Understanding the role that personal, professional and industry specific growth plays in your success!
There is no doubt that the world around us is constantly changing, evolving and in most cases, moving forward. Whether you’re a seasoned professional like me, a budding newbie to the industry, or somewhere in the middle, forward progress is critical for your continued growth and success.
My journey of continuous growth started just a few short years ago. In March of 2017, I entered a room of 25 other aspiring Coaches and my world changed forever.
During this year-long program to become a Certified Professional Coach, I discovered what professional development and growth was all about. It’s about me. It’s about me doing the work, sometimes, really hard work, to understand who I am, who I want to be and how I am going to become the best version of me. Because it’s about me, and it’s about you. It’s about you doing the work necessary to reach your goals. It’s about you taking control of your own destiny. My goal is to take one step forward everyday, or as best selling author James Clear said in his book, Atomic Habits, the goal is to be 1% better every day.
I’ve discovered that focusing on 3 core areas have helped me stay the course and reach the place I am today.
Personal Development is the conscious pursuit of self-growth and self-improvement. It's about understanding who you are, identifying your strengths and weaknesses, and taking deliberate steps to become the best version of yourself.
The place to start is answering this question: What areas of your personal life do you want to enhance or improve? Then, ask yourself how can you do this or what resources are needed to make this happen? For some, it may be reading books, which I’m a huge fan of, for others it may be listening to a podcast or attending a group event. There are endless options available to you and the best place to start is Google.
My primary focus recently has been communication and not just basic communication skills, but enhancing my skills around communicating with my children who are 18 and 20. As a Gen X’er, it’s important for me to understand how to effectively communicate with my Gen Z kids and learn how I can support and encourage them along their journey.
Professional development is the targeted enhancement of skills and knowledge specific to your job, desired job or your career path. It's about staying current, competitive, and continually improving in your role.
The importance of professional development is multifaceted. First, it ensures that you are equipped with the latest skills and knowledge, allowing you to perform your best. Second, professional development fosters a culture of learning and excellence within the workplace, promoting collaboration, innovation, and a shared commitment to quality.
My primary area of professional development is about becoming a better leader and trust me when I say this is a journey. There are days when I know I’m at my best, then there are days when I wish I had done things differently, responded in a better way or acted differently - which happens more times than I care to admit. However, when I realize what has happened, I immediately ask myself a few questions: What could I have done differently? What did I learn? What resources do I need that will help me get better? What will I do differently next time?
On my journey of becoming the best leader I can be, I discovered At The Table, a podcast by Patrick Lencioni. I can’t begin to tell you how impactful it has been to listen to this podcast. Additionally, I am a big fan of peer groups and masterminds. There is a lot of power in being part of a group of like-minded people who want to grow and help each other along the way.
I’ve been blessed to be part of the contract interiors industry for over 30 years. I’ve worked with some great organizations and met some amazing people. Like a lot of other “veterans”, I’ve seen our industry change. My first job was in sales at a dealership, where we drew everything by hand using graph paper and pencils and typed our quotes to personally deliver them to our customers.
No technology, no spec tools, no internet and now, look how far we’ve come. Today, you can spec products online and order them with the click of a button. Talk about change - that’s a lot of change.
As an industry, we are in the midst of a dynamic shift that is impacting everyone. Our customers are embracing hybrid work, some are only in the office a couple of days a week. Real estate footprints are getting smaller. Trends are changing and evolving and new ones are emerging. How do we keep up? How do we stay current, especially given the pace at which the change seems to be happening?
We, each and everyone of us, need to become students of our industry. We need industry experts and not product experts.
Becoming an industry expert is a journey that has no destination - there is no finish line, there is only learning, growing and adapting. Some of the things you can do to learn more about our industry include reading, attending trade shows, going to seminars and CEU’s. But there are many other ways to enhance your knowledge, including my favorite, listening to podcasts (i.e the Trend Report) 🙂, taking an online course or attending in-person or virtual panel discussion, especially those that are not scripted where people truly share their thoughts and ideas.
The bottom line, no matter where you are in your career, just start. Start today. Pick one thing and do it - today. Then tomorrow, pick one more and keep going.
Choose you! Invest in you!
You’ve got this and I’m cheering you on each and every step of the way!