Long time, no see Divas! Lots have been going on, but we'll catch up later because I have something on my spirit that I have to share. Every day, my boss sends around a "Thought of the Day," many of which make me want to do mini praise dance when I read them. Today, he sent around the Rollo May quote above. While I didn't quite do a praise dance, I was moved to jump on The Chronicles and quickly share my thoughts on the importance of taking charge of one's own professional development. All too often, I hear new professionals
complain lament about not having adequate opportunities for professional development or growth. Many believe that going to work and doing a great job is the formula for professional growth. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this formula is not synonymous with growth...or with professional development. In fact, going to work and doing a great job is a given...standard...basic...a starting point. In my humble opinion, if this is all you are doing, then you are placing your professional development in the hand of someone else. You are waiting for someone to recognize that you come to work and do a great job, and subsequently give you more opportunities as a result. Usually with no extra effort on your part. You are merely waiting for an opportunity to come to you.
Don't get me wrong...accepting opportunities based on a job well done is not a bad thing. It is great when someone takes an interest in your professional development; but this can't be where it ends. Nobody else should want you to succeed and progress more than you want it for yourself. To this end, you are the ultimate guide on your quest for professional greatness. Throughout your career, you should be taking the most active role in your own development; mold yourself. In doing so, you are not solely relying on someone else. How freeing is that!
So now that we've agreed that you should be the most active participant in your professional development and growth, what are some ways that you can do this? Well you know I have an opinion! Here are some tips (I hope to discuss many of these in detail on this blog really soon!):
1. Seek out your mentors; do not wait for one to find you.
2. Speak up at work. If you have an idea, let someone know. Be sure to think it through, and be ready to respond to any questions related to executing your idea.
3. Participate in work-related activities that are outside of your actual job responsibilities (i.e. attending a company-sponsored happy hour, participating in team-building outings, attending company-sponsored meetings and forums). Demonstrate to your superiors that you are interested and invested in your company's well-being. After all, you can't expect your company to invest in you if you are not willing to do the same.
4. Never stop educating yourself. Stay abreast of the topics, changes, and trends associated with your profession. There's always something new to learn; you will never know it all, but keep learning.
5. Join and participate in professional organizations.
6. Be a well-rounded individual. Hobbies and interests not only keep you happy, but they are great fodder for discussion at networking events.
7. Speaking of networking, do it! Be sure to attend networking events related to your profession or your hobby/interest. You never know from where your next connection may come.
8. Work diligently to become an expert in your field. Perfect your craft!
9. Always go above and beyond. Remember, doing a great job is expected.
In sum, understand that no one is required to develop you professionally. It is not a right, and you should not depend on it. The one thing (or person), however, that you can depend on is you. You are responsible for your own professional development. Be diligent, take charge, and don't expect anyone else to do it for you.
That's all for me Divas! Please feel free to share any additional tips!