me an email on my last day at my job old, she told me to take a deep breath – enjoy my last day and then take a few days before I started stressing out about finding work. The emotions and stress that go along with starting your own business can be overwhelming. I am fortunate and am off to a very solid start, but every few days I panic. I panic about finding work, if this was good financial decision, and the list goes on. After of few minutes of panic, I remind myself to take a deep breath. It’s impossible to control the future and uncertainty is part of the game. Panic won’t help you lock in your next contract or produce better work. It will only prevent you from being successful.
7. This is your journey. The most important lesson that I’ve learned is that my journey is my own. No one has all of the answers, no one piece of advice is better than another, and every journey looks a little different. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!
Cat Beltmann is the owner of So Good Consulting where she partners with organizations to create and sustain social value through events and community engagement initiatives. Recent clients include the Bush Foundation, the Office of the Secretary of State, and Mylan Communications Consulting.
In her previous position, she served as the Community Engagement Manager for the Citizens League where she was in charge of developing, coordinating, and implementing numerous small and large scale events. She served as the League’s event manager for the Policy and a Pint series, a partnership between the Citizens League and 89.3 the Current.
She managed event concept development, sponsor recruitment, budget development, and event implementation for 6 of the Citizens League’s annual meetings, which draw approximately 300 attendees annually and have feature both local and national keynote speakers. Most recently, she was the catalyst for the creation of the Generation Now Leadership Visit, a 3-day leadership development trip that took 50 current and rising professionals from Minnesota to Milwaukee.
Cat holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota and will receive a Masters in Nonprofit Management in the summer of 2014. She is also sits on the national board for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network.
YNPN member Alexa Riner tells us about her #workresolution for 2014.
This year I've decided to jump off into the deep end. The economy is sluggish at best and has been for years now, and I’m getting discouraged looking for the right job doing the kind of work I want to be doing. I have ten years of project management skills that aren’t getting utilized. It’s time for me to make it happen.
This is my New Year’s resolution for 2014: I am going to go out and create interesting work for myself rather than wait for it to come to me.
I'm embarking on a research project to examine my local community infrastructure and locate leverage points to improve the ways we construct where we live, learn, work, and play. I’m interested in the rules we make and how these rules are enforced. In my past architectural work, I’ve seen some poorly-incentivized practices. I’d like to have a hand in improving those practices and making them more accessible to a wider set of community members.
Not only do I have a goal, I’m designing a system to help me reach it. I’ve already written up my process outline and I'm setting up ticklers in my calendar for each step. I’m going to look up statistics, headlines, and trends in community infrastructure.
Then I’m going to conduct informational interviews with a variety of people involved in different sectors of construction, from owners to builders to regulators. Then I will have some sense of what my community wants or needs and how we might go about getting it.
What’s nice about this idea is that it makes networking a breeze. Instead of going around to people asking them how I can get a job, I’ll be going around asking them about what they do and how they are impacted and what their needs are. It gives my networking endeavors a context. I have a deeper reason for talking to them, and I’ll be genuinely interested in what they have to say instead of distracted by my own financial situation. I believe this reframe is important.
It is so easy to get stuck thinking I need someone else to agree to pay me before I can do what I want to be doing. In 2014, I’m turning that whole problem on its head.
Alexa Riner is an architectural designer, organization development consultant, and co-founder of the infrapreneurial consulting firm Roots to Success: Whole System Consulting, which works to build strong community organizations and partnerships in Northern California. You can find Alexa on Twitter at @rokuloquat.
YNPN member Natasha Golinsky shares her take on #workresolutions: the reverse resolution.
As a working mom of three young kids with volunteer commitments, a huge extended family, and a household to run, a question I get all the time is “How do you get it all done?"
People always assume that I’m swamped with things to do; however, the truth is that I have lots of spare time (more than I’d like to admit). Despite my to-do list, I manage to watch a bit of TV every day, read about a book a week, and spend lots of time with my husband and kids.
It’s not because I know millions of personal productivity short-cuts, but it’s because I keep things simple. I’m very conscious of just how much time I have and how much emotional energy I have to go around. After years of being an over-commitment-aholic, I finally wised up and realized that everyone loses when things get too busy in my life. Not only do I feel more stressed out but my kids start acting crazier, my marriage feels strained, I start to fall short on commitments, and the quality of my work decreases. It's no way to live.
This year instead of bogging yourself down with a ton of resolutions that will only put you under more pressure, why not make some “reverse resolutions” (i.e., things you’re NOT going to do)? We all have way too much on our plates and not all of it has a great return on investment. Why not strategically get rid of some of the items on your task list this year instead of piling on more?
Which five things are you doing right now that don’t have a decent enough pay-off for you to keep doing them?
Which things do you need to quit? (FYI: Quitting something unproductive doesn’t make you a quitter. Continuing to do something unproductive is actually a very silly thing to do.)
Don’t worry about how quitting this task will look to others around you. Your primary responsibility is to yourself and your mental health. Chances are that anyone who would judge you is just as over-committed and feels jealous that you had the confidence to stand up for yourself and your quality of life.
This year, do less. Under-commit and enjoy some time off. Make this the year that you get back to enjoying your life instead of constantly feeling like you’re drowning in to-dos.
Natasha Golinsky is the founder of Next Level Nonprofits, an online training company dedicated to helping new Executive Directors learn how to "stop putting out fires" and "start blazing a trail" instead. You can find her on Twitter as @ngolinsky
There's just something about a new year that feels like a fresh start.
So why do we so often spend this fresh start fixating on the things we want to change about ourselves?
New Year's resolutions could be a powerful, inspirational idea.
Instead they usually end up making us feel like this:
This year we'd like to try something new. Instead of making resolutions to change ourselves, we're setting professional intentions for the year ahead. We're calling them #workresolutions.
Have you always wanted to learn HTML? Is it time for you to ask for more responsibility? Are you hoping to work up the courage to ask for a raise? Resolve to make 2014 the year that you do it.
This month we'll be writing and talking about #workresolutions: how to make them, how to keep them, and what we hope to accomplish this year. Most importantly, we want to hear your thoughts and resolutions, so keep an eye on our blog and Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to join the conversation.
As you think about your #workresolutions, here are a few articles to inspire you:
Want to accomplish more? Do something small, every day.
Everyone feels stuck from time to time. Here's how to set goals that will help you bust out of a rut.
Already set your resolution? Here's how behavioral economics can help you stick to it.
What are you hoping to accomplish professionally this year?