Personal & Professional Development: It’s On You.

Personal and professional development

We all like to believe we are original thinkers and I’m no different. On the recent return from facilitating professional development with a talented group of career sales types, I was motivated to tackle this subject: Professional and personal growth. As I began writing, I noticed that, over the last several days, a few in my network had also tackled this subject in varying degrees and talk tracks…so I must be right!

And the idea is this: you are your own magic beans. Remember the storytime favorite: Jack and the Beanstalk? Our illustrious hero, Jack, of Beanstalk fame, created an amazing “stairway” to his next version of himself. Jack wanted more for himself and his family so with a handful of magic beans (initially thought to be dubious in their powers) he grew one freaking big beanstalk and climbed to the sky, exceeding his upper limits and well, we all know the rest of the story. Ultimately, Jack kicked some ass and came down a different person.

Where is this going? As I see it, it’s up to you to create your own growth path, invest in yourself, and make it to the next version of you. Others can provide forums for you, e.g. your company can immerse you in training, mentoring and coaching, paying your way albeit with the idea that your changes will make their bottom line more effective. And, while a great trade-off ensues, it’s never clear if we really make a shift. It might not necessarily be our choice in that instance.

Enter you, me, us. No matter what, if you want to evolve to the next version of you, then the responsibility is yours. We as human beings must always move forward to experience the true nature of why we are here. In Co-Active model coaching the foundational perspective is that we BE (Co-) and Do (Active). If we just BE then we are stuck in ideation. It’s an academic exercise. If we just Do, then we are ditch diggers, never picking up our heads, day in and day out, digging that ditch until we hit our goal, or the curb in front of our house!

The modern professional has a responsibility — to their organization, their community, and most importantly themselves — to evolve and move their life and contribution(s) forward. The world needs and requires more of you and only you can make that happen. Be there for it.

How do we make this happen?

  • What do you want for yourself next? Consider this and make a real point of writing it down and speaking it aloud. We know that when we do this, we imprint these goals and the chances for it to be real increases exponentially.
  • Be a learner. Pick things of interest to you and learn them. It gets you into the habit of learning regardless of the subject.
  • Connect your learning to your values. Yes, values are a new buzz word yet very few of us can identify values important to us. Identify them, decide why and how they show up in your life, and make your learning choices based on whether or not you are honoring those values.
  • Focus. When you are in learning mode, nothing else gets in. No interruptions; plan your frequency and be ruthless in protecting your learning space.
  • Enjoy! Enjoy the journey. Enjoy the experience. Enjoy the possibilities that emerge.

No one is going to do this for you. For many years, I would walk into my parents’ house and I would always fixate on the VCR (remember those?) with the clock blinking incessantly at 12:00AM. Blinking, blinking, blinking. I made a decision right then and there to never be unable to make that go away. To never remain at a level keeping me from learning new things. I know this about Jack. When he climbed that beanstalk, grabbed that goose and taunted that Giant, on his way out, he reprogrammed the clock on that damned VCR. No wonder the Giant chased him. All he really wanted to know was “How the hell did he do that?”

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