1.) Find out who’s naughty and who’s nice. “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” (Jim Rohn). Whether or not you believe this, having positive people around you is empowering. Outside of the North Pole, however, we don’t get to choose to spend all our time in the company of 5 perfect, uplifting people. Choose those who reflect the person you want to be -those you admire, respect, and those who make your day brighter just by being in it- and nurture those relationships.

2.) Mix and mingle. Tis the season for holiday parties, family gatherings, and networking! This is a great time for you to attend the holiday mixer at your industry’s trade association, or even events hosted by your colleagues or friends. If you’re in the Washington, DC Metro, check out my top picks for area networking events.

3.) Have a cup of cheer. Nobody likes a Debbie Downer, especially this time of year. Even if you don’t believe in the Law of Attraction, surely you’ve observed (or experienced) how powerful attitude is – whether a family member is recovering from an accident, or you’re standing in a long checkout line at the store. If there’s any time to be compassionate and kind, this is it. Give your co-workers an unexpected holiday smile. Reach out to your customers/clients, and send a virtual greeting to the LinkedIn connections you’ve yet to meet IRL. This lets others know you care, and it also builds a sense of value and trust in your brand.

4.) Hang (your stocking) with care. How do others really see you? The ability to influence others is critical to job performance, and enormously useful to job seekers in networking and interviewing situations. But people aren’t necessarily born with great “soft skills.” Emotional Intelligence can be learned. It starts with a mindset and an intention to discover, explore, and be open to what you may encounter. It’s about helping others as much as helping yourself. And what better way to be festive than to express gratitude.

5.) Make a list…and check it twice! The holidays are the perfect time to reengage with your contacts. Use this time to send out a greeting to your valued LinkedIn connections, recruiters you’ve worked with, or professionals in your industry you haven’t touched based with in a while. Whether you’re actively job searching or not, building and sustaining relationships always has been, and always will be, the best strategy for a successful career.

Happy Holidays!