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Annual Assignments

Being stuck in the house isn’t the worst thing, if you can improve your lot in life.

Annual Assignments

By late January or early February, it’s likelier than not that whatever New Year’s resolutions you made have gone:

A) Down in flames
B) Up in smoke
C) Gone with the wind
D) All of the above

Well, like Tonya Harding in the ’94 Winter Olympics—she of the busted ice skate and the botched knee-capping—you’re getting a second chance. A do-over. A Mulligan. Shake off those broken vows and take another crack at self-betterment.

No, this is not about hitting the gym (most are closed anyway), or not hitting the buffet (ibid). Rather, these five resolutions will give your career a clear kick in the rear.

Casting for Knowledge

Listen to at least one business podcast a week. There are a lot of good ones out there, be their perspectives macro (NPR’s “Planet Money”), micro (“Entrepreneur on Fire”), or even super-duper specific to the casino industry, such as “GGB Podcast,” “Max Bet,” “The Bruford Files,” and “B in the Know.”

You know that old saw about always keeping your sword sharp for battle? Well, podcasts—whether they’re fun, serious or a blend of the two—are a whetstone in your pocket. You’re bound to learn something, and you’ll keep abreast of what’s new and newsworthy in your world.

Go Mad

Binge-watch all 92 episodes of Mad Men, but fast-forward through the adultery, the lying, the adultery, the backstabbing and the adultery. Focus instead on the business scenes and the lessons therein.

Examples abound, but start with these:

1) How the company spots and nurtures the creative talents of secretary Peggy Olson.

2) How Don Draper spars with a lipstick executive over a fresh approach, showing he has unwavering conviction in himself and, in turn, turning skeptic into believer.

3) How Roger Sterling explains the importance of interpersonal relationships, saying, “Half the time, business comes down to ‘I don’t like that guy.’”

Simon Says

Check out a Simon Sinek video on YouTube. Sure, he looks like someone who, back in high school, was probably picked last for sports and first for atomic wedgies. But when it comes to the emotional side of business, dude can ball. His Ted Talk on the “Golden Circle”—Why? How? What?—should be required viewing in every classroom as well as every boardroom.

There’s a double benefit here. Not only will you pick up pearls of wisdom on leadership and trust and whatnot, but study the way this man presents ideas to a group of people. The way he uses storytelling to make his point. The way he involves the audience with questions. The way he moves about with energy and enthusiasm.

Because it’s not just about what he says, it’s how he says it to maximize its effect.

Book ‘Em

Read the books—or at least synopses of—The 48 Laws of Power and How to Win Friends and Influence People. True, Dewey Decimal never would catalog these in the business aisle; however, these are easy reads, full of tactical tips on persuasion, human nature and good old-fashioned common sense.

Sure, the language in Friends is a little cornball. Golly gee willikers, it was probably cornball when it was written. Power, on the other hand, goes over the top with its military references and its outsized sense of self-importance. But bore through those minor defects and add their lessons to your arsenal.

Paging Dr. Freud

Or Dr. Phil or Dr. Oz. But definitely not Drs. Who, Dre, Kevorkian, Howard or Fine. Dig into your own psyche and see if you can shore up any deficiencies that are hampering your potential. We all have them, so if you haven’t found yours yet, you’re not looking hard enough.

Maybe you’re a procrastinator. Maybe you’re afraid to express your opinions. Maybe you fly off the handle for little to no reason. Maybe you’re too pessimistic. Maybe you’re too optimistic. Maybe you start sentences the same way over and over.

Could be anything.

There is always room for two things in life: Jell-O and improvement. In regards to the latter, infinite options exist, from books to books on tape to online videos out the wazoo. Even professional therapy, hypno or otherwise.

Invest in yourself and the dividends compound… and they last a lifetime.

Roger Snow is a senior vice president with Light & Wonder. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Light & Wonder or its affiliates.

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