5 Ways to Level Up Your Career in the New Year

Linda Taliaferro

As a new year approaches, there is a tendency to reflect on the one that’s ending. In our careers, especially, we look back on what worked well and what didn’t, and consider the roles we wished we’d taken on like stepping out of our comfort zone to lead that new project. Getting a perspective is great, but what’s most important is what you do with that knowledge. I suggest a shift. Look toward the new year and decide that you are going to take that newfound wisdom and leverage it. It’s time to not only look forward but move forward and level up your career! Here’s how:

1. Know and Walk in Your Worthiness

This is No. 1 because it is foundational to your corporate ladder climb. You got the degree that shows you understand the theory, yet you still think it’s not enough. Rather than walking in your worthiness, you walk in fear of failure. This is known as imposter syndrome. Shift your paradigm. Rewrite the narrative. How? Give yourself grace. Allow yourself to learn from any failures or mistakes that occur. Imposter syndrome is very common, so share your thoughts and feelings with others. When that feeling of inadequacy starts to creep in, replace the negative self-talk with reframed thoughts. Allow yourself to believe that you deserve the seat at the table – then sit down.

2. It’s EQ not IQ that Matters – Raise Your EQ

Simply being good at what you do – your career IQ – has become the price of entry. But it’s your EQ, or emotional intelligence, that will move the needle. EQ is comprised of two categories: personal competence and social competence. Personal competence relates to how self-aware you are and how well you self-manage. Social competence deals with your level of social and relationship awareness. How well are you connected to what you see and what you do with yourself and with others? Your EQ can make or break your career growth.

3. Establish Your Unique Persona – Your Brand

When deciding on what to focus on while climbing the corporate ladder, it is very common for you to choose to sharpen your skills. Master being good at what you do and become excellent in doing. One of the reasons why you are not taking that step upward is because you may not be focusing on being! Establishing your brand shows your strength, builds trust, establishes your reputation and highlights your attributes. It’s the creditability and respect you have established throughout the organization, and it evolves as your career grows.

4. Build Key Relationships

When starting a career or a new role within a company, or if you are working on a career shift, having relationships with key stakeholders is critical to your overall success. First, you have to get comfortable with the lay of the land – the culture. The best way to do this is to know who’s who: the influencers, the changemakers, the connected ones. The best way to create your network is by being intentional. Schedule meetings to introduce yourself and your ideas, and continue to create opportunities for face time in order to cultivate the relationship. This process takes time to evolve and develop, but it is time extremely well spent.


5. Get a Mentor

It is from these key relationships mentioned in the previous step that advocates and supporters are established. There is one type of relationship that is invaluable and a must-have when working to level up: a mentor. A mentor will give you valuable insight, which may, at times, only be available to a chosen few. They are your confidants and a trusted resource. They remove roadblocks and eliminate or help you to avoid landmines. They truly have your best interests at heart, willing to share their learned lessons, expertise and the secret sauce to their success. They will open doors, support your initiatives and show up for you at critical times, assisting in propelling you forward and upward.

For more information on Linda Taliaferro, visit lindataliaferro.com.

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