There’s good news and bad news when it comes to personal and professional development. The good news is, more than ever, there are plenty of opportunities for women seeking growth. The bad news is, many women are either inundated by the number of options or choose the wrong ones. How do you know where to go for inspiration, encouragement, challenge, and growth? Here’s some insight.
Recent research indicated 80 percent of leaders could probably benefit from additional training or development. If you’ve ever felt alone in your pursuit of personal or professional growth, or that no one else would understand, that statistic should give you peace. You are definitely not alone. So how do you begin? There are do’s and don’ts when it comes to your journey.
The Do’s of Professional Development
Do go out of your comfort zone – remember, growth happens when we are stretched beyond what is usually comfortable or “safe”. Possess an open mindset as you begin your personal or professional development training journey.
Do your research – if you’re unsure of where to start, start with the basics. Open a book. Listen to a podcast. Follow people and causes on social media you enjoy or admire. Find a blog written by someone whose style or brand you feel a connection to. Even typing in professional and personal development into Google results in 23,000,000 results.
Do be unapologetic in your quest for improvement and growth – women are notorious, unfortunately, for putting their needs last. That’s very common for anyone trying to navigate all of life’s wonderful “things” – like families, careers, hobbies, and passion projects. At the end of each day’s 24 hours, what is left? It will take a shift in priorities and commitment to be relentless towards putting yourself first and admitting you’re okay with admitting it!
Do find a mentor or a coach – this is another area women often struggle with – asking for help. There is absolutely no shame in seeking out support for things you want guidance or education on. It’s no different from a personal trainer, taking cooking classes, or learning how to golf with private lessons. If you want to get better and improve the skills you already have, look for someone who specializes in that development.
The Don’ts of Professional Development
Don’t compare yourself to others – a sentiment we’ve been taught our whole lives. Perhaps it’s something you’re even teaching your children. It’s impossible not to notice people around you, but it is possible to focus on you and what you can control. Women have different personal and professional skills just like they have different eye color or height than you.
Don’t sell yourself short – it’s important to remember you are improving the skills you already have. If the process seems monumental, break it down. Focus on the single, solitary reason or goal you have. Being specific will help it seem less overwhelming. Change your thinking from I want to be a better leader to something more focused, like: I want to handle conflict in my job better.
Don’t neglect your strengths – wanting to improve or progress as a leader is great. But it’s important to remember that developing strengths is more successful than developing weaknesses. Now is not the time to downplay the skills or areas where you shine. Assess how they contribute to your leadership style and how they can continue to amplify your role.
Don’t give up – change is hard. Habits take
Developing Personal and Professional Leaders
The path to personal growth and leadership development is different for every single woman. Finding a network or group facilitator you feel connection and rapport with will help you become a better leader and inspire the people around you to improve their skills as well.