Up the career ladder . Mixed media
ATD Blog

2020: Time to Make Things Happen in Your Career

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Looking at the year ahead, there’s a lot to be excited about if you’re in the talent development field. The future of work is becoming a reality, a host of technology and tools are available to help us engage our learners and showcase our results to the C-suite, and it’s the turn of not only a new year, but a new decade—a decade of opportunity.

And while many in TD are likely to think in terms of the opportunities for their learners and employees, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and ask yourself, “How am I planning to embrace this critical juncture in terms of my professional development?”

Since it’s the beginning of a new decade, why not think not just in terms of this year— though that’s a great place to start—but where you’d like to be five years from now? Or 10 years? Are you a new facilitator now but want to manage your own team of three to five facilitators down the road? Are you starting to learn new technologies, but really want to be a thought leader on mixed reality—or whatever technology is on the cutting-edge five years from now? Have you found out how much you enjoy coaching, so you’d like to become certified and eventually go out on your own?

Now is the time to take a first step. Why not resolve to upskill yourself?

New Year Resolution Tips for Success

In her post, Jane Collingwood provides several tips for staying true to your New Year’s resolutions.

Choose wisely. What will fulfill your life and make you happy? Taking the time to sit down and consider what your strengths are, what you love to do (and, on the flip side, not so much), and what kind of environment helps you thrive, will help. For example, if you know you want to give it a go as an independent coach, what goal or resolution makes sense to move one step closer to that end?


Break the goal into manageable portions. What can you do this week? Can you read two articles on virtual, artificial, or mixed reality? How about listening to a webcast? Perhaps you’d like to message a subject matter expert and see if they will give you 20 minutes of their time to get your started.

Receive support. We’ve all likely heard that it helps to have a buddy—whether that’s to hold you to a three-times-a-week run or whether it’s to check in with you to see if you’re making your avowed incremental progress on an online, self-paced course. Make sure your buddy really wants you to succeed and is someone you can be honest with—and who will be honest with you.


It’s easy to be sidelined, whether it comes to a resolution or one’s everyday to-do list. Urgent things tend to get in the way of what’s important.


If you’re a leader or manager, you know the importance of holding your team or division accountable. How can you use that mindset to keep yourself on track? Cy Wakeman writes in her Forbes article, “Personal Accountability and the Pursuit of Workplace Happiness,” that “personal accountability is the belief that you are fully responsible for your own actions and consequences. It’s a choice, a mindset, and an expression of integrity.” This includes being committed to doing the work, even when it’s challenging; being able to bounce back after snags or other setbacks; and seeing so-called failures as teachable moments.

According to Linda Galindo, in her aptly titled American Management Association article, “No Excuses: Being Accountable for Your Own Success,” accountability is both a mindset and a skill set, and that means it can be acquired. “By empowering yourself, you take the actions—and the risks—to achieve a result and get what you want. Rather than waiting for someone to declare you empowered or give you that one lucky break, you step outside your comfort zone, make things happen, and answer for the outcomes.”

How Will You Make Things Happen?

Throughout 2019, ATD talked about how talent development professionals are moment makers. What will you commit to do to create your own professional moments in 2020 and how can we help you stay on track?

About the Author

Patty Gaul is a senior writer/editor for the Association for Talent Development (ATD).

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