Integrity Languages


How to be More Successful in 2017

By: Jonathan Downie    Date: January 6, 2017

Happy New Year!


After an exhausting 2016, many business leaders are excited and anxious about what this year may bring. All of us hope to do better this year than last year but, despite all the tips and tricks we might read about online, we might now know how. Here are three strategies I have found to be indispensable.


Key 1: Define Your Own Success


As both a business owner and a dad, I have no shortage of people offering me their tricks and tips and must-dos. Yet what is glaringly obvious is that most people will give you advice after making the assumption that you want the same things out of life that they do.


If I am going to be any more successful this year than I was last year, it will mean being clear about what I mean by “successful”.  More than that, with all of us under continual time pressure, actually knowing what success looks like makes it much easier to say ‘yes’ to the right things and ‘no’ to the wrong things.


Since I know the types of clients I want and the kinds of marketing that seem to work for me, I know to ignore anyone selling their latest gimmick. Since I know my priorities, I can also confidently ignore anyone who says that you can’t be a success unless you work 25 hours a day and wake up at 4am, having gone to bed at 5.


Key 2: Prioritise Personal Growth


In the translation and interpreting community, 2016 was a year where there seemed to be more courses and classes and conferences on offer than ever before. In the events industry too, it seems that people are more aware of the need for Continued Professional Development than ever.


The simple reason for this is that every penny invested in a good source of personal and professional growth pays off. I recently read two papers where it was found that the best way to improve sales performance was to set both sales targets and targets for what you wanted to learn.


Given how fast technology and business practice is moving, those businesses that sell more will be those where everyone is committed to staying consistently at the top of their game.


For event managers, that will mean staying up to date with changes in marketing and shifts in delegate expectations while learning how to integrate new technology. For interpreters, that will mean clocking up the practice hours, diving into specialist subjects and continually honing our approaches to clients.


Key 3: Find a Community


This last one is by far the most important. Remember how people go on about SMART goals? Well it turns out that the only way they actually have a real effect is when you mix them with regular accountability.


In fact, the more research I read, the more important I realise that it is to make sure that you are in a community where you can be supported to grow. No matter how senior you are in your company, you will need someone to listen when times are tough … and a little push when you have started coasting.


No-one grows consistently on their own. This year, perhaps the greatest gift you could give your own success would be to find a group of people who are trying to be more successful too.

4 comments on “How to be More Successful in 2017

  1. Thanks for this post, Jonathan!
    I like the point about the community. The power of community is underrated by many translators, and I wanted to mention that currently, about 30% of my translation jobs come from the community, i.e. from fellow translators. Anyway, the first two points are important too :)

  2. Great post, thank you. I totally agree on the first aspect. There is a no fit-for-all solution when defining what “success” means to you and have clear unique goals and tools to try and reach them is very important. I also believe in dialogue with fellow translators. I find it that is an invaluable and very important source for personal development. Wishing you a very successful 2017 :), Giorgia

  3. Happy new year to you too, Jonathan!
    Defining “successful” is definitely the first step to skim what we really need from the countless tips and tricks and trainings now available. And finding a group of people with the same goals seems like a good basis to start from.
    Avec tous mes vœux de réussite professionnelle et personnelle pour cette nouvelle année,

  4. Thank you for these useful, down-to-earth reminders, Jonathan. I totally agree that all translators and interpreters (or any freelancer actually) do not view success in the same way and that having a clear idea of what being successful means to each of us personally is of the essence.

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