How to set your professional goals for 2021

What does the year ahead hold?

Perhaps you’re planning to find a new role, change jobs, start your own consultancy business, deepen your experience in your current role or aim for a promotion?

Whatever you’re plotting, I’m giving you a head start today thanks to my 2021 planner.

You can download it for free today. Just complete the form and it will shortly arrive in your inbox.

This is a great opportunity to invest time in yourself and have space and time to think about you.

If you’re not feeling in the mood to do this, that’s ok. It’s here as and when you need it, there’s no pressure.

Update: this link has now expired.

If you are looking for advice, check out our Online Masterclasses.

How to set your professional goals

I find the only way to have any chance of new year goals or aspirations lasting to Easter and beyond is to make them visible, tangible and realistic.

I encourage you to hold yourself to account e.g. making promises to yourself in 30-day increments.

You’ll find the planner prompts you to think like that. I’ve also put in some quotes, space for notes and questions to answer.

Update: this link has now expired.

What’s your word?

If you had to describe your career aspiration for 2021 in a word, what would it be?

For over a decade, I’ve been setting my intentions and aspirations at this time of year. Why? I find outlining my goals, ideas and dreams helps me shape them into reality.

One of the key parts of that planning is choosing a word. The criteria I apply reflects the mindset for the upcoming 12 months. I use it to hold myself to account.

It’s a largely positive exercise and helps drive my business, All Things IC, forward.

Sometimes it’s more realistic than aspirational – like 2014/5 when I had three children under the age of two-and-a-half, following the birth of my twin sons.

Survival was the name of the game!

I launched All Things IC in 2013 while on maternity leave with my daughter. But I had been preparing and planning since 2009, when I was working in-house in corporate communication and internal communication (IC) roles.

You can choose a word if you’re planning to stay in the same role, if you’re searching for a new job or if you’re looking for your next contract. You can also choose one for your personal life.

What to explore

If you’ve studied my How to be a Comms Consultant – Exploration Online Masterclass, the image below will be familiar to you. If you’re thinking about exploring the idea of being a Comms Consultant in 2021, the course helps you work through your ideas and make decisions about your career.

Key milestones are mapped against the words.

2020 – the year of growth?

Like many people, 2020 hasn’t turned out as I imagined, due to COVID-19.

This was due to be the year of growth, linked to opening my physical office, the All Things IC Hub in London.

I’d been hiring training rooms to teach my Masterclasses and host mentoring and strategy days for Comms pros, for four years. As the 2019 word implies, courage was needed to act on my gut feel and evidence from clients and Comms professionals.

So, summoning up courage, I’d found the ideal location of my own. This week marks exactly a year since the paint went on the walls and the furniture started to be delivered, all under the expert gaze of my interior designer Nikki Rees.

Hopes were high for 2020!

All Things IC Masterclasses

The doors of the All Things IC Hub opened on time in January 2020.

For eight glorious weeks the rooms in my stunning teal-coloured office were full of professional communicators. I welcomed clients and Comms friends and advised my global clients via consultation calls.

Then lockdown happened and I had to hit the pause button on the face-to-face side of my business.

Eight months later, it remains on pause, with no end in sight.

What 2020 has taught me

I thought 2020 would be the year of growth. I’d deliberately not ramped up my business, to allow me to spend quality time with my children before they started school. The year of “Mummy Fridays” with my twin sons was particularly special and benefitted us all.

Having bided my time around my children’s schooling, I had big plans for 2020.

If I look back, 2020 has been a year of growth, but not in the way I imagined when I set that intention and chose the word a year ago.

Here’s what I’ve learnt…

  • How generous the international Comms community is and how willing people are to listen to advice and guidance.
  • How internal communicators work under intense pressure. I’m proud to advise my mentoring and consultation clients to keep them accountable, on track and focusing on themselves, so they can thrive and survive in their roles.
  • To adapt my working patterns, so I could homeschool three young children. I’ve learnt a lot about phonics, number bonds and Biff, Chip and Kipper (characters in school books here in the UK) this year!
  • That my business model works well and has allowed my PA Louise and I to be present for our respective families, yet still serve All Things IC’s clients.
  • How to withstand severe financial burden caused by high fixed rental costs, a 90% drop in earnings and zero support from the Government for Limited Company Directors.
  • Giving keynote talks can be done from your spare room. It’s not the same as physically being on stage and gauging reactions, but it’s a close second.
I’ve learnt…
  • How to trust other people to support me in my endeavours.
  • How to listen more to clients, to make sure my continued focus on their problems and struggles remains a priority.
  • How to film videos for my business in various locations including at my dressing table, in the temporary office in my spare bedroom. I’ve also learnt how to edit films.
Online internal communication training by Rachel Miller

I’ve learnt…

  • That it’s ok to not be ok. That taking care of my mental health and wellbeing not only helps my family and I, but my clients too.
  • How to ask for help. And that team work makes the dream work.
  • How the technology I’ve been using to support my global clients for years provides opportunities to advise Comms pros closer to home too.

I could write a lot more. But as I reflect on this list, it strikes me that I have grown, my business has grown and my understanding of my business has deepened.

So my plan for 2021 mirrors that of 2018. It’s all about refining and deepening my career and experiences for my clients.

But I’m doing so fresh after a period of growth. I’m excited to see what happens next. I managed to spend time solo in the All Things IC Hub a couple of weeks ago, just before our second national lockdown.

Further reading: How to work ON, not IN your business.

Over to you…

What’s your word for 2021? I’d love to know. Feel free to comment below or find me on Twitter @AllThingsIC.

90 day plan Masterclass

January 2021 update: My brand new How to create a 90 day plan Online Masterclass is now available. It’s ideal if you are starting a new IC role in 2021 and want to hit the ground running.

Learn about internal communication with All Things IC

My range of Online Masterclasses will boost your internal communications skills, knowledge and confidence.

See the dedicated website to access all the latest courses. They are all packed with bespoke text lessons, videos, workbooks and quizzes to help you learn about the wonderful world of IC at your own pace.

Want to buy courses for your team or need multiple licenses? Do get in touch and let me know what you need. You can also buy bundles of courses.

Choose from:


All Things IC Masterclasses table

Do you need additional help from me? Why not book a Power Hour call and we’ll talk through your plans together.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have a great week,


Published on the All Things IC blog 15 November 2020.


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