Galloping towards the end of the year, the emotional, financial and physical demands of the silly season are all too palpable. Social invitations and obligations ramp up; deadlines (both real and imagined) need to be met; and the shopping list becomes longer. We say good byes to colleagues leaving work – those whose contracts have expired and are moving on to new jobs; those who have been made redundant (sometimes with undignified haste) and others heading into retirement. Workplaces are constantly in flux but the change and uncertainty at this time of year can be particularly intense. It leaves us tired, running on empty, spent. Comments like ‘only 2 weeks to go’, ‘getting there’, ‘making it to the end’, as if we are all running some kind of intense marathon, seem to litter tea room conversations.

With just under two weeks out from Christmas, it may be worth contemplating what ‘getting there’ and ‘making it to the end’ mean from the perspective of your career. Can I suggest that you take a moment (just a moment) to remove yourself from all of the ‘dance floor’ action of the season. Head up to the balcony, look down on the year that has passed and ask yourself:  what have I achieved and been most proud of in my career this year?

Perhaps there has been a project you have worked on that has exceeded yours and others expectations; a tricky workplace relationship that you navigated with courage, respect and agility; maybe a well-earned promotion came your way; or you completed that course that you have been meaning to do for ages.

Stay up on the balcony a little longer, and bask in your achievements.

Then turn your mind to your aspirations and what’s next for you in your career. Allow yourself a moment to dream big or, if that doesn’t work for you, to be micro-ambitious (as Tim Minchin would say). What’s on your agenda for next year – things that you would like to advance, change and improve. What are you hopeful for? What do you want to work towards?

You probably have a few ideas, maybe even a plan. And the following may be a helpful reminder about the magic equation of aspiration and action:

When you want something that you have never had,

you have to do something that you have never done.

So, enjoy the silly season, and when things get too much head to the balcony for respite, replenishment and perspective.

Until next time, go well