It’s almost the end of the year. People are winding up work before they go off on holidays, looking forward to meeting family and friends, taking a vacation or just enjoying some well-deserved time off. In these last few weeks, the focus has been on closing projects and putting a pin, until next year, on everything that is not necessary. Work is slowing down, allowing you to take a breath and relax.
Give yourself a pat on the back for making it through an entire year. This year like any other, was full of challenges and adventures. There were ups, and there were downs. There were highs, and there were lows. There were achievements to celebrate and mistakes to learn from.
Did you start 2022 with a set of goals?
Land your dream job, go to grad school, and buy a new car.
Did you achieve the goals you set out with?
If you didn’t land your dream job but could figure out the field you want to pursue, you win.
You win if you got into your dream school but couldn’t go for lack of funding.
If you couldn’t buy a new car but could save some percentage of the total amount, you win.
You win because you put in the effort. You win because you made the best of your circumstances. You win because you’re still standing even though you’re not exactly where you expected to be.
While it is important to set quantifiable and tangible goals, it is equally important to recognize, acknowledge and honour the hard work that goes into achieving those goals. Because that is the only thing under your control. The final outcome is dependent on many external variables, increasingly so in an ever-changing world. So when you sit and think about the year you have had, be kind to yourself. Try to focus on the learnings you have had.
Below are my top takeaways from this year. I hope these learnings inspire you to look at your year positively.
- Learning to pivot is the best way to succeed in this world — we plan, and more often than not, things don’t go the way we expect them to. While a certain period is required to come to terms with this deviation, adapting and finding a new point of focus are the only things that keep us moving forward.
- A mindset shift that enables us to view failures as opportunities for learning can do wonders for our career growth and our mental well-being. Failures often make us extremely critical of ourselves but changing our perspective and viewing these as opportunities for learning and growth can remove self-doubt and help us improve ourselves.
- Prioritize your well-being — in an increasingly connected world where people boast about their 14-hour work days, quick promotions and achievements, most of us have felt like we’re not doing enough at one point or another. We all are guilty of feeling like we need to be productive at all times, even on our off days. While I strongly believe in putting in the hours and effort that you’re getting paid for, overdoing it can be detrimental to your physical and mental health. I’m a staunch supporter of maintaining a work-life balance. If you don’t take a break, your body will take it for you. A job, at the end of the day, is just a job. To find the right balance for you so that it is sustainable and healthy.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things. We, humans, are creatures of habit, mostly content in our comfort zones, sticking to things that we know best. When on unfamiliar ground, we are afraid of failure. But if you never try, you never know. Even if you are unable to succeed, you will have learned from the experience, and this will serve to upskill you.
- Seek out what you want. Make your own way. Create your own opportunities. If there is something that you’re passionate about, you need to put in the effort to achieve it. Reach out to experts, apply for the positions and, follow up, volunteer, take courses to get the required skills. Don’t undercut yourself and self-reject. Many times our internal dialogue prevents us from transforming our aspirations into actions. Once you have identified a destination, map your way to it. Don’t forget to stop along the way and enjoy the journey.
- Help others. It may be by replying to a message on LinkedIn from someone aspiring to be in a role similar to yours or setting up a 15 minutes discussion with a fresh graduate looking to enter the job market, or volunteering to mentor someone on a regular basis. These small acts of service not only benefit the person on the receiving end but also serve as a reset button for you. By channelling positivity and sharing personal experiences in these interactions, you are reminded of how far you’ve come and how far you can go.
This blog contribution was made by Aleena Ahmad.
Aleena is a graduate of Electrical Engineering and currently working as a Market Analyst. She loves to read books, is obsessed with political non-fiction, finds baking therapeutic, and likes to start her day with yoga. Aleena believes writing is the best way to articulate one’s thoughts and start a conversation. She feels passionate about women empowerment initiatives and always looks for opportunities to contribute.
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