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085 | 6 questions to prioritise what matters for your HR / People career
Episode 8519th May 2023 • HR Coffee Time • Fay Wallis
00:00:00 00:15:09

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It can be hard to be clear on what matters most to you for your HR / People career; especially when you’re busy firefighting at work. In this episode of HR Coffee Time, career coach Fay Wallis shares 6 questions to identify and prioritise what matters for your career, so that you can set realistic steps and goals to achieve what’s most important to you.

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Fay Wallis: Welcome to HR Coffee Time. It's great to have you here. I'm your host, Fay Wallis, a career and executive coach with a background in HR, and I'm also the founder of Bright Sky Career Coaching. I've made HR Coffee Time especially for you to help you have a successful and fulfilling HR and people career without working yourself into the ground.

In this episode, I'll be talking you through six questions you can ask yourself to prioritise what really matters for your HR or people career. You are completely unique, which means that what's important to you, what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it, is probably going to be different to other people you know who.

it towards the end of May in:


I'll also be running a two hour workshop in June where I'll dive into these questions with you and share some other activities as well to help you pin down your plans and priorities for the rest of the year. If you're interested in hearing about it, please do sign up to my weekly HR Coffee Time emails.

If you haven't already, you can find the link to them in the shownotes. For this episode or you can just send me a message on LinkedIn and I can send you the link to sign up if you are having trouble finding it. I'm on LinkedIn quite a lot and I always love hearing from you. So if we aren't already connected, please do feel free to send me a connection request.

I would love to chat to you on there. If you've been listening to the podcast for a while, or you have a copy of my HR Planner, you'll know that I'm a big fan of stopping to reflect and plan. If you haven't heard of the HR Planner before, there are two versions of it, a free PDF version, which you are very welcome to have if you don't already have it.


ersions of it so far. One for:

monthly review pages for the:


And this episode is the latest one where I've thought of a way of improving the HR Planner again. This time it's by having a mid-year activity, but it's a bit different to all the others because I'm not going to start it by asking you to look back on what has been happening in your career so far.

Although reflecting on what has already happened is valuable work. It can be just as valuable to shake things up a bit and take a fresh perspective. So today I'm going to start off by asking you to let go of everything that's happened so far this year and just let go of your goals for the moment. You are probably going to find what works best is to listen to this episode wherever and whenever you usually do so.


For example, I normally listen to podcasts while I'm driving the car or cooking the dinner, or in my very exciting life - doing the ironing. None of those moments are the best time to put the advice in the episode into action. Instead, after you've listened to it all the way through, carve out some separate time to listen to it again when you can be in a quiet room or a different place to normal so that you have a change of scene and just have a pencil and paper with you.

And I'm going to recommend trying to switch off from work and the busyness of your day so you can clear your mind. If you're someone who meditates, maybe try a meditation before getting started. Or if you like music, play some music that will help you switch off and put you in a positive frame of mind.


I don't listen to that much music normally, but in my group program, Inspiring HR, we have a playlist for each cohort that is made up of each person's favorite track. I seem to have become slightly obsessed with a song called "Intro" by The XX that someone in the current inspiring HR cohort chose. So, Sally, if you're listening to this episode, thank you for introducing me to the track.

I keep on playing it on repeat. For this activity, when I tested it out for myself, I played myself that track first. But of course, you play whatever track it is that you like or give that one a try if you'd like to see what it's like.

Right, now that you've hopefully listened to this once, all the way through, so you know what to expect, you're now sitting quietly somewhere with your paper and pencil.

Let's get started. The very first question for you to answer is, "What do you want to have achieved for your career by the end of this year?" And of course, the possibilities are endless. Perhaps you want to be more strategic by the end of the year. Perhaps you want to have achieved a better work-life balance.


Maybe you want to have a salary increase by the end of the year, or you want to have been promoted, or you want to have changed career completely. Or you want to have taken on a new role, developed new skills, or just feel more confident in the role you have. Like I keep saying, we're all unique. What you want to have achieved for your career will be completely different to what someone else might have wanted to have achieved for their career.

So really take the time to think about this and write down all of your thoughts. It doesn't just have to be one thing. There might be a few things that you want to put down there, but often I tend to find there is usually one big thing hanging over people or at the very back of their mind. So if you are feeling a bit scared to write it down because it doesn't feel achievable, or you are thinking, oh, but I've got so much other work to get done, how am I ever going to prioritize that?


Remember, We're putting all of that behind us, so forget any feelings of fear or worry or busyness. In an ideal world, just think about what you want to have achieved for your career by the end of the year and write it down. The second question for you to think about is, "How will you feel when you've achieved this?"

And really take a moment to try and imagine yourself in the position where you have that achievement. You are exactly where you want to be by the end of the year. How are you feeling? Perhaps you're feeling proud or excited or calmer, or happier or more confident, whatever it is, write it down. That's going to help really motivate you to start doing something about this career aim, this thing that you really want to move towards.


