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5 Ways to Ignite Your Professional Growth

Personal growth begins and ends with self-awareness. You begin to form your values, beliefs, and what you wish to pursue. It can give you sense of direction and improve your decision-making ability. The following are ways in which you can ignite your motivation, increase resilience, and create more fulfilling relationships. Our hope is that you will branch out and try a new way of absorbing information!

  1. Take a class or attend a conference: Classes and conferences can teach you new skills, give you new ideas and help you connect with like-minded individuals. Valuable relationships can be formed that last long after the class or conference is over. Additionally, they can help to encourage, motivate and inspire you when you may feel like you’ve hit a lull in your career. Some ideas include:

  • Participate in a free webinar

  • Take a class on

  • Take a class through a local university or tech school

  • Attend the Leadercast satellite event that takes place in May every year

  • Attend a conference specific to your industry

  1. Read a professional development book: Reading a book focused on personal and professional development can be a great way to motivate you and introduce you to new techniques and ideas that you can apply to your job and your life. You could even start a book club with colleagues and/or friends where you meet once a month and discuss what you’ve learned and how to apply it. Here’s a short list of books to get you started:

  • Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

  • Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

  • Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson

  • Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath

  • Captivated by Vanessa Edwards

  1. Read a professional development blog or listen to a podcast: If you don’t feel like you have time to dive into a book, a blog or podcast can be a quick and inexpensive way to digest similar information. Podcasts have become a new way to absorb information. You can listen while doing chores around the house or on your morning commute - they make the task at hand entertaining. Businesses have started utilizing podcasts in marketing, communication efforts, and to increase engagement. Here's a short list of blogs and podcasts ranging from professional development to entertainment:

  • Mind Tools blog

  • How did you get into that? Grant Baldwin, SpeakerLab

  • Freakonomics, NPR

  • Productivityist, Mike Vardy

  • PlanetMoney, NPR

  • Serial, Sarah Koenig

  • Radiolab, NPR

  • Criminal, NPR

  1. Volunteer for or join a local organization: Serving on a board or joining a local club or organization can help develop and sharpen your leadership skills. It can also help you utilize your current skills in a different way or in a different industry. In addition, it’s a great way to network and meet leaders in the community. Did you know that AYP has a program called Get On Board that is specifically designed to connect and engage young professionals with local nonprofit organizations in the Big Country? Check it out!

  2. Get a mentor in your field or a related field: A mentor can be an infinitely valuable resource to your professional journey. A mentor can give you an opportunity to reflect on your own practices, enhance peer recognition, and widen your understanding. They can also answer questions and provide advice, offer encouragement and suggest areas of personal improvement, and connect you to people and opportunities. The benefits of having a mentor are endless, and finding the right mentor can be a key factor to your professional development and success.

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