Soaring to success in 2021

The start of a new year is a great time to reassess where you are in life, your career or business – decide what you want to achieve and put some strategies in place to work towards achieving even your most ambitious goals.

The start of this new year is a little unusual as for many of us, 2020 was a challenging year. The hopes and dreams we had for 2020 may not, in many cases, have come to fruition as planned, whether they were related to your business, your career or personal in nature, were put on the back burner. So let’s look at how to ensure that 2021 is the year to get things back on track and achieve what you are aiming for. 

Let’s start with the fundamentals, it’s impossible to get to where you are going, if you don’t know the destination and challenging to make the journey without a road map of how to get there. 

Identify your goals

This involves some soul searching. What do you want for yourself personally and professionally? What are your priorities? Do you want to climb the corporate ladder and set your sights on that senior management position, or spend more time with loved ones? Have you got an idea for a new business or are you wanting to take your existing business to the next level? 

Make sure you are specific about what you want and don’t be afraid to aim high. Studies show that specific and challenging goals lead to higher performance than “do your best” type of goals.i

Once you’ve identified your goals – jot them down. People who write down their goals, have been found to be 33 percent more successful in achieving them.ii There is something very powerful about the written word. 

An incremental approach

Once you’ve got an idea of what you want, it’s time to devise some strategies to achieve them. It’s important to dream big but sometimes big dreams can seem intimidating. The way to make a big task less intimidating is to break it into smaller tasks and approach it incrementally. What do you need to do to set yourself up for that management role? Do you need to go back to study? Start taking on more responsibilities at work? 

Set up your plan with things you need to do which will act like a series of stepping stones leading to your destination. 

Allocate time and resources

The next part of your strategy is to think about what you need to have in place to support each incremental step in your plan. Do you need to set aside time on a daily basis, each week or every month? Do you need financial support or a loan? How will you access that support? 

You don’t have to go it alone – think about whether you can get some external assistance in the form of a mentor or just someone you can use as a sounding board. If you are running a business there may be government support packages you can access or external consultants you can engage to help you on your way. 

Staying the course

It takes discipline to stay on target when there are so many distractions along the way. Make sure that your strategy has some review points at particular times or when you have completed the tasks you have set yourself so that you can celebrate your wins and recalibrate the plan if necessary. 

If 2020 showed us anything, it was that the best laid plans can and will change and be subject to circumstances beyond our control, so it’s important to have some contingencies in place. Even more importantly, be agile in your approach so that you can adjust and refine the plan as needed. 

Having a strategy and a methodology to implement your strategy will give you the best chance of reaching your goals in 2021 and beyond. Add in a dash of determination and self-belief and you’ll be flying high on your way to the success you’ve dreamed of. 

https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1981-27276-001 

ii https://scholar.dominican.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1265&context=news-releases

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 or RGM Finance Brokers Pty Ltd ABN 81 330 778 236 (RGM) that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Working together to combat burnout

If both your first and last task of the day is to check your emails, you’re not alone. Contemporary work culture, spurred on by advances in technology, has meant that we are expected to always be “on”. Gone are the days of the 9-5. Many of us work at all hours, possibly even holding down side gigs, and that’s before we take into account the labour we perform in other areas of our lives.

You may then have felt some sense of vindication, when earlier this year, the World Health Organisation listed burnout as an “occupational syndrome” on its revised International Classification of Diseases.i?Burnout is not a new phenomenon, but it has become increasingly pervasive in the last 20 years. A hallmark, or a symptom of modern life?

The WHO classifies burnout as “chronic workplace stress” that “should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life”.i This is a useful description, for burnout forms and ferments in contemporary workplaces. But as anyone who’s suffered from it can tell you, its impact can be felt in all areas of your life.

A millennial issue?

There has been much media noise about burnout being a millennial problem. Critics have derided the term as another talking point of a lazy, entitled generation, while those in the throes of it, see it as the consequence of working more unstable hours, and earning lower wages than their parents.

A battle of the generations helps no one however. Burnout can just as easily be felt by a student working two bar jobs, a single mother nursing ad-hoc agency shifts, and an older business owner, trying to sure up their nest egg. Workplace stress can affect people at any age and in any profession.

Recognising the signs

Burnout looks different in everybody. It might be that feeling of not being able to get out of bed in the morning, or the inability to complete simple tasks, a phenomenon journalist Anne Helen Petersen calls “errand paralysis”.ii Bills go unpaid, important emails unanswered – while the endless charade of busyness continues. For others it’s harder to identify. The sensation of constantly running on empty, a feeling of unshakeable fogginess or an irrational and unceasing cynicism. Burnout is at once amorphous and yet universally relatable. A catch-all for our workplace exhaustion and ennui.

Lighting the fire

As individuals, there are many tools we can use to avoid burnout and make your workplace duties more manageable. Taking a frank look at your schedule; delegating certain tasks and deleting anything that is not essential is a good place to start.

You might also need a little “me time” to break up the daily grind. Give yourself permission to do the small things that help you to unwind. This might mean a walk out in nature, a catch up with friends or even a quiet day at home with the family.

Intersecting stressors

The other important thing to remember is that workplace stress can be compounded when it intersects with other stressors in your life. You might usually be able to handle your busy work life but combined with additional family responsibilities or financial pressures, the finely balanced juggle can become too much to bear.

In these situations, it pays to be honest. The most radical act of self-care is admitting to a colleague or supervisor that you’re struggling. Only then can you work together to find a solution.

Compassion and community

Christina Maslach, an academic in the field, lists breakdown of community as one of the main causes of burnout.iii A problem we can’t combat alone. Perhaps then, one of the simplest ways to address it, is to make our own small contribution towards fostering compassionate workplaces. Everyone’s capacity is different. So, check in on your colleagues. Ask if they’re ok. Offer them a hand if they’re feeling overwhelmed and dish out praise generously when they’ve achieved a goal. People need to feel valued, and when you approach your work in this spirit, it will come back at you tenfold.

We don’t need to wear exhaustion as a badge of honour. If you’re feeling like you’re running on empty, be kind to yourself. And if you can, open up about how you’re feeling. By working together we can all help minimise the impact of burnout.

i https://www.who.int/mental_health/evidence/burn-out/en/

ii https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/annehelenpetersen/millennials-burnout-generation-debt-work

iii https://newrepublic.com/article/152872/millennials-dont-monopoly-burnout

Material contained in this publication is a summary only and is based on information believed to be reliable and received from sources within the market. It is not the intention of RGM Financial Planners Pty Ltd ABN 36 419 582 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 229471, RGM Accountants & Advisors Pty Ltd ABN 69 528 723 510 or RGM Finance Brokers Pty Ltd ABN 81 330 778 236 (RGM) that this publication be used as the primary source of readers’ information but as an adjunct to their own resources and training. No representation is given, warranty made or responsibility taken as to the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information or recommendation contained in this publication and RGM and its related bodies corporate will not be liable to the reader in contract or tort (including for negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage arising as a result of the reader relying on any such information or recommendation (except in so far as any statutory liability cannot be excluded).

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.