Do you want growth and development in your career? Instead of thinking about your career coming before family, or being placed as a higher priority than your spiritual life, think about your career as a slice within your personal life pie. Each area of your life has a different size pie slice, depending on the importance of that area of life at any given moment. And everyone’s priorities or pie slice sizes are different.
Here are three ways you can experience growth by focusing on the development of your career!
Education is key; it’s essential in order to advance your skills. You might educate yourself by attending educational events, seminars, expos, or by watching videos and tutorials. The education aspect of growing your career is so important. Without it, it can be very hard to gain traction in your industry. How will you commit to advancing your education? It could look like scheduling thirty minutes in your calendar, once per week, to read a book that you’ve heard would impact your professional environment. Small, obtaining strategies will lead to success.
You could also plan to gain educational experiences by proactively booking three events per year. That’s about one per quarter, and you could even take the Summer off! You could think about having guest speakers that come to your business every couple of months. P.S. I know this girl who may be a good fit for you (wink).
How do you respond to education?
Many of you know that I’m heavily involved in the beauty industry, so allow me to use this industry to give you an example. Ask yourself, if translated into your world, can you relate?
I’ve seen stylists who attend educational events and then completely revert back to what they’ve always done. They did not apply what they learned because it was uncomfortable stepping out of their comfort zones. It’s sometimes painful to implement new techniques, systems and/or processes. Yet, we believe that if we would, we’d benefit greatly. In the beauty industry, if you aren’t changing with the times, the times are going to change without you, and you’ll become outdated. Eventually, you may lose clientele if they become bored with you or mature in their styles before you do.
I personally struggled from the opposite. As soon as I learned something new, I’d want to apply what I had learned to and for everyone. I once attended an intimate razor cutting class with Wayne Grund, the Founder of Surface Hair. I came back from his workshop and was way too excited about applying what I learned and I ended up giving this long-haired teenage girl a disastrous haircut. I used the razor on her fine hair and I took too much weight out, which left her with even less hair than she started with. If you use the razor in this inappropriate way, the hair becomes very tangled and delicate. Needless to say, I never worked with her again. She and her mom were so unhappy that I ended up losing both of them as clients. Lesson learned? When you learn new things, don’t be afraid to try them, but make sure you have a trial period or practice period prior to launching full force!
You may sometimes fear that you won’t be as good as the professionals you see at an event or in a video. You’re probably right! At least at first, very few new skills should come totally natural to you. It’s like being at beauty school before you even know what a zero-degree haircut is. Learning new things takes time, but you have to be willing to invest in yourself if you want the long term benefits that will propel your career success.
Development Through Networking
This is another huge way to get to that self-mastery. For the most part, everyone either totally loves or completely dislikes networking. I believe that networking is essentially getting out, and meeting new people, and getting to know them. If you’re always hanging out with the same people, you have no idea what you could be learning and gaining from new relationships. There may come a time where you realize that you’re outgrowing those around you, and you might need to be around new people that offer more than what you already have. It sounds negative, but it just means that you could be moving at a different pace than those around you.
Who can you get out and start meeting? Where can you go to start meeting new people? There are very few times when I haven’t benefited from networking. I remember going to a local chamber of commerce event and it just so happened that a person I had networked with in the past introduced me to Spencer X Smith. He’s brilliant at marketing, social media and writing for well-respected business magazines. He’s an expert in areas that I am not. We started meeting once a month, and I would spend a lot of the time taking notes. We bounced ideas off of each other, but I tried to absorb as much of what he said as I could. It was a great opportunity for me to talk to someone who excels in different areas, and as a result, I’ve learned so much. He also provided me with resources that I never previously had access to and invited me to events that I’d never been to. He became an advocate on my behalf and talked about me to other professionals.
Because of all of this, I ended up having an opportunity to speak at UW Madison. They have an event called MUBS, which stands for Midwest Undergraduate Business Summit. The talk I gave was called “What every young entrepreneur needs to know to be successful.” There were 60 amazing, young adults in attendance and they were eager to learn. It was awesome. And none of this would’ve happened had I not been willing to network, willing to ask questions and willing to apply what I’ve learned. At the end of the day, networking always leads to growth in your career.
Spend Time with A-Players
Have you heard the “Rule of Five”? You become most like the five people you spend the most time with. So it makes sense that if you want to get better, you must hang out with those who are better. When you start hanging around people that perform at a higher level than you do, what happens? You’re able to see how they interact with their clients, how they communicate, and witness some of their non-verbal communication skills as well. These are all important things to pay attention to if you want to advance yourself.
How do these people sell products or services? How do they retain their clients, or gain new referrals? How are they following up with their clients after they experienced working with you? If you can observe and identify the strengths of those A-players, and ask some questions, then you should be able to start taking action. Mimic their positive characteristics and you should slowly but surely reach the same level of performance.
If you try doing any or all of these steps, I guarantee that you’ll start seeing increased success very soon. Spend time networking, learning from the right people, and continue to be educated throughout your life and career, and you’ll be so much closer to your goals that as of today, may seem out of reach.