Did you ever start down a path of improving yourself and think, “Oh boy, what am I getting into here?” Did you turn back or did you keep going? Professional and personal development is not for the faint of heart. It is often a winding road with various twists and turns and sometimes even a few U-turns and caution lights. Inevitably, you will come face to face with some things that you may not want to know about yourself, things that are uncomfortable to acknowledge. And yet, the path forward is through that acknowledgment. How do you keep moving forward? Here are three keys to successful professional and personal growth.
Successfully navigating the development path takes courage, commitment, and consistency.
Cultivate Courage. Courage, according to Merriam Webster is to “persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.” Looking at opportunities to improve can feel, to many, a lot like poking the bear; one does not always know what the response is going to be. It takes courage to turn the focus from something outside of yourself to what you need to address to improve. Often, the judgment people pile on themselves inhibits them from even starting down the road of professional development as well as the stories they make up in their heads about who they are. Courage is required to start and to hang in there when it gets tough or uncomfortable and make it to the other side.
Strengthen Your Commitment. There is nothing selfish about investing in your development. It is a natural part of human nature to want to grow and flourish. It takes a commitment to take the first step on a path to grow professionally and personally. It is rare that whether one starts his or her path towards professional growth that it doesn’t also lead to personal growth and vice versa. You will need commitment along with the courage to own what you need to own and to take charge of what is under your control to see the process through to its natural conclusion. You are worth the committment. The one thing that can be a common obstacle in any development path is resistance and it can take out the most courageous if there is a weak commitment to follow through and complete the journey.
Apply Consistency. If you have ever started a diet or a workout program you understand the importance of consistency. Lasting improvement needs effort beyond a one-off workshop or seminar. You must consistently move forward building on successes in the process to get to your desired outcome. People are very prone to snapping back into habitual behaviors and beliefs. The development process is all about consistently challenging and changing those behaviors and beliefs because of the awareness that they no longer serve to help you to reach your desired state of flourishing. Consistency is also supported by courage and commitment, by investing the time and energy to see the process through. That is until you are ready to take on the next layer.
The natural inclination of the human spirit is upwards, towards growth. It is why people tend to get restless and a little cagey when they feel as though they are stagnating. Any type of growth, whether it is organizational, professional or personal is a lot like eating a bloomin’ onion at an Outback restaurant; there is always another layer. Please do not let that idea overwhelm you. The really good news is that your development is within your control. The benefits and fulfillment you experience from incremental growth will feed and support you to go deeper when needed as you flourish. Take a leap, find your courage, commit to your growth and implement consistency. The sky is the limit!
Here’s to your growth and development! #seeitthrive
Sue Kenfield works with organizations, teams and individuals to move through the status quo to a state of flourishing. She transforms complex human dynamics that interfere with organizational and individual performance and success. She is a speaker on emotional intelligence, leadership, communication, and collaboration.