By Marshall Brown

It is the beginning of a new year. Resolutions are made. Spring is just around the corner, and with it comes the warmer temperatures and flowers starting to blossom.

And just like a home needs to be cleared to free up space and energy, so, too, does every successful career. It is a great time to be looking ahead at what is next. It is a time to make room for the new opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

So if you want to make your career red-hot, these 10 approaches can clear the space and create the spark.

1. Tough Self-Love
For genuine, lasting career advancement, look in the mirror and ask yourself:

  • Overall, is work enjoyable? Does it provide enough money to enjoy life and save for the future?
  • What is the best way to get on an employer’s or client’s radar and stand out in an overcrowded pack?
  • Is it time to “fire” that troublesome client despite losing the revenue? What is the potential fallout? Is that fallout manageable?
  • Is it time to take a real stand with a colleague, client, or boss, regardless of the consequences?
  • Who do I want and need to be networking with over the next six months?

2. Clean Sweep
A cluttered workspace is a creativity and productivity killer. Clear space equals clear thinking. It also saves time finding things and makes a good impression on clients, colleagues, customers, and the boss. Ten minutes is all it takes.

3. Get Smart
Staying relevant in today’s technology-fueled world requires people to evolve on the fly. Lack of knowledge can be a deal-breaker for some clients, customers, and bosses. Approaching technology and professional development from a position of curiosity instead of education makes it more enjoyable and less like “work.” Ask yourself: What professional development opportunities can I take advantage of over the next six6 months?

4. Do Not Force Yourself to Figure Out Life’s Purpose
And do not let not knowing your life’s purpose prevent you from making smart career moves. This mindset does two things: removes pressure from decision making and supports a flexible approach because you are not constrained by a prearranged plan.

5. Make the Most of Things
There is a big difference between settling and making the most of a situation. Settling encourages stagnation; while accepting added responsibilities for future benefit, for example, is being strategic. This approach challenges the mind and allows for the mastery of new skills, which results in clarity and confidence when making career moves. Challenge yourself: What can I do to be proactive?

6. Take a Vacation
Too much focus can be counterproductive. Whether it is a week in Mexico or a day away from home, a change of pace and scenery is not just fun, it allows the brain to problem solve subconsciously and effortlessly.

7. Sell Yourself
When you are updating a resume or home page, it is best not to “leave things to the imagination.” Using numbers to document performance makes an impression. “Managed a team of six and increased sales by 20%” is more impressive than “Managed a team of six.”

8. It Really Should Have Stayed in Vegas
It is a world where anyone can get the lowdown on anyone. Why sabotage a current or future career? Potential clients and employers frequently use Google to help make hiring decisions. What will they find? Save the racy photos and off-color remarks for “friends only.”

9. Do Something Dangerous
Try public speaking, volunteer to lead a team, write a spontaneous proposal to the boss, or invite a big name to collaborate. Being courageous provides accelerated personal growth, which results in new and unexpected opportunities.

10. R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Finding a respected mentor can supercharge a career. Be selective. Taking bad advice sinks a career just as fast as not taking any advice. Avoiding pitfalls, having a sounding board, and learning from others’ mistakes are just a few benefits an experienced mentor provides.

When it comes to lighting a fire under your career, it is all about making a habit of daily, incremental steps over the long run that lead not merely to a recharged career, but to one that is on fire. Wishing you a rewarding Spring!

MBrownMarshall Brown is a career and executive coach with a passion for encouraging individuals and organizations to reach exceptional levels of performance. He is founder and CEO of Marshall Brown & Associates, an international coaching, training, and leadership development company. His mantra is simple: Get clear, get focused, get ahead. For additional information, visit www.mbrownassociates.com.

Marshall is looking forward to attending this year’s conference again and will be facilitating three complimentary career workshops and providing one-on-one coaching sessions. For additional information, contact robins@ispi.org.