A new year, a fresh beginning, and a further opportunity to make personal improvements. Given the stresses of the year that’s past and a jolly festive season, right now many of us are likely to be thinking about our fitness levels and managing our weight and health. Some will have tested different techniques in the past, with varying degrees of success for us. We explore a few of these in this post, and use the fitness analogy to position how Protagion’s services can help to get your career into shape too.
To put different techniques or interventions in context, let’s consider a framework with two dimensions:
Our preference for different techniques will depend on a wide variety of factors, including:
Once our interest in improving our fitness has been piqued, our first step is probably to do some research: what have others done, what’s been personally successful or not for us in the past etc. This helps us frame our initial goals, the targets we set for ourselves once we’ve taken the active decision to move from exploring to doing.
Read more to see examples of techniques in all the quadrants of the framework, from generalised activities we can do on our own, to more personalised examples of technology-supported guidance, to activities where we are supported by others (the human touch): generalised fitness communities to personalised coaching and training. We then apply the same framework to getting our careers in shape, highlighting career-related examples of resources and services, including those offered by Protagion Active Career Management. Hopefully these inspire you to achieve your professional goals too.
Activities on our own, using tools and technology
The simplest (and inexpensive) level of activity is generalised, and designed to be done on your own, using tools and technology. Examples are watching YouTube videos on losing weight, searching the internet for “how do I become fit” and reading the suggestions, or following the NHS 12-week fitness plan. While these are easily accessible and free (offering a good starting point), successful application requires you to translate the suggestions to your specific needs yourself, and also take action i.e. physically exercising in addition to merely watching the video or reading the article.
Online pre-recorded courses, for example on the importance of stretching and pacing yourself, can also help – these might have a cost. They allow you to see the techniques in action, and mirror the instructor yourself until you find an approach that works for you.
More personalised support can make the translation to your unique circumstances much easier. For example, devices like smartwatches can help you measure your fitness-related metrics like heart rate, cardio, fat burn or step count, and fitness apps can adjust their recommended workouts to guide you towards your goals. Technology is a fantastic help in supporting you to understand your goals better and track your progress over time, including benchmarking against your targets and others similar to you. And, who knows, you may even have been given a helpful device as a Christmas gift!
For some, technology-supported guidance towards their fitness goals is perfect for their needs, leading to successful and sustained achievement of their goals. They’re happy to set goals, take action and track their progress on their own, supported by the technology. The wisdom designed into the technological solutions guides them effectively to:
Support from other people
However, others prefer more of the human touch, including a community with similar goals who can share their experiences or access to experts who’ve been through it all before. Exercising with others can be a great motivator! More generalised versions in a fitness context include group park runs, or attending fitness classes at a gym to experience the insights of the trainer as well as the collective experience of the aerobics/zumba/spinning class.
The more targeted these groups are to your specific objectives, the more personalised they become. For example, a running group training for a given upcoming marathon, or a focused advanced yoga class with more engagement with the instructor about poses you’re struggling with. And, if you're committed to improving your personal fitness through understanding your unique physical attributes and limits, taking specific action to improve yourself, and tracking your progress with accountability, hiring a personal trainer would help you achieve your goals even more quickly. One highly specialised example of this is a sports coach (such as a boxing coach or tennis coach) who has personal understanding of what it takes to succeed at a professional level.
We hope that some of these examples have inspired you in selecting your new resolutions, and sustaining them until you reach your fitness goals! Putting them all together onto the grid, we see these different approaches to achieving our fitness goals along the dimensions of
(i) generalised to personalised, and
(ii) on our own using tools and technology to supported by others:
What about getting my career in shape too?
We can apply this same framework to managing our careers i.e. improving our career fitness. Once again, our goals are the focal point: career goals in this case. See our article “What are your Career Goals?” for inspiration. Triggers for reflecting on our career goals can include:
Applying the framework in the same order as we explored fitness goals above, we start with generalised support, designed to be done on our own, using tools and technology. Examples in a career-context are:
And, as before, for these resources and their suggestions to help you, you need to translate them to your specific needs, and you also need to take action (in addition to reading or watching). For example, practising your skills in real-life situations is important to becoming a better presenter/leader/coder…
Self-directed career management can also be personalised through technology, including Protagion’s protege system, which (similar to fitness apps and smartwatches) helps you to understand your goals better and track your progress over time. Our system includes our Journey of Self-Discovery, personalised improvement suggestions, and the ability to set your own goals and improvements and track your progress in achieving them. For some, technology-supported guidance towards their career goals is ideal for their needs, leading to sustained success, however they personally define it. And, where further inspiration is needed, we offer additional suggestions for our proteges to choose from.
For those who want more human guidance and support in achieving their career goals, there are both generalised solutions and personalised solutions available. At the more generalised end are career support groups of professionals with similar goals, perhaps facilitated by an expert such as a coach. The more targeted these groups are to your specific objectives and professional background, the more personalised they become. For example, a group dedicated to supporting others who are new to starting a business, or considering an MBA, or searching for purpose and meaning. These groups may offer the ability to ask questions of professional mentors and coaches with experience of your particular aspiration, like Protagion’s subscription service with our associated private LinkedIn community of professionals and our group Q&A sessions.
And, if you're committed to achieving your career goals through (i) understanding your unique abilities and potential, (ii) taking specific action to improve yourself professionally, and (iii) tracking your progress with accountability to an experienced professional who understands the nature of your work or offers an aspirational role model, a professional mentor or coach can be incredibly helpful. In fact, we recommend our proteges build their own Board of Mentors to act as their personalised support squad. To give you access to a wider range of global insights, our professional mentors and coaches are available for one-on-one video sessions anywhere through the Protagion platform. Just like personal trainers and sports coaches, they can help you achieve your goals even more quickly, making each new year your best year yet!