Professional development, in my eyes, defines how we focus on an extension of our better selves. That side is driven by our inner productive core that gets things done and is eager to grow and solve problems. By feeding and focusing on our core selves, we can transform into individuals who are hard working, dedicated, and capable of taking on the world’s toughest problems.
Like everything else I write about, these areas of focus involve discipline and self reflection. We get better day by day and growth is earned. With that in mind, this post is the perfect cheat sheet on what to focus on in order to improve your professional development.
Communication and Social Interactions
In order to help ensure success in your career, you must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. With strong attributes in these areas, an individual can stand out like a beam of light when it matters most. Obviously, this is easier said than done. Building a strong professional development persona requires working on your presentation, which is the first step into further expanding one’s communicational boundaries.
Begin focusing on how you stand and the body language you give off. Then, try to analyze how you enter and exit conversations. Remember to always wait for others to finish speaking before beginning to make your point. Also, be sure to acknowledge the other person’s point of view, and only disagree when necessary. Be eager to agree and despise disagreements when in professional settings. Improvement in these areas will put you in an excellent starting position towards building an ideal professional persona.
Be Proactive in Solving Your Employer’s Problems
I understand that many of us work to pay bills. Work is often more of a necessity than a desire. However, the longer you carry around the idea that your job is to pay bills and not an extension of your better self, than the longer you will go without professional growth. In becoming a proactive problem solver you will find purpose, you will find satisfaction, and gratitude will be thrown at you.
Remember that your employer hired you to solve a problem or fill a role in a larger system. Take a step back and look at the problems your role solves, and how it connects with perpendicular roles. Understanding this bigger picture will give you a very important perspective. From there you can take initiative to solve other problems, perhaps even improve your workplace’s process as a whole. By engaging with issues like this on your own accord, you will immediately begin to stand out from your peer’s and be able to help others solve their issues as well. If you are as helpful as you are insightful, good things will come your way.
Gain Confidence By Being Good At What You Do
When working on professional development, a lot of discussion goes into presentation. This can sometimes have negative connotations due to the idea that those who focus solely on a projected image lack the substance required to get the job done. I agree with this, as a professional without skills is no professional.
Instead of talking about being confident by faking a smile, or learning just what is necessary to succeed at your current task, spend a little extra time focusing on improving the abilities utilized to succeed at your job. I’m guessing if you’re reading this blog, then you are interested in that sort of thing. This can be accomplished by taking advantage of your down time. Try sacrificing 30 minutes of Facebook time to read more about what professionals in your field are doing. If your time outside of work is precious to you, then find ways to boost your skills while things are slow at your current position. Gaining the skills to be better at what you do is handled one small task at a time, and an extra 30 minutes a day can very likely be the difference between being good at something and being great at it.
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