When we work in organisations, there are usually some ways to invest in your professional development. As you gain experience, tenure or seniority, this may shift from technical skills like writing or management 101 to executive presence or personal brand. I work with women who are looking for more results, for themselves, for their department, team, organisation or business. One of the things that I have found is that if they want a specific skill, they have to put a business case together, pay for it themselves and then “prove” to their boss that there has been an impact. I congratulate these women for realising that there is a gap and working hard to close the gap, but it also astounds me as to how many organisations don’t back their people when it comes to leadership development. Developing your people should be at the top of your list as a boss.
Imagine if you decided that you weren’t going to invest in yourself over the coming year? Don’t get me wrong; sometimes there are seasons in life where taking on something additional will not work. I had one of my clients call me who had been given a fantastic development opportunity, and she was about a week away from having her first bub. She was keen to do it and take it on, and she did, and she found it very tough with a new-born, but that choice isn’t always for everyone. If you leave your learning in other people’s hands, it will go nowhere; you need to be proactive about getting out there and finding the right opportunities for yourself to learn and grow.
Here is the process that I go through with my clients and for myself. Feel free to use it for yourself if it resonates:
- In June, start thinking about where you want to be a year from now
- Use the start of the financial year to plan
- Map them out in priority order
- Speak to the boss
- Book it in asap
In June, start thinking about where you want to be a year from now, what you want to be doing for a role, in life, in business, what you want to learn.
At the beginning of a financial year, sit down and look at all the things that you would like to learn over the coming year. I pick the fiscal year (not a calendar year) because I want to know what type of year I have had, cash flow wise, and most budgeting cycles start 1st July, so if there wasn’t money in last year’s budget, there might be in this year’s budget.
Map out in priority order which ones are the most important to your business, your growth, your team/department or company and which ones can wait. I personally always have two or three I would like to do, and each year, as you go through this exercise, you will see what you did last year and what you can do the following year.
Do your research- ask around, ask for referrals from people who have done similar training, courses or learning and had an experience who are willing to share their experience with you.
Speak to the boss (that could be you if you are running your own business), is there money to invest in your growth? What do you need to do to get the opportunity? Some companies want a business case; others will be happy to allocate a certain amount of money to your learning.
Book it in asap, so it is committed in the diary, and then you can plan the next year around it.
So, next time you think “yes, I should invest in myself”, please do it. Ask around, find out what exciting development opportunities there are and back yourself to go and get that budget from wherever you need to get it from and prove that you can do it.
Be enthusiastic, optimistic and energetic every day.