As life goes on, we typically encounter a variety of challenges, changing environments, and new roles that require us to adapt. Our ability to manage change is important and necessary for our personal and professional success, and professional development may be something that can help you reach those goals. It helps us to avoid stagnating or getting stuck in a rut both personally and professionally. To keep from getting in a rut or to get out of one, you may be wondering how to begin your journey towards professional development – especially if you are juggling full-time work with the care of your family. This may sound overly simple, but the honest truth is that the journey begins with you!
Professional development is closely tied to self-awareness. Through observation and reflection, we pause to take an honest look at ourselves. In the process, we get to know who we really are: what our core values are, our strengths and talents, where we see room for improvement, and the direction we would like to go. If working with a coach is an option, they will help you create a roadmap and guide you along this important journey of self-discovery. While there is no set way to do this, the roadmap to professional development with a coach may unfold something like this:
- Knowing yourself – Through a process of reflection, meditation, taking assessments, and asking yourself important questions, you can get to know yourself better. You may be surprised by your discoveries of untapped talents, abilities, and strengths. You will also become more familiar with your conditioning, filters, the mental models that you subconsciously follow, as well as the habits that help or impede your growth.
- Knowing your why – Asking yourself why you are here and what your vision is for your life and career can be transformational. These are powerful questions such as: Who are you? What is your purpose? Where are you going? Are you thriving, or merely surviving? Do you feel your work environment recognizes and supports who you really are?
Manifesting Your Intention
Once you know who you are and what your “why” is, the next challenge is to know how to manifest this intention, your vision. Many of us may know and feel where we would like to be in our life and work, but we don’t know how to make this happen. It begins with these steps:
- Setting your intention – Having a very clear intention is essential. Without it, we often flounder, not knowing and the actions and goals needed to manifest our desires. An intention could be, for example, to start your own wellness business and work for yourself while also helping others.
- Creating realistic goals – Now that you have a clear intention you can create a series of goals and a timeline for achieving them.
- What small steps do you need to take to manifest your vision?
- Do you need to obtain more skills?
- Do you need to invest in a training or certification program, so you have the qualifications you need? If so, creating a task list – which might contain small actions such as looking into licensing or certification programs – could be your first step towards activating your intention.
- Achieving your goals – While it is up to us to take action and do the work needed to achieve our goals, having an accountability partner such as a coach, supportive friend or colleague would be very helpful at this juncture. An accountability partner will help you mark your progress, encourage you if you lose steam, and help you regroup if you get off track or lose sight of your intention.
- Celebrating your milestones– Achieving even one small goal along the way is something to be acknowledged and celebrated. Reflective journaling and noting important milestones in a calendar will give you the positive perspective you need to forge your way forward. A supportive group that can celebrate with you is even better! In the words of Vicky Saunders, Founder, SheEO “Who you are surrounded by often determines who you become.”
Becoming Who You Are
There is nothing more fulfilling than becoming who you are designed to be; who you came here to be both personally and professionally! While life and work are bound to throw problems at us, with plenty of twists and turns in our journeys, knowing who we are, anchors us to a deeper and more meaningful reality. By overcoming challenges, we become stronger and even more deeply committed to our unique vision.
We hope these points will inspire you to begin the journey of knowing yourself and knowing your “why” in life. We encourage you to manifest your intentions through greater self-awareness, professional development, and continued growth.