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Lynne Curry: 2014 could be the year to reset yourself at work

Lynne Curry

Is it time you pushed the reset button on your job?

Thomas Edison did. When a fire in 1914 destroyed his laboratory, the 67-year-old Edison looked up from the ruins and told his grieving son, "All of our mistakes are burned up, thank God. We can start anew." Three weeks later Edison delivered his first phonograph.

If 2013 brought career difficulties and you'd like to close it out and move on, or if 2013 was great and you'd like even better results in 2014, consider the following reset strategies.

You have more potential than you know.

Don't place limits on yourself. When student George Dantzig arrived late for his class he saw three mathematics equations on the board. Thinking them homework, he took the problems home and solved them, not realizing renowned mathematicians considered them insolvable. What if he'd been told Einstein had tackled them with no success? Would he have tried?

What could you do if you went full out in 2014? Could you turn things around with a manager or employee who doesn't give you the respect you deserve? Can you return to school through an online university and gain the degree you lack -- despite a concern you're "too old" for a degree to matter? If you redouble your efforts, might the results you attain grab corporate's attention so you can leap past your supervisor on the organization chart?

Don't self-defeat.

Football historians love to recount how Notre Dame's Fighting Irish beat the undefeated USC Trojans 80 years ago. Coach Knute Rockne recruited more than a dozen 300-pounders and dressed them in Notre Dame uniforms. These recruits led his team onto the field and glowered at the Trojans from the sidelines. Many say Rockne's psyche-out strategy caused the Trojans to lose the game before they started.

What about you? Do you focus on problems and what handicaps you? Or do you consider obstacles temporary and stay centered in your own strength and talents?

Clear the deck.

You can't move quickly dragging sludge. Whether you want to turn around a problem career or excel, you need to abandon bad habits. Do you arrive at work late, sneak personal cellphone calls and texts or leave early when your boss isn't watching? Knock it off. Do you avoid conflict, letting problems fester until they're unresolvable -- even when you know that doesn't work? Do you hold grudges against employees you supervise because they think you could do a better job as a supervisor? Maybe they're right -- take action. What habits or attitudes do you need to shed? At a minimum, vow to make new mistakes rather than repeating last year's.

See the world through eyes of belief.

If you put your hand in front of your face, you block out the sun. What self-defeating blockages do you carry with you? Do you let doubts, regrets or procrastination lame you? Or do you poison yourself with something worse -- a negative "I don't like my current job so it doesn't matter" attitude that flash-freezes forward-moving energy.

Take action.

Dreams materialize when we take action. Do you let goals drift away? Or hesitate to set goals because you didn't achieve last year's? Once you've set your course, assess what got in your way last year after you set goals and decide what you'll do differently. Vow to make new mistakes rather than repeating last year's.

Then select your first step and take it. You can stall or you can start. The choice is yours. The new year gives you a reset opportunity. Take it.

Dr. Lynne Curry is a management/employee trainer and owner of the consulting firm The Growth Company Inc. Send your questions to her at lynne@thegrowthcompany.com. You can follow Lynne on Twitter @lynnecurry10 or through www.workplacecoachblog.com


Lynne Curry
THE WORKPLACE