How Far Should You Take Professional Development

You know professional development is important. You heard and read about it pretty much everywhere.

But how much professional development is enough?

When should you put a hold on it?

Why keep learning?

We live in a fast-paced world. It’s amazing how many things changed over the last three years in social media, only.

Did you imagine 15 years ago you could read a blog post like this one from another corner of the world?

How about communicating in real-time with someone from another continent?

Yeah, me neither.

Yet, here we are. We use social media to connect and communicate with people all over the world. We use it to buy things, and we use it to educate ourselves.

There is so much information out there today, that sometimes you may feel overwhelmed.

You want to learn new things to help you in your job or business. But where should you start? When to find the time for it?

Isn’t it better to keep focusing on what you’re doing now and do more of that?

The answer to this last question is simple: It depends.

Gini Dietrich and I were talking the other day about AI (artificial intelligence) and how it’s expected to be used more and more, and replace human jobs.

It may sound like science fiction, but it’s closer than you think. Companies such as Facebook, Google, Amazon are already deep in research on AI. It’s just a matter of time until we will start seeing it “at work.”

Back to your professional development, how do you think this fast-paced world we live in, AI, will affect your job or business?

Don’t think it will?

History is a great teacher if you pay attention to it. Take a look back at companies that did not think a phone could take photos, or at companies that did not think television could be more than a box in your house.

How are you going to avoid that?

And before you say it’s not in your hands, let me tell you it is only up to you if you have a job or a business in the next five years.

Put Your Professional Development on Fast Forward

How can you stay ahead of trends, while doing your daily job?

The short answer is to invest in yourself on a daily basis.

Here is how to do it, so you can see progress and feel fulfilled:

Know Your Strengths

Gary Vaynerchuk says not to waste time trying to work on your weaknesses, but rather focus on your strengths.

I agree with him. I could never sing or draw.

You know what you’re good at. It’s why you’re in the job or business you’re in right now.

But if that’s not the case, audit what you’re good at, what it’s easy for you to do, what makes you feel fulfilled.

Write it down. If you want to makes this work, don’t bet on your memory, write everything down.

Now that you know your strengths, think of ways you could take them to a whole new level.

Then, start looking for mentors who could help you do that.

Take it a step forward, look for online courses, read blogs, online magazines, books that have the info you want.

I have a self-made rule about that: If I take just one idea from a book I’m reading or an article, and apply that idea to become better at my craft, it was a good book/article.

It’s up to you to define what a good book, article, course is. But keep in mind that it always has to take you at least one step forward in your career or business.

Daily Habits

You may not like this, but if you want to be the best at your craft, and ahead of trends you have no other option than do it.

Make a daily habit to read and practice a new idea you read about. Yes, it needs to be on a daily basis, so your brain gets used to absorbing lots of different info, and later make new neural connections and give you creative ideas.

If you think every day is too much, let’s look at the facts:

Let’s say once a week it’s easier for you. There are 52 weeks in a year. If you get one new idea each week for the next five years you’d have 260 new ideas to implement in your job or business.

Pretty cool, huh?

Not exactly.

This is a trial and error process. Some ideas are good, some are bad, some can’t be applied. Sometimes you read an entire book or take an online course, only to realize it’s not what you expected. So no learning there.

But if you do this exercise on a daily basis, you’d have 1820 potential ideas in the span of five years.

Let’s go further and say half of them are not good or can’t be applied. You’re still left with 910 ideas to improve your professional development.

How’s that compared to 260 ideas?

How would you compare to someone investing in their professional development on a daily basis?

Do you stand a chance? Don’t think so.

Now let me ask you, how far should you take your professional development?

And how much is too much?