Did you need a new cell phone the last time you got a new one? What about your car…was it on its very last leg when you traded it in? The truth is, for many of us, we don’t bat an eye when it comes to upgrading many things in our lives. But, would you ever buy a new A/C for the house unless you needed to? And if you’re like me, you have 8 pairs of black pumps to choose from each morning…at least 5 of which are awesome, but totally unnecessary!
The fact is…many of us regard our careers the same way, we don’t personally invest in ourselves or upgrade our skills on our own unless we have to. We expect our company to provide training and professional development for us until and unless we are faced with a potential career change or dissatisfaction with the status quo. Then and only then are we a little more open to spending our own money to upgrade.
Ask yourself this question, “When was the last time I initiated and personally invested my own money in upgrading my own skill set and/or career performance?” Last year? 2 years ago? Last quarter? Congratulations if you have within the past year, but if you have, you’re likely in the minority. There are many good options out there…but most people don’t know where to look and don’t know how to start. Many options can be uncomfortable for some, like those motivational seminars that have you hugging your fellow participants by the end of the weekend, and others look good but are unproven. The bottom line is, if you’re going to invest your own hard earned dollars, you want it to be worth it!
To start, you’ve got to start looking at personal professional development as an investment you make in you, not just one your company should. Like we do when we go for an annual check-up, we ought to take stock of our career and our skill set on an annual basis and figure out what needs a tune up. Consider yourself lucky if you work for an organization that has the resources to provide professional development for you, but don’t let it stop with what they want you to work on. What do you want to improve? Whether your company provides training or motivational seminars or not isn’t really the issue, the challenge we have for you today is to make it happen for yourself, on your own time, and by your own agenda one way or another.
Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about the many different ways that you can invest in your own professional development. Whether to sharpen your saw, develop a new skill set, or take you to another level, investing in yourself is a smart thing to do!
1. Read a business book, or if you are really ambitious, read at least one a month! There are new business books on the shelf practically every day. Find ones that interest you and make a list so that you have a plan. Then, get reading!
2. Attend a seminar. There are thousands of business development seminars out there for just about every career path (there is even a convention for real beard Santa’s…no kidding!). Some are only a day long, others can last up to a week. Find one that suits your taste, budget and schedule.
3. Participate in a webinar. These days there are so many webinars popping up on the internet that you can find just about any topic you want. Spend an hour, surf the web, and find ones that interest you and sign up. The good news is…many are even free!
4. Read a newsletter/blog/article about how to improve. Well, congratulations! You are doing this step RIGHT NOW!! But, maybe hit our website after this and read one of the older blogs that pertains to your business at this moment.
5. Brainstorm with a colleague/business friend. Sometimes just bringing problems, issues or questions to someone outside of your organization or department can make all the difference. Get a different perspective and see what you can learn from each other!
6. Hire a consultant/trainer. Of course, we really like this one, because it is the core of our business. It really does work. But, a warning: hire a consultant that does an assessment first. If they come in with boxed training: buyer beware! They should create the training/consulting based on your organization, your team, and your market.
7. Hire a coach. Again, we LOVE this because we do this! A coach can be a voice (outside of your head) who can guide, challenge, teach and train you. A warning here too, be sure you interview your coach to make sure there is a good fit, or, negotiate an introductory call if one isn’t offered. Trusting and believing in your coach is an essential ingredient in realizing results.
Give it a try…whether you’re seeking personal professional development on a beer budget or a champagne budget, there are plenty of options for everyone. Find what interests you, fits your budget and will help you get the results you want in your career! Need help? Give us a call. We are always happy to offer a free consultation to help you get on the right path…even if that path does not lead to our door!!
Grow Big or Go Home!