Milestones, Meh. Connect More.

It’s funny the way we mark milestones. There are just certain numbers that warrant reflection upon their passing.

In a few weeks I’ll be turning 35, and last Friday was the 10 year anniversary of my undergraduate degree. It’s also the end of the year, a time that almost requires thinking things over.

That's me. 10 years ago. Oy!
That’s me. 10 years ago. Oy!

It’s unbelievable what has changed since I wrapped up my undergraduate career. I truly had no idea what I was doing, or where I was going back then. 10 years ago, HR was the department down the hall that I generally disagreed with (sometimes, just for fun). At the time I couldn’t articulate a human resource law or strategy if I had to!

The truth is that there is just no way I could have guessed where I’d be in 10 years.

If my 34 year old self could tell my 24 year old self that in the coming years I would be go back to school, get my MBA, get in to HR, get certified both with my PHR and later my SPHR, become president of SAHRMA, lobby members of congress on capitol hill, run a marathon, and have the opportunity to see the likes of Hillary Clinton, Malcolm Gladwell, Dan Pink, Tom Brokaw, Gabriel Giffords speak in person I would have laughed myself out of the room!

And that’s not even half the story. In my case, it was absolutely true that I couldn’t perceive where I’d be in the future.

Even as we assign value to certain personal milestones, we can’t ignore the one that comes up each and every year. The holidays, and the start of a new year are milestones for practically everyone.

This is when we reflect. Sometimes that reflection is hopeful, sometimes it’s stressful, and still others it’s haunting. What if I chose this instead of that? What if I hadn’t taken this job over that one? What if tomorrow is worse than today?

What if we stopped worrying about it so much?

If it’s true that we can’t predict where we’ll be in 10 years, then it’s probably best if we focused on what we can control right? “Chance favors the connected mind”. So let’s improve our chances by getting more connected to the things that matter most. Here are 5 ways we can do just that:

Say YES more often.

You never know where that next volunteer opportunity, that next networking event, or that next connection might take you. Don’t over think it. Get in there and see where it takes you. If you don’t like it you can always stop doing it, but only after you give it a fair shot.

GIVE more.

If you’ve got a heaping pile of experience and knowledge share it with someone. If you’ve got time on your hands dedicate it to something that is important to you (friends, family, charitable causes). It’s time well spent no matter the season.

READ read read!

Make time to read what people are saying in your industry. And by people, I mean the actual humans who are doing the work or are pushing your industry in a new direction. If you’re in HR (or want to be), then there are TONS of blogs out there that will help you do this. Be smarter in 2014!

Learn something NEW.

Yep, in addition to reading you should make time to add skills to your repertoire on a regular basis. Learn to code, learn how to manage projects, learn how to work with data, learn how to do SOMETHING that will differentiate you from the hordes of people in your industry with the same education and mindset.

FOCUS on one or two big things at a time.

Don’t overdo it with your big goals, at least that’s part of the advice given in the 4 Disciplines of Execution. We need to stop trying to do so much so that we can focus on the “wildly important”. Set 1 -2 big goals and work hard at them. When we do that we’ll actually get more done, and everyone wants that right?


That’s it! This is my last ‘real post’ for 2013.

Over the next few weeks I’ll post a few videos and helpful items for starting the New Year off right. Enjoy your holiday, ring in the New Year with enthusiasm, and let’s get this thing rolling again in 2014!

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