I’ve got an investment tip for you.
It’s guaranteed to bring rewards in the future, no matter what happens with the stock market. It’s an investment that will help you respond and be flexible to change; in fact it’s an investment that thrives on change. Is it gold? Technology? Star Wars collectibles? No, the investment I’m talking about is you. It is the absolute wisest thing you can do with your time, energy and money as you push off into the New Year.
Invest in yourself by designing your own professional and personal development. But how do you design said development suited to help you reach your potential? What would it cover? What do you need to know? What aspects of yourself do you want to develop? Imagine a custom program to fit your personal/professional development.
You can do it. In fact, no one can do it better than you. Here’s how:
1. Be true to the spirit of professional and personal development.
Professional development is a system of continuous growth and learning. Don’t be satisfied with the occasional workshop, seminar or graduate course. Plan to make your learning and development ongoing. Want a simple goal in this regard? Read two new books in your field every month. Keep the list of titles and dates in your journal, day timer, on your computer or iPad. Just make sure you can look at it, add to it, and feel confident that you are, in fact, growing.
2. Make an assessment of how you want to improve.
What aspects of yourself do you want to build upon in your professional life? In your personal life? Could you use some work on communication, writing, conflict resolution, assertiveness, leading meetings, or stress management? Could you use some help on balancing work life issues? Make a list for your eyes only. Watch for opportunities to target those areas of self-improvement.
3. Start a personal/professional development library of your own.
Designate a place at home, or at the office, where you will put the articles, journals, books, and other methods of study that you are using to grow. Think of it as your "weight room" of the mind where you’ll get stronger and more resilient.
4. Make a commitment to try something new and challenging.
Stretch yourself beyond what you know you can already do. Accept an assignment or push an idea forward that will tax your skills and ability. Why make the effort? Here’s a parallel from the world of health. Muscles only get stronger one way: through resistance. As a result of pushing yourself with a new challenge, you’ll be stronger as a professional.
5. Evaluate whether you’re being a change agent.
The ultimate goal of professional and personal development is to facilitate change. You don’t have to be a world-beater, but you do want your presence to be felt in your field and in your network. Extend your own vision, call for change when necessary, make waves even. Don’t just go with the flow - that’s for dead fish!
As long as change is inevitable, you should use its momentum to carry you along. Invest in yourself and be prepared to hitch a ride on the power of the future - the certainty of change.
I know some of you will read this and think, okay I’ll try these resolutions and see if they’ll work. There's a scene in a favorite movie of mine, Star Wars, in which Yoda is teaching a young Luke how to be a Jedi Knight. Yoda instructs Luke to do something and Luke responds with,"I’ll give it a try," to which Yoda responds, "No. Try not. Do or do not. There is no try!"
I say, "Do!"
About the Writer: Gabriel Najera is the president & founder of Najera Consulting Group and we consider him the Yoda of strategic consulting. He is also the author of the forthcoming book, Lessons From the Field: From Farmworker to Fortune 500 Consultant.
Would you like help developing your 2016 personal/professional development plan?
Gabriel also oversees a thriving coaching practice. He merges energy and enthusiasm working with clients on every aspect of their personal and professional development. To inquire about Gabriel’s coaching services or to set up a free 1 hour strategy session please click here.