Monday 29 December 2014

Ready to Fly: 2014 can bring change for the positive

2014 can bring change for the positive, if we know how. By Tanya Sweeney

Woman watering money tree seedling in cupped hands

As Oprah Winfrey once said: "Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right." Rare is the person who doesn't want to seize the opportunity to make some life improvements with the help of a clean slate.

In January, righting wrongs becomes something of a national hobby. But here's the dispiriting news, according to 'Forbes' magazine, of the 40pc who make a pledge to better themselves only 8pc manage to achieve their New Year resolutions.

Rather than make a total overhaul, experts suggest keeping the resolution list short and focusing on shifting one's mindset. We've asked some great minds for practical advice on how to achieve this.


1. How to ask for a raise

The expert: John Deely, occupational psychologist at Pinpoint (

"Quoting the L'Oreal ad, 'because you're worth it', is guaranteed to backfire. Instead, do your preparation and research. Be clear about why you want a raise, whether it is the market value or the value you add.

"Identify a specific, realistic figure, and reflect on what else you want (such as other benefits or additional responsibilities). Think about the wider context -- how the company and sector are doing.

"Timing your ask is important, ideally in the context of some other good news. Do not accept a 'no' based on one meeting. Respectfully ask for a response based on some reflection. And if you're not successful, stay positive -- but start developing a career plan." 

2. Get over redundancy

The expert: Joan Mulvihill, CEO of the Irish Internet Association (

"After I was made redundant in 2008, I really struggled with defining what I do. Everyone asks 'so what do you do?' But when you don't have one of the traditional professions, this can be a really difficult question to answer.

"Face-to-face meetings, networking in the real world and reaching out to everyone really matters. This is where you get to show people what you are really made of, and what you can do in a way that a CV or a LinkedIn profile never really can.

"Losing my job has probably scarred me for life, but in a really good way. I learnt more during that 12-month period of my career than I did in any job before that.

"They say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I don't know, I think what doesn't kill you probably just makes you realise how strong you were all along. It's not an easy time, but it does work out, albeit in unexpected ways.

"Be open to the unexpected. I never thought I'd work in the tech sector, I never ever thought I'd be the CEO of anything, much less a not-for-profit outside the corporate environment. But what did I know?

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