“No one can cheat you out of ultimate success, but yourself”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Are you at your final destination? Have you gone as far as your skills will take you? Have you caught destination disease? Become complacent? And now you have accepted that you are where you will be, earning what you earn, doing what you do for the rest of your life? Never tapping into skills that you have, but are not developed yet.
Did you ever wonder how some people who have less intelligence than you seem to have gone farther faster in their careers, businesses or in life? Well, think for a minute that you have the best GPS system on the market; it can take you anyplace you want to go. Of course you want to travel to wonderful, faraway places, maybe even where no one else has gone before….. there is one small problem. Even the top of the line GPS system is not going to get you where you want to go unless you take the initiative and program in a destination!
Initiative is what allows you to take the first step to achieving the life that you deserve….the one you are passionate about. You begin with the initiative to set some goals, put action steps into place to accomplish your goals, and be accountable to achieve them.
You see, the quickest way to get to the end result is program in a plan and then put the action steps into place in order to reach the destination in the shortest, quickest manner. Similarly, when we want to advance in our career, business or in life, we need to know what our destination is. Where is it that we want to go? We then need to take personal initiative to not only set the goal, but to have a plan of action to get there. Make sense? There is another important element when using a GPS…. We all know that we have to program in the destination. But we also have to program in the starting point. It is very important when setting goals and taking action steps to not only know where you want to go, but to know where you are starting. Your starting point is determined by the skills that you have acquired in life thus far. What skills do you have? What skills have you been developing? What skills does it take to bring you to the next level? Knowing the skills you have will lead you in the direction of what skills you need to develop.
Some people understand this initiative, while others do not. Some people learn a determined amount of information and never look to learn anything else. They suffer from Destination Disease.
A famous 20th century cellist by the name of Pablo Casals understood what it means to continue to develop your skills. He began playing the cello at the age of 12. He became the preeminent cellist of the first half of the 20th century. At the age of 85, he continued practicing every day for 5 hours. While being interviewed, a reporter asked him why he continued to practice 5 hours each day….his answer was a lesson to us all, he said, “to get better!”
In today’s market place, if you are not improving, developing your skills and acquiring knowledge, then you are falling behind and soon the co-worker or your biggest competitor has passed you by with less intelligence then you, but has developed the skills needed to continue moving forward.
What I know that I know is that it is better to work smarter, not harder! Developing a skillset and increasing your talents and potential continually will enable you to rise to the top of your industry. The following are 5 ways to get professional development and fit it into your busy life:
- Listening to CD’s & pod casts. I have turned my car into a mobile University. I spend so many hours driving that is has become a source of learning for me.
- Taking an online course. Think about the time you spend on your computer and factor in a course in your field or in a field you are interested in moving into.
- Working with a mentor or Coach. There are so many knowledgeable and experienced people around you. Start tapping into them.
- Reading books. There are numerous books that you can read to continue your education in a specified field, some of which are easy reads.
- Attending workshops. Actually seeking out small group workshops is an interesting and fun way to not only gain skills, but an effective way to network.
Whatever learning style you prefer, just keep learning, growing, and developing your skills. Remember, if you are not moving forward it is like you are standing still, and in the fast times we live in, standing still is like moving backwards when everyone else is passing you by !