Give Yourself These Holiday Career Gifts

Designing your career destiny takes courage, commitment and these four steps.

by Caroline Dowd-Higgins • Member { View Profile }
Caroline Dowd-Higgins authored the book "This Is Not the Career I Ordered" and maintains the career reinvention blog of the same name (

Holiday shopping is in full swing right now as the masses brave the retail frenzy to find the perfect gifts. In the spirit of giving, be sure to include yourself on your holiday wish list because you deserve special consideration this season. If you have been job searching or career reinventing this year, you have been working very hard to make changes in your life for the better. Chances are you also have ridden the emotional rollercoaster of success and disappointment. Remind yourself — it’s not the destination but the journey.

Designing your career destiny takes courage, strength, and commitment. As you look to celebrate all that you’ve accomplished in 2012, consider the following gifts to yourself that cost nothing but are truly priceless.

1. Permission

By giving yourself permission to make changes, asking for what you want, and defining success on your own terms, you have taken the power you deserve to do great things. It all starts with using the tools that you need to succeed. Permitting yourself to do what you need to move forward paves the road and allows others to commit to your success. By giving yourself permission to use your power helps you to operate from a position of strength. Give yourself permission to:

· Ask for what you need in your workplace to make you more successful.

· Pursue professional development opportunities to keep your skills sharp and competitive so you can grow your career as you wish.

· Say “NO” every now and again so you can prioritize yourself at work and home more than you do right now.

· Give up the guilt when considering what you really need to be gratified.

2. Self-Confidence

Self-efficacy is a gift that you must give yourself since it can’t come from any other source. While you can start with affirmations and positive thinking, self-confidence is truly realized when you set and accomplish goals. Start with baby steps and take stock of where you have been in addition to where you want to go. Look back at this year and make a list of all the things you have accomplished — great and small. It’s important to celebrate your achievements as this gives you energy to pursue new goals.

Not only is self-confidence good for you — it’s good for those around you like your family, friends, and colleagues. Confidence is infectious and an employable characteristic that resonates in the workplace. You deserve to enjoy your self-confidence because you earned it. Unleash your self-confidence by:

· Applying for that very appealing new job even if you don’t have every single qualification listed in the job description.

· Negotiating your raise from a position of strength.

· Asking for help when you need it. Confident people are not afraid to seek assistance.

· Walking tall, being decisive, and making eye contact with those in your world.

3. Play to Your Strengths

Strengths are skills and competencies you enjoy using so much that they give you energy. As you look to the New Year, promise yourself that you will play to your strengths 80% of the time in your personal and professional world. Life is too short to be focusing on tasks that deplete your energy. Minimize your weaknesses because you are not broken and spend your precious time sharpening your strengths.

Playing to your strengths will reduce your stress and ramp up your work and life satisfaction immeasurably. You have a lot more control utilizing your strengths than you believe so consider this a gift of professional wellness and personal gratification. Showcase your strengths by:

· Delegating work tasks not in your wheelhouse to others who will relish a new opportunity to shine.

· Designing a new job description that focuses on what you do really well that is of value to your organization.

· Volunteering for new projects that honor what you do well so you can manage up and show your boss that you are ready for new challenges.

4. Dream Big

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