Whether you’re new to the practice of setting goals or a seasoned vet- chances are, as a youth activity center owner, director or manager, you spend a majority of your time thinking about what you can do to take you and your team’s skill set to the next level.
Think back to a time in your life when you really wanted to achieve something. Did you get farther when the idea swirled around your head, or when you had a solid growth strategy in place? I’m guessing you got farther with a strategy.
That’s why setting and working to achieve professional development goals is important to maintaining a productive business, and for overall professional growth.
8 professional development tips
The end of 2020 is in sight. [insert happy dance here]
With the end of the year just around the corner, here are 8 professional development goals you can set for yourself to help prepare you for a much-needed new year:
1. Learn a new skill
How long have you been in the youth activity industry?
If you think you know about your job, your industry or your business, do yourself a favor and realize that there is always something more for you to learn.
As unpredictable as the future is- think about where you want to be in your career next year. What skills do you need to obtain to help you achieve that next goal? Think about the skills that will:
- make you an industry leader in your market.
- prepare you for the next level of management at your facility.
- put your classes in high demand when registration rolls around again.
Whatever it is, be proactive and find out what you have to do to learn that skill. Once you’ve identified the opportunity, put a plan of action together to achieve it.
2. Start networking
Love it or hate it, networking is a huge part of professional development. Yep, even virtual networking.
We’ve all had that awkward moment when we open your mouth to speak and all the wrong words come out.
Yeah, that moment. But you’re not alone. In a way, experiencing that awkward moment is like a rite of passage for those who want to grow professionally via networking with others in their industry.
A good professional network will provide you a pool of people from which you can exchange ideas, advice and support. Attending events (both virtually and in real life) with your peers will help elevate your profile as a thought leader in your industry and can open up a world of professional opportunities for you in the future.
Need help finding places to network? A great place to start is with your class management software provider!
3. Pick up a book to read
While it may sound simple, reading can impact your career in numerous ways.
Ask other swim school, gymnastics gym or dance studio owners how many books they read per year. Chances are you will be very surprised.
I know what you’re saying- ‘Who has time to read these days?’ I hear you.
But did you know that reading can help expand your vocabulary, improve writing skills, reduce stress levels (hey-oh!) and enhance your analytical skills? All of these are important tools you can use in your arsenal to grow your career.
When selecting your next book to dive into, it’s important to remember the goals you want to achieve. Looking to boost your leadership skills? Then maybe don’t pick up that book on time management.
4. Get a grip on your work-life balance
Does work-life balance even apply to 2020?
I’m going to come right out and say it: creating a healthy work-life balance, even during a global pandemic, is important.
Work-life balance is all about establishing healthy boundaries between your work life and personal life. While it may be difficult to uphold the don’t take work home with you goal from year’s past when you’re working from home, you can absolutely set a precedent with your team that you will not work over a certain number of hours per day.
5. Step out of your comfort zone
Do you underestimate yourself? Did you know that a lack of confidence, not believing in your abilities, and fear of failure can be holding you back in your career?
Let’s do an exercise. Write down everything you want to accomplish next year. (Yeah, I’m already looking ahead to the end 2020!) Under each goal write what benefits you have to gain from achieving the goal and what you stand to lose if you fall short of obtaining the goal.
If the potential gains outweigh the risks, set a plan of action together for how you want to achieve that goal next year. And don’t let fear get in the way.
When all else fails, remind yourself that the real magic takes place in the space outside our comfort zone!
6. Turn weaknesses into strengths
Professional development shouldn’t just be about building upon your strengths. While that’s important, so is improving upon your weaknesses.
Don’t know how to identify your weaknesses? If you have an annual review on the horizon, consider asking your boss or peers for the areas in which they think you can improve. Don’t take offense to their feedback. Use their honest opinion to set goals for yourself on how you can turn your weaknesses into your strengths.
Pro tip: Ask your team to identify your strengths as well. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you hear.
7. Improve your communication skills
If you’ve ever been around people, you know just how hard it can be to share and receive ideas. If no one communicates, nothing gets done.
Whether you need help understanding different communication styles, communicating your vision to a group of people or receiving criticism from others- learning strategies to improve how you communicate will help thrust you forward on your career path.
8. Get yourself organized
“The state of your bed is the state of your head.”
Who heard that growing up?
The same applies to your workspace. Creating a workspace void of clutter can reduce stress and increase productivity. This includes both your desk and desktop.
Removing distractions such as the T.V. in your office and limiting your social media intake during the day can help you spend more time accomplishing important tasks and less time tuning into distractions.
When thinking about your professional development goals for the remainder of 2020, don’t get scared, be SMART. Yep, that means each goal needs to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.
A great place to find guidance and an abundance of professional development opportunities is at Jackrabbit’s first Virtual BOOST Conference. Explore all that’s new in class management software during this completely virtual, two-day event December 7 & 8. Coming soon to a couch near you!