Fresh start in 2016 – time to move beyond wishful thinking

Author:   |   Date: 06/12/2015   |   Categories: Career Development, Making change

We are coming up to that time of year when thoughts start to turn to new year plans and resolutions. Once we get past the presents, turkey and plum pudding, there is much needed space for some new thoughts and ideas to take shape.

If you want to make some change in your working life in 2016, now is the time to start working out a few steps to get you beyond just wishful thinking.

I recently read with great interest that Cindy Hook, the new CEO of Deloitte Australia, took a year to plan for the job selection process for the role she really wanted. In this interview she notes the importance of understanding herself first, knowing her values and keeping focused on the goal ahead.

So even if you cannot change roles right now, you can start to put in place the steps that will take you further towards your goals.

At Albany Lane we have supported many individuals through the process of redesigning and recreating their working lives, including aspiring and accomplished leaders in the arts.

Our programs create the foundations for uncovering those next steps. 

1.       Discover who you are

Spend some time understanding who you are now, not who you may have been in the past.  That means going beyond how you define your personality to understanding your values and motivations. 

Our personalities (ie the team player, the hard worker, the good girl/guy) developed in response to our environment: our parents, schooling and early work roles.  They can limit us to one way of being and one way of working. 

Our values on the other hand are an expression of what we want to create in the world.  They resonate with us on an integral level, and allow us to relate to ourselves, others and the world of work from a different perspective.

Without understanding our values, we are much more reactive to the circumstances of our working lives (that is was it a good day or bad day).  Uncovering our values allows us to be proacctive and choose how we take up the challenge of creating and fulfilling our mission in life.

2.       Work out what you want

Knowing what you want stops us limiting our options to what we think we can or ought to do.  You need to get beyond the limits of established job roles and descriptions.

As we know, many jobs exist today that were never thought of three, five, ten years ago.  So we need to start thinking more in terms of tasks, responsibilities, environments that we want to be part of, not just of the title.

Taking some time to unpack your experience in terms of what you want to do more of and what you want to develop gives you a new perspective on your career plan.  It may also show you steps you can take right now, without changing roles at all.

Most importantly it will show up what you don’t want to do any more, even if you are really good at it.  We all have skills that we have developed, but that does not mean you want to use them every day anymore.  Focusing on your career development is also a great chance to jettison somethings we have grown beyond, even within your current role.

3.       Create a strategy and keep up the momentum

Getting beyond wishful thinking means having a plan and being active. Even if the goal is still hazy, without a few planned steps you cannot help but stay stuck. 

You don’t have to take a giant leap or try to do everything all at once.  In fact, it is often better to start your change strategy from where you are right now, giving yourself the support of a secure foundation.

Start with a few SMART goals – that is small, modest, achievable, realistic tests.  Build your networks, update your social media profile, introduce yourself to a few strangers.  Become more visible and more interested in the people and world around you.

Practice taking risks, small ones, but anything that challenges your comfort zone – at the limit you find acceptable.  Allow yourself to fail, have someone say no or turn you down.  Learn that you can survive and be OK on the other side. 

And above all, practice being compassionate and kind to yourself.  Our motivation for change is more sustainable through self-compassion than self-criticism.  That holds true in the world of career development as any other.  Become your own best friend throughout this process.

New workshop – Creating your next career step – Saturday 13 February, Sydney NSW

Whether you’re an aspiring or accomplished leader, success in the arts takes being strategic, reflective and resourceful. In this high pressure and ever-changing environment, having a road map for your journey will help you stay focused and proactive, regardless of the circumstances within your organisation or the wider industry.

If you’re ready to get on the front foot with your career, join Albany Lane for this one-day workshop and gain the space, clarity and tools that will help you design the next steps in your career in the arts.

For more details and to book one of the limited places go to:


Judith Bowtell of Albany Lane is an executive coach offering workshops, mentoring and coaching to individuals and organisations in the arts. Her background includes more than 20 years’ experience in arts strategy and policy, in funding and cultural agencies, as well as leading small arts organisations. 

Contact us if you want to find that strategic space in your working life.


If you would like to discuss coaching options with Albany Lane, please send an enquiry.


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