What I’m Looking for More of in 2013

I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. The vast majority of New Year’s resolutions are thrown out the window by mid-January. There’s very little accountability attached to something that people just assume you’re not going to keep.

I am, however a big fan of self-improvement and accountability. One of the problems I’ve always had New Year’s resolutions is that the only person who knows about them is the person who makes them.

So that’s where this post comes in. I can’t think of anything that would make me be more accountable for something than to put it out there for the world to read. Plus, I’ve already created a draft for December 2013 entitled “How did I do with my 2013 Goals?” to add more accountability. The last thing I want to do is write a post about NOT accomplishing my goals.dart

So, here are four simple things I plan to do more of in 2013.

Read More

This one’s pretty easy and straightforward. I enjoy reading very much, so this shouldn’t be difficult. And yet, the fact that I say I want to read more obviously implies I don’t feel I’m reading enough today.

My problem with reading is that it’s usually something I do when everything else is done. And really, when was the last time you could honestly say that everything that you could be doing was actually done?

Bottom line, I need to add reading to my list of things that need to be done, instead of leaving it as something I can do after everything else is done.

Write More

I enjoy writing. Again, if it’s something I enjoy doing more of it shouldn’t be a problem.

As much as I enjoy writing, it can also be very challenging. I’ve narrowed down what the problem sometimes is: I enjoy writing, in the present, active sense of the word. When writing is flowing, it’s incredibly rewarding, and hardly even feels like work. What I enjoy less, and sometimes struggle with, is the ‘start’ writing part. Building writing momentum and getting into that ‘writing zone’ can be difficult.

The only thing that’s going to make that easier is doing more of it.

Do More

Now we start getting to the meat of it. There are a lot of people who talk about doing a lot of things. There are dramatically fewer people that actually DO what it is they talk about doing.

I’m lucky enough to attend a decent amount of industry conferences, so I hear a LOT of talking about how things should be done. What I don’t see are a great deal of examples of the work we should be doing actually taking place.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the give-and-take of working as a learning and performance professional. We’re always battling the triple constraint of Time, Cost, and Quality. Usually the Utopian view of how things should be done gets chopped, shaved, and whittled down to what can be done when you factor in constraints like resources and organizational culture.

We may want to do more, and produce better learning experiences, but we have to work within the culture, and try to gradually move the needle closer to the way things should be done.

I get that. It’s just not enough for me in 2013.

I’m lucky enough to be able to be working at an organization that I enjoy coming to every day, and feel proud about the work that we do. I’m also very comfortable with adapting how things should be done to how things can be done in the org today, knowing we’re gradually moving the needle in the right direction. My desire to do more isn’t about being unhappy at my day job.

I hear a lot of talk from people, including myself, about the type of work we should be doing. We adapt the way it should be done to the way it can be done within an organization. Sacrifices are made; that’s just the way things work in organizational learning.

But the fact is, until there are more examples of the way it should be done actually being done, with examples of the benefits reached by doing things differently, our industry will continue this cycle of doing what we’ve always done.

So when I say “Do More”, I’m really talking about opportunities to “Do Better”. I’m looking to get involved in projects both inside my organization and outside my organization that provide an opportunity to produce more examples of the needle being moved.

That brings me to my last goal.

Help More

One of the things I value most about the work that I do is being able to see people perform better at their work based on the support resources I have helped provide. It’s very satisfying to know that I’ve helped.

I also enjoy helping out others in our field. I’ve been privileged to give back to the field via writing, volunteering for industry groups, speaking at conferences, and helping out colleagues on request. It’s great to give back to the field that’s given me so much.

In 2013, I’d like to extend my outreach help more.

Part of helping more is simply doing more of what I’ve already been doing to give back to my field and organization. Part of it is looking for new ways to help.

There are plenty of opportunities to use our skills as learning and performance professionals outside of our day job. Last year I started getting more involved in my local school district, helping them better connect with parents and the community via technology. That’s just one example. I know of quite a few people involved in rewarding side projects. Good work for a good cause – it doesn’t get more rewarding than that. I’m hoping to do more of that myself.

So that’s what I’m looking forward to in 2013: Read More, Write More, Do More, and Help More. I hope that you can find ways to incorporate Do More and Help More into your goals are for the new year.

Happy New Year everyone. Let’s get to work.