Whether you’re new to the practice of setting goals or a seasoned vet- chances are, as a working professional, you spend a majority of your time thinking about what you can do to take your skill set to the next level.
Think back to a time in your life where your really wanted to achieve something. Did you get further 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 goal with the latter in place.
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
With the end of the year in sight, here are 8 professional development goals you can set for yourself to help end the year strong.
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.
Whether you’re an owner, manager or instructor- 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.
We’ve all had that awkward moment when you 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 with such people 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? Two great places to start are through your local Chamber of Commerce and with volunteer programs in your community.
3. Pick up a book to read
While it may sound simple, reading can impact your career in numerous ways.
Ask your CEO, or anyone on your company’s executive team how many books they read per year. Chances are you will be very surprised.
According to career site, Monster, reading can help expand your vocabulary, improve your writing skills, reduce stress levels and enhance your analytical skills. 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 the term ‘work-life balance’ leave you rolling your eyes? If so, this section is for you.
I’m going to come right out and say it: creating a healthy work-life balance is important, even if it means diverting some of your attention away from your business.
Think about the relationship you have with your employees, your family and your friends. Do you feel like something is lacking? Do these relationships seem strained? Are you burnt out in one of these areas?
If yes, take the rest of the year to really examine the boundaries you’ve built between your work and personal life. Those boundaries could include sticking to an eight-hour work day, not taking work home with you, or only checking emails during a designated time while out of the office.
Whatever boundaries you land on, sticking to a strategy will help you prevent burn out. Bonus: you’ll probably find that you’re getting more done when you’re at work, too!
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. Pro tip: 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.
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 Solitaire from your home screen 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 2019, 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 BOOST, the Jackrabbit Class User Conference. Explore all the amazing advantages professionals in the youth activity industry will experience at this three-day user conference this November in Las Vegas.