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4 ways to get your career off to a great start this year

May Busch column illustration
January 05, 2021

Editor's note: This story originally appeared in the winter 2021 issue of ASU Thrive magazine.

Written by May Busch, a former COO of Morgan Stanley Europe who is now an executive coach, speaker, adviser, author and executive-in-residence in ASU’s Office of the President. Find her at

How has the new year started out for you? Whether you’re off to a roaring start, feeling underwhelmed, or something in between, this is a natural time to do some thinking and planning for the year ahead. And as my father says, “Chance favors the prepared mind.”

Here are four things you can do to get your career off to a great start. 

May Busch

May Busch.

1. Choose your theme for the year

This can be an overarching theme that will guide you through the year. For example, it could be “the year of the promotion” or “the year of getting your degree.” Or you can choose a set of words or phrases that really embody the intention you want to live out, such as, “Let’s make everything simple, easy and fun this year.”

In my case, I’m going to choose growth as my theme, both as it applies to my business and to my personal development. How about you? What possible themes are you considering? As someone who’s attracted to taking on “shiny new opportunities,” this will be a challenge, but I know it will guide me in the right direction, and I can’t wait to tackle it.

2. Identify the three big wins you want this year

Predetermine and preselect three big wins that you want to have this year. For example, they could be landing two new clients, passing an exam (e.g., the CFA or CPA exams) and getting over your fear of speaking up in meetings. So, think about what your three big wins could be. It’s a more energizing way of asking yourself, “What are my main goals for the year?”

3. Decide what investment you’re going to make in yourself

Think about which exact things you’re going to spend your time, energy, mindspace and money on this year to build your foundation and make you even better in new dimensions.

For me, I’m going to reinvest in the mastermind groups that I’m part of, because I now realize how foundational they are to my current and future success. What are your investments going to be?

4. Join an online summit

There’s a special fourth item that will be available soon to help you get your career off to a great start. It’s my annual online Career Mastery Kickstart Virtual Summit, featuring 25 incredible experts from around the world sharing their latest insights and advice on how to be more successful in your career. 

This is all about you and your career, so I can’t wait to share it with you.