Opinion by Mike Richman
For many of us, January is a time for taking stock and charting a course of professional growth. The start of a new year naturally leads to thoughts of doing away with old assumptions and examining options for doing things differently. If you think of this coming year as a journey of exploration, my question is: Where will you go in 2020? I don’t mean that literally, of course. As happy as I might be to hear of your fun adventuring to Miami or Abu Dhabi or Macau or Vienna, what I really want to know about are the chosen destinations of your interior journeys—to the places that makes you better, however you choose to define that term.
Think carefully of your answer, because although the choices may seem limitless, in fact even a span of time as long as a year is quite limited, indeed. As it happens, 2020 is a leap year, so we have 8,784 hours of time to play with (a little less since you’re reading this more than a week into the year). Assume eight hours daily for sleep and another three for preparing and eating meals. Subtract two hours a day for personal time like exercise, errands, and grooming tasks. Already we’re down to 4,026 hours.
You probably have a full-time job, so let’s generously assume that’s just 40 hours per week, or 2,000 hours a year excluding vacations. Speaking of which, you should actually travel to places like those mentioned above… that’s two full weeks of nothing but R&R, a total of 336 hours. That takes us to 1,690 hours.
But wait! You have friends and families, right? Religious affiliations and sports that you play or follow? “Dock” yourself another 12 hours a week for time devoted to those activities during the 50 weeks you’re not on vacation.
I’m sure there are things I’m forgetting, but even this back-of-the-envelope scheduler reveals that we really only have about 1,000 hours a year… approximately 20 hours per week… to devote to extracurricular growth opportunities that are just for you.
So now, with this as background, let me ask again: Where will you go in 2020?
Fortunately, however you choose to answer, it’s likely that you can easily access the support you need to achieve real and lasting growth. Online courses allow you to learn through a variety of content modules… text, charts, infographics, video, and audio. The topical areas for professional development run the gamut from social media marketing to business administration to project management to, of course, certified management system auditor training for a wide variety of standards and schemes. That’s just scratching the surface—there’s literally something for everyone who wants to improve their professional outlook this year.
As renowned Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck’s work has revealed, human beings generally fall into one or two clearly defined mindsets—either “fixed” or “growth.” Those with a fixed mindset generally believe that success or failure in life comes from one’s innate abilities; those with a growth mindset find that perseverance, rather than natural talent, is the key to a real sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.
From that perspective, tackling new opportunities and overcoming the obstacles that arise presents not only a chance to advance in your career, but also to learn something new, to stretch your critical-thinking skills, and to grow into a more perceptive, not to mention fulfilled, person. Think of it as challenging yourself to grow, to struggle, and to change. The more you do it, the less scary it becomes.
Happy New Year one and all! I wish you meaningful journeys this year, both external and internal.
About the author
Mike Richman is the principal of Richman Business Media Consulting, a marketing and public relations company working with clients in the worlds of manufacturing, consumer products, politics, and education. Richman also hosts the web television program NorCal News Now, which focuses on social, economic, and political issues in California. He is a contributor to (and former publisher of) Quality Digest