Yet even for a seasoned expert like me, professional development must remain top-of-mind if I want continued business success. I believe that older pros need professional development as much as our young counterparts so that we remain competitive in today’s fast-moving environment.
Too often we plead we’re “too busy” and fail to see the ROI on meeting new contacts, learning new trends or developing new skills. Still, as I navigated a recent career switch, it became clear that my old habits and skills could stand brushing-up.
Old Dog, New Tricks
I’m a master networker. I’ve been networking in OC journalism and PR circles practically since time began. Though I know a lot of people, it’s always good to widen the circle.
I joined PR Divas, IABC OC and NAWBO OC and the effects were instantaneous. Whole new circles of people welcomed me. I’ve also learned that joining an organization isn’t enough – so I’m becoming an involved volunteer.
Reading for Fun and Profit
I admit that I’ve grown impatient with consuming professional development articles and books. “Between You & Me” opened my eyes. This new book on language is the best one since the #1 New York Times bestseller, Eats, Shoots & Leaves. Written by longtime New Yorker editor Mary Norris, it is both irreverent and useful.
Useful too are email communications from PRSA and IABC that offer useful articles gleaned from magazines like Inc., Fast Company and Fortune, which are often full of useful tips and ideas. I tend to save a handful to read at once, only to enjoy them so much that I wonder why I waited.
Service to Others
My daughter and I decided last summer to devote a year to teaching homeless children through School on Wheels. One hour a week doesn’t seem like much, but we’ve found it challenging to keep our commitment.
Working with underprivileged kids has jolted me out of my happy middle-class cocoon. It’s humbling, educational and emotional – and it’s underscored my belief that a good education is the key to success in life.
Now, What About You?
When was the last time you met someone new, or read a full-length newspaper or magazine article about a skill you already mastered? When did you last volunteer to serve on a nonprofit board? Do you maintain membership and involvement in professional organizations even though you’ve already earned top designations?
It’s a pleasant surprise that my diligent business efforts also have renewed my spirit and made me alert to the world – empowering me to develop a more thoughtful perspective that makes me a better writer and a more well-rounded person.