Congress 2021 blog edition
By Claire Kroening - University of Alberta human geography alumna and communications professional
The academic world is full of possibilities and opportunities, so there is a lot of noise we must navigate through as we determine our career paths. Dr. Alex Clark and Bailey Sousa talked about how to set ourselves up for success and fulfillment in our work in a workshop offered by the Peter Lougheed Leadership College and the University of Alberta.
Align your work with your values: Know your values and articulate them to yourself. Knowing the ‘big why’ that underscores what you do will reinforce your work’s purpose and offer your career direction. Aligning your work with your values as you move forward can help you decide what you should do, rather than taking on projects and responsibilities just because they are there.
To identify your values, ask yourself why you got into your work in the first place? What elicits a strong emotion from you? Have your values changed over time?
Know what success looks like to you: What are your success indicators? Write them down. Staying attuned to your success indicators and values can help you cut through the noise of the world telling you this is what a successful academic looks like.
Your idea of success can look very different from someone else’s. So get specific, real and personal: what will your success look like? Do you want to be internationally known? Do you want to be competitive? Do you want a work-life balance?
Determine what your priorities are to effectively manage your time: For each of your success indicators, you should be able to identify one priority you will work on to achieve your goal.
It can be difficult to determine what to prioritize though, as Sousa noted “we want to do the right things right, and at the right time, but that can be very difficult.” So, how can we know what’s right? Dr. Clark advises “arguably everyone in academic work should have a mentor; accountability partners can also help you work to your success.”
Find resilience in growth: By adapting a growth mindset where you focus on self-improvement and developing your abilities, you can strengthen your confidence and boost your resilience to ‘failure’.
Dr. Clark asked workshop attendees “are you a growing resume, or a growing person?” When you are able to see how every project you work on, presentation you make and conference you attend grows your ability--rather than showcases your talent--you set yourself on a trajectory for continuous learning and fulfillment in academia.
Dr. Alex Clark and Bailey Sousa of the University of Alberta presented “Being an Effective, Successful, Happy Academic: The Secrets to Success Research Reveals (But Others Don’t)” in a session hosted by the Peter Lougheed Leadership College and the University of Alberta.