Just because non-retail business seems to slow down dramatically during the holiday season does not mean you should stop building your personal brand. Everything you do during the holidays can advance or hinder your career path. So why not take a few success tips and put them into practice over the next month.
Thinking you can back off from being the ultimate professional during the holidays is a big mistake.
In reality, the holidays are the perfect time to show how serious you are about your career. What you do this holiday season might just improve your chances of getting that much-wanted promotion later in the year.
Here are the top 10 success tips for this holiday season:
Holiday Success Tip 1: Stop networking
Yes, you read that correctly. Stop networking over the holidays..and every other period of the year.
Networking is an over-used and often misunderstood term. Most people think of networking simply as meeting as many people as possible. What good is that to your career?
Instead of networking, build and foster relationships.
When you meet someone new, don’t think of what she can do for you. Instead, focus on building a friendship and find ways to provide value to her.
Holiday Success Tip 2: Send personalized notes
A blast email to all of the contacts in your address book won’t do much to help your credibility as a trusted advisor or a friend. Instead, send personalized notes to each person.
Granted, this will take more time but each note will be better received. If you have the time and the funds, send a hand-written note instead of an email. While it’s accepted these days to send emails, a hand-written personal note shows you really care for the relationship.
Holiday Success Tip 3: Protect your personal brand
How many times have you had the following conversation after the company holiday party?
“What happened at the party on Saturday? Did anyone make a fool of himself?”
It happens all the time.
Certain people attend a holiday party and end up being the center of negative attention. They drink too much, say too much and commit some CLMs. A CLM for the uninitiated is a Career Limiting Move.
Instead of drinking too much, don’t drink at all. Be cognizant of your hard work in the past and your desire for promotion in the future. Remember that personal brand you’ve been establishing since day one on the job. Don’t jeopardize it by being “That Guy” at the holiday party.
Holiday Success Tip 4: Follow-up
Chances are that you will meet several new people throughout the holidays. You’ll attend family and work parties and maybe even a client holiday party or two. You’ll even meet new people when you and your family volunteer during the holidays.
Regardless of where you meet someone, if you forged a relationship (see Holiday Career Tip 1 above), no matter how small, follow-up with that person after the New Year. You might be surprised where friendships can blossom from and business can be conducted.
Holiday Success Tip 5: Catch up at work
The holiday season is a slow time of year for many professionals. That doesn’t mean that work won’t keep coming.
Use the slow time of the year to catch up on tasks or projects you’ve been putting off. Starting the new year with a clean slate will help your confidence, efficiency and effectiveness.
I’m in public accounting so I know the importance of this. Due to working in the financial services niche, our “busy season” begins January 2. Starting the year caught up is mandatory because if I start out behind, I will get stressed quickly.
Holiday Success Tip 6: Support those who support you
I learned long ago the importance of being kind to our support staff. Administrative personnel can make or break you success at work. They make sure things run smoothly and you get reports when you need them.
Just because they are not “professional personnel” does not mean they are not professionals. They are. Treat them as such.
Take every opportunity to praise them one-on-one and in public. Say “thank you” often. Even give them Christmas presents.
They deserve your support since they support you.
Holiday Success Tip 7: Remember your co-workers and employees
As an employee, you probably focus on giving attention to your boss. That’s fine but your boss is not the most important. Everyone with whom you work is most important (see also Holiday Success Tip 6 above).
Ask your employees and co-workers about their holidays. Show them you really care by showing you care for their families.
You work as a team, even if you think you work alone. Your team, consisting of your peers, subordinates and boss, all want to feel wanted. You can help them feel that way.
Holiday Success Tip 8: Volunteer
My family does not have a tradition of volunteering specifically for the holidays but my wife and I discuss it often. We want to show our children how we should treat other people. We’re not rich by any stretch of the imagination so the best way for us to help others is with our time.
Do you take time to volunteer?
It doesn’t have to be a food shelter or some other event you traditionally think about at the holidays. You can volunteer at church, at school or even help out an individual.
It’s best when no one knows. You shouldn’t volunteer so other people can see you. You should volunteer because you have a soft and servant’s heart.
Every time you volunteer, however, it will impact your career. You’ll feel better about what you have and who you are. You’ll work with greater focus. All of that will help you advance in your career.
Holiday Success Tip 9: Don’t be a Grinch
It’s the holiday season, which is the time of year my children start referring to me as The Grinch. Most of my co-workers, clients and family know that I’m The Grinch.
They refer to me as The Grinch because I really dislike holiday decorations (yes, for any holiday), Christmas music and snow. I’m not sure exactly why I don’t like these three staples of the holiday season but I don’t.
Let me clear up on thing though. I’m not a Grinch about the holidays, just those three things. I believe in the spirit of the holidays, the time to spend with family and friends. I enjoy giving more than receiving.
Watching my children smile while putting up the Christmas tree just earlier today made my heart happy.
The cold weather and watching others spend time with loving family can often make certain people act like The Grinch. Don’t be like that.
Appreciate what you have and help others see the joy in the season. If you have to be The Grinch, do it jokingly…like me.
Holiday Success Tip 10: Take time off
The most successful people do not work 80 hours a week without taking vacations. They take care of themselves first.
To be successful, take time off. It’s counterintuitive I know but you need to do it.
You need time to recharge each year. Take your vacation time and enjoy the holidays you are given. You won’t regret it.
The Most Important of Holiday Success Tips
I hope you take the time this holiday season to be thankful for everything you have and everyone you are blessed to know. Career success is important because it will help you be the best you. However, it should not trump the feeling of love and gratitude at the heart of this time of year.
I’m so thankful for you! You reading this encourages me to continue providing articles on a weekly basis.
Question for you: What/who are you grateful for this holiday season?