Currently, retailers are loaded to the gills with crisp, clean notebooks, unsharpened pencils lined neatly in their box, packages of loose leaf paper, and stacks of untouched Post-Its. This is a time where children and adults alike are caught in between the emotions inherent in seeing summer’s waning days inch toward a close and a new school year ripe with possibility about to dawn.
As a kid, perhaps this time of year meant trying on new corduroys and sweaters. It meant pushing your feet into the not-yet-broken-in leather of clean, white sneakers. You waited patiently, more or less, for the mail carrier to deliver your classroom assignment. There was a notable shift in your mindset as you closed out one season and prepared for another with a renewed dedication and vigor. While we think of “back to school” season as one focused on students and teachers, professionals like you and me can benefit from the same seasonal transition.
You’re about to enter of the home stretch of the calendar year. Use this autumnal transition to evaluate your previously established goals. Are you on track? Better yet, are these goals still appropriate? It’s not just your goals either. You had a plan on how to tackle those goals. Is it working? Do you need to adjust your strategy? Is your timeline still realistic? One of the best things about “Back to School” season is the clean slate it offers. It’s another point in our year to start fresh and move forward unencumbered. Just because you’re not in a classroom doesn’t mean you can’t use the same fresh start.
Learn a New Trick
Obviously, the students in your life enter this stretch of the calendar with a full syllabus of material to learn throughout the school year. Take their cue. If you haven’t tapped into the potential of online classes, webinars, or in-person seminars, workshops and courses, now is the time. You’re not done learning just because you’ve graduated and entered the workforce. While you’re at it, don’t limit your learning to work skills. Now is the perfect time to take that photography course you’ve been eyeing in the adult-ed section of your local community college catalog. Find time to nurture and grow your passions in and out of the work environment.
Make New Friends
Remember when you opened the mailbox and pulled from it the envelope with your class assignment? You probably ran into the house and started calling your friends to figure out who would be with you in Mrs. Smith’s class and who landed in Mr. Green’s class with your best pal. As your school year got underway, however, your network of friends began to expand beyond those few familiar faces you entered the classroom with on the first day. You made new friends. You developed new group work partnerships. Take a page from Septembers-past in your professional life. Expand your network. Join trade organizations and local commerce groups. Take advantage of networking connections in your field. Join and participate in LinkedIn Groups relevant to your subject matter expertise. Devote time to mentoring and being mentored.
Embrace the new season with enthusiasm and optimism, and you may just feel like a kid again!