Then questions three, four, and five are borrowed from the world of software development. So I think that this comes from agile methodology. It's called Stop Start Continue, and the idea is that often it's really helpful to think for a moment about actually what should you stop doing? What should you start doing, and what do you need to continue doing?

So let's just hold this feeling in your mind for the moment of how you feel, because of how you're going to feel when you've achieved what you want to for your career. To be able to achieve that, to be able to get that feeling. What is it that you need to stop doing right now to achieve it? So, me personally, I know that I have to stop doing everything when it comes to this podcast. I have let the podcast take over my life slightly, although I really enjoy having it; I love having feedback from you, hearing that it's been helping you. It takes up so much of my time where I do all of the research, the guest invites, the editing most of the time.


I have got a little bit of help from Katie. Thank you very much, Katie if you're listening to this. So, she makes sure it gets scheduled and she also does the podcast cover art for me. I'm also doing the transcripts myself at the moment and just even saying all of that, I know it sounds ridiculous. It's just so much work.

So I know that is something that I need to stop to be able to achieve what I want to for my career by the end of the year. And you will have something, maybe several things that would really benefit you to stop doing, but I don't know what happens, we just seem to get into a habit or a rhythm with things, or it feels like, "Oh, it's going to be more work showing someone else how to do it."


Well, let's just put all of those doubts out of our minds. I'm going to promise to you that I'm going to do something about this. So you have a think. What do you want to promise to yourself you're going to stop doing? Because by stopping it, it's going to help you get to where you want to be. Then question four is "start".

What do you need to do differently to now to achieve what you want for your career by the end of this year? And again, As with all of these, it's going to be different for you to different to me to different to everybody else. So have a think about that. What do you need to start doing? Have you got to enroll on a course?

Have you got to start setting up chats with other people? Have you got to start speaking up in meetings more or putting yourself forward to do presentations? Whatever it is, take a moment to think about it and jot it down Now, And then the fifth question, of course, is about continuing. What do you need to continue doing to achieve your career goal for the end of the year to get to where you want to be with your career by the end of the year?


So of course, with my example, I talked about the fact I need to stop doing everything for the podcast, but I do want to continue with the podcast. So there are lots of aspects of it that I do want to keep on doing and keep on being responsible for. It's not going to be a great idea to completely stop it. So you can do the same thing.

What activities do you need to continue doing either because you enjoy doing them or because they're non-negotiable and part of your role and part of your life? Then once you've answered those five questions, the sixth and final question is to now look back at the goals you already set yourself for the year.


If you have been using your HR Planner, then hopefully you've got them all written down, or if they're just on scraps of paper or in a notebook somewhere, or on your performance appraisal, take a look at them now just to remind yourself. And then while you are looking at them, have a think about are they still the right goals for you?

And do you know what; If they're not; that's fine. I know I can hang on to goals sometimes. There's some sort of strange feeling that happens once you've written something down and committed to it, but do you know what? It's okay. The thing about change, of course, is that it's constant and we've got no way of predicting the future.

So whenever you set goals, set them with the best of intentions, but know that if they're not serving you anymore or they're not relevant anymore, it's fine to let them go. You'll probably find that you've hit one or two or maybe even more of the goals that you set for yourself. If you have, then well done.

If you haven't, again, please don't beat yourself up about it. It doesn't matter. Now is the opportunity to set yourself more goals that are really meaningful for you that you can work towards throughout the rest of the year. The goal or goals that you come up with after doing this activity of asking yourself those six questions might just end up being supplemental goals because they are so focused on where you want to be with your career.


Your other goals may be more practical ones, so you might have some things in there that are work goals and things that you really want to get done because they're going to be rewarding or because they're part of your remit and you want to do a great job, but actually let's keep this goal, or goals, the ones that you are going to come up with from having done this activity.

Let's keep them as your really special ones. The ones that are going to mean something deeply for you because you know that by working on it or them, you're going to get yourself to the point where you've achieved what you want for your career this year. And to help you stick to the goals. Of course, you can use the template that's in the HR planner.


There's a whole finalizing your career goals section that is in the free version as well as the hardback version, so you can use that to really help those goals stick so that when you get to the end of the year, you can think. "Oh my goodness. I've done it. I'm exactly where I want to be." That brings us to the end of the episode.

I really hope it's been helpful and that you enjoy working your way through the questions if you decide to give them a try. If you have enjoyed the episode and you have a friend who you think would really benefit from hearing it, it would be amazing if you could share it with them. So send them the link or send them a screenshot.

And suggest that they have a listen to the show. Word of mouth is such an incredible way of spreading the word about the podcast, and I would love to help as many HR and People professionals as possible with this free weekly show. Thank you so much. Have a great week, and I look forward to being back again next week with the next episode.