Who do you want to show up at your new job?
Whenever a friend, mentee or colleague tells me about a new job, after properly congratulating them, I ask them how they want to show up at this job differently. Maybe as someone who is more strategic, a better teammate, or someone who raises standards.
A new job offers
- An environment where you can more easily change habits
- People who don’t have entrenched views of who you are
- Opportunities develop or display skills you may not have had
This is not to say that you should try to be something that you aren’t or you should be inauthentic but you don’t have to be stuck.
Our brains adapt throughout our lives. We are capable of changing how we behave, developing new skills and creating new possibilities in our careers. Here are a few things you should consider as you prepare for your first day.
Consider your triggers
Researchers at MIT found that every habit has a loop with a cue, routine and reward. You can learn more about this in the great book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. If you want to change your habits, you need to think about substituting your current routine instead.
Here is an example
- Cue – A team member is stuck because they aren’t getting something they need
- Routine – Go fix it for them
- Reward – Feel helpful
When I fix things for them they don’t learn how to fix things for themselves. It also takes away from things I should be doing. So instead of going to fix it, I’m trying to feel helpful by coaching the team members instead.
Set your intentions
A young colleague who was smart and quick tended to be seen as arrogant and overbearing. We had talked about different strategies to work with people and he was making progress but it was hard to escape his reputation. A new job was a good opportunity for him to be seen differently.
James March of Stanford University suggests that people make decisions by thinking about these questions:
- What kind of situation is this?
- What is the culture like?
- Who is involved?
- What are we trying to achieve?
- What kind of person am I?
- How would I typically react?
- What could I do differently?
- What does a person such as I do in a situation such as this?
- What should my next step be?
Use your new environment
Think about what you want to change and how you can create an environment that encourages and supports that change. You can create a new schedule, maybe you start doing walking meetings or change up your lunch plans.
You don’t need to wait
A new job makes changes easier but not impossible, you can start today. You can experiment and learn how to be that person right where you are.