Professional development is critical to your success both in your occupation and as a person. Professional and personal development seem to go hand-in-hand. Think about it – have you ever done something to improve your productivity, whether it be small or big, in either your professional or personal life, and had it spill over into the other? Humans need discipline at work and at home in order to sustain a successful way of living.
Here are 4 tips to help you ramp up your professional development.
1.) Seek Out New Challenges
One of the best ways to boost your professional development is to take yourself outside of your comfort zone. Not only will this help you learn how to deal with change, you will also expand your skill set. Maybe your boss doesn’t know that you have a skill in a particular area, therefore they haven’t considered you as an asset in completing a project. If you invite the opportunity to take on new challenges you will become a more valuable member of your team.
Comfort can sometimes lead to complacency, which is the number one enemy of development. It’s good to feel scared or uneasy about a deadline or a new project. Pressure can help you view a problem from different angles in order to find the most efficient and effective way to get something done. Don’t run from new opportunities because they are scary or unfamiliar. Don’t fear failing at something; view each opportunity as a way to grow and learn.
Be proactive in your development.
2.) Surround Yourself With Like-Minded People
There is a saying that people are a reflection of the company they keep. This is true in both professional and personal settings. Have you ever been on a team where one team member brought down the overall morale or mindset of the group because of negative thinking? Negativity is contagious, even if you consciously make an effort to try and not let it impact you.
Corporate culture has become one of the most important factors for both companies who are looking at potential employees, and job seekers who are researching potential employers. Recruiters will ask themselves, “is this candidate a cultural fit within our organization?” Why are they doing this? It’s because they want to bring like-minded individuals into the organization. They want employees who are motivated by the same things and who adhere the same set of both professional and personal standards.
3.) Continue Your Education as Part of Professional Development
Education is a life-long endeavor. You don’t stop learning things as your life progresses. However, whether or not you are actively seeking to learn is a completely different idea. Force yourself to be intellectually curious. We live in a time when the ability to learn and the amount of information that is instantaneously available to us is greater than at any point in human history. Take a second and think about how powerful of a statement that is.
Keep up with the trends of your industry. Consistently follow the thought leaders and media platforms that are covering your industry. Try and learn at least one new thing every single day. Be an active participant in your education.
Do you want to gain knowledge that will have an effect on your career? Think about earning a certificate in an area that is important to your job or your organization. This can be done both online or in a classroom. Certificates are typically inexpensive and will serve as both a declaration of your skills and as way to increase your professional value on paper.
This one goes along with continuing your education, but it’s so valuable that I thought I’d single it out. Read everything. Read things that align with your points of view and things that go against your points of view. Read things that will inspire you and about things that will inform you. Read about history, your favorite band and about nutrition. Read about professional development. Read about how foaming soap dispensers work. Seriously, read everything.
Reading consistently will not only make you a more well-informed person, it will also improve your communication skills. Reading will help you become a better writer and a more efficient communicator. Consistently reading will help you broaden your horizons and examine life from different points of view. When you read, think about how you can apply lessons (if there is one) to your own life.