This year I’m trying something new. Instead of trying to make personal resolutions for the new year, I’m making some professional ones. This list was developed based on reflection of what has helped Upwords continue to grow year over year for nearly a decade (yes – it’s a milestone year for us!). These four principles have helped shape Upwords and we plan to bring these into 2018 and beyond.
- Both personally and professionally we grow when we get outside of our comfort zone. If we are not constantly improving and exploring, we are not just stagnating but actually moving backwards. Those around us will undoubtedly be moving in new directions, eventually leaving us behind. Upwords ventured into some new (and sometimes scary) territories this year, which we have learned immensely from. Pushing boundaries doesn’t have to mean changing how we do business. It can be as simple as asking the questions that you might be afraid to ask.
Learn something new:
- Younger generations will be training for jobs that don’t exist today. We can’t expect to continue to push boundaries (Resolution #1) without constantly seeking out and learning new things. This learning can be formal, through reading, training and education. It can also be informal by recognizing that every person we interact with can teach us something. Every client, business partner, supplier and even every participant in our qualitative research studies can help us see something in a different way.
- We learn so much more when we share our ideas and knowledge with others. New doors open from collaborative conversations and relationships. We often see that giant leaps forward are made when learnings from different disciplines come together. This year alone Upwords has seen impressive growth. This has been in part thanks to our highly collaborative philosophy. These collaborations keep us on our toes and more often, help us learn new things (Resolution #2) and push us into new and interesting places (Resolution #1).
- While learning and growing professionally is important we all need to find balance in our personal, physical and spiritual lives as well. We not only need to do this for ourselves but also encourage those working with and for us to do the same. Everyone has a personal struggle. Within our relatively small Upwords team, in 2017 we’ve dealt with a LOT! Two team members moved to new cities, aging and/or death of parents, tragic deaths within extended families, a pet that was hit by a car (but survived!) and sick children, when we as parents had absolutely no time for sickness. It was critical for us to be able to lean in and support each other during these times. I’m still working on trying to carve out a bit more personal ‘me’ time (yes, I have been trying this for almost a decade). The difference is now, we’ve written it into our business plan now so that culturally, we’re encouraging this together.
For those of you who know me or my team members, please feel free to hold us accountable to our resolutions! Help the Upwords team by pushing and challenging our thinking, teaching us, collaborating with us and understanding that while we work hard and often on incredibly tight deadlines, on occasion we need to take a bit of time off to recharge. You might even have to remind us to do that!