Simple Steps to Measure and Manage Your Professional Development
Do you remember when you were a kid and would track your growth by making marks on the door of your room?
You probably got excited every time you made a new mark which was higher than the previous.
If you did that then you have the secret to making changes in your life. You already have the secret to advancing your career and building unstoppable momentum.
“What gets measured gets improved.” - Peter Drucker
If you have been reading this series of articles, you have 1) Defined what Professional Development means for you and 2) Designed a Plan to make it happen. Now, we need to track that development to build momentum and reinforce those good habits.
This should be as simple as possible. It should be part of your monthly and weekly planning. Add a couple of simple steps to your days, and you will be on your way to achieving the impossible.
Something that has been very valuable for me is having a Results Planner, to keep track of the daily habits that taken my career to the next level.
Several of the habits I track are: Journaling, Meditation, Health, Reading, Finance. Are you tracking the daily habits which will allow you to improve?
If you do, excellent! If you don’t, even better because you will make the most out of what we will share here.
The goal of this article is to give you the tools to measure your professional development so that you can advance your career.
You Can Make It Happen
Alejandro will discuss daily steps where you can see immediate results. I want to go a little more abstract. Let’s just say Alejandro will cover the micro and I will cover the macro on how to track your professional development.
The Paradox of Expertise is fascinating because it explains why many people simply stop learning which means they stop progressing. Basically, as children, we learn exponentially since everything is new. I love watching my son learn. He is only 3 which means he is an athlete, artist, musician, engineer (Lego is life), and the most creative person I know. Each day is a new learning experience and I want to push him in all the above areas.
Eventually, someone, likely a teacher, will tell him he can’t draw, sing, or do something else he enjoys. I still remember the moment an authority figure said I wasn’t creative. It devastated me to the point I stopped building things. I didn’t start creating again until I was 30. Since turning 30 I have written nearly 150 blogs, designed numerous websites, had advertisements run in print and online magazines, learned to code, and built more slide decks than I can count.
I have always been creative but stopped working on the skill as I fell into two traps. 1) I listened to someone say I wasn't creative and believed them. 2) I was stuck in the Paradox of Expertise. I became good at what I did (teaching and working at a non-profit) to the point I wasn’t growing. There came a time where I could easily teach a college course in the morning and then head to work at the non-profit office in the afternoon. I did good, sometimes excellent, work and my development stagnated.
“Most people die at 25 and aren’t buried until they’re 75.” ― Benjamin Franklin
What about you? Are you good at your job but not growing? What new skill did you learn last year? What ability are you learning this year?
Before 2016, I had never built a website. Since then I have launched 7 for my consulting business and helped with strategy on numerous others.
You can do so much when you keep leaning.
There is a theme of childhood learning in this article. You must recapture the love of learning you had as a child to make massive leaps in your professional development.
My son doesn’t learn because he wants more money, he learns because he loves to uncover new things.
- He paints because he is able to create.
- He reads Batman books because he LOVES superheroes.
- He planted a flower last week because he wants to see it grow.
When is the last time you learned something new just to gain a skill? Like I said, Alejandro will get to the granular levels, and I want to challenge you on the macro. Choose one skill to work on for the next 6-months. Write it somewhere visible where you will see it every day. Then work on that skill. You will be amazed at your transformation in half a year.
Two things will happen, 1) you will enjoy learning for the sake of learning, 2) you will increase your earning potential. Do you know who is promoted to executive level positions? Those with generalized skills not specialists. I see it all the time in my consulting practice when I meet with executives. They are skilled in numerous areas and have made it to the top because they continually get better.
You can do the same and Alejandro will explain how below.
This is exactly how I track the habits that allow me to build momentum in my life and career.
I track several simple but key activities that I have identified as the most important ones at this point in my career.
Every day, I go through my checklist of Journaling, Meditation, Health, Reading, and Finance. It's as simple as that.
All weeks look different, and there are other sections of my Results Planner where I keep track of specific activities/projects. But the recurring habits are those 5.
By taking care of my body, mind, and soul, I will be in the best position to tackle any professional and personal challenges that life throws my way.
Do I have a 100% success rate? Of course not, some days I don’t exercise as much as I’d like. Some days I only read the 10-page minimum I have established for myself. Also, some days I eat fast food or miss checking how the markets closed.
Yet, by having this simple checklist I stay focused on exactly what I need to do and I stay true to it more often than not.
Have you identified those simple and key activities? Do you have the tools to do so?
By this point, after reading our full series on Professional Development, you should be able to answer YES to those questions. If not, it is because you are like most people… lazy!
The good news is that you can decide TODAY to START DOING and STOP COMPLAINING.
This simple checklist has allowed me to read at least 5 books so far this year. It has allowed me to lose a couple of pounds, maintaining my lean mass, without exercising much. It has allowed me to maintain a streak of 220+ days of meditation.
What is it that you want to change during 2017? You now have everything you need to do so.
Start small. Start with committing to reading 10 pages per day, or eating clean just 1 day a week. Maybe you can only commit to 10 pull-ups of push-ups. That is excellent, because the key is to build the habit and track it.
All you need is:
Now GO MAKE IT HAPPEN!
Tell us Your Story
We want to hear your story! How are you tracking your success? What are you learning? Are you someone who journals?
Tell us below in the comments, we love to hear from the caffeinated community! Also make sure to stay connected with our free monthly resources, if you haven’t joined the community do so now by clicking HERE.
Alejandro I. Sanoja & Matt Avery