Your Professional Development - Whose Job Is It?
There is so much circulating about women and self-care. The advice sounds similar no matter where you read it. We should make it a priority to reset, recharge, and come back to work invigorated. You have to figure out what that is for you personally – but we are told self-care is critical. I believe that – but only just in the past four years of my 24 years working, I've learned how vital self-care can be after starting my own business. Because I work on my own – a solopreneur – if I burn out, there is no one there to pick up the pieces. I have to keep work manageable.
When I worked in corporate America for the first 20 years of my career – I thought self-care was using your vacation time. But with small kids, my vacations weren't always relaxing. Sometimes my paid days off were taken for kid activities at school or doctor's appointments. Even when we did take trips – there wasn't much mom downtime. I would come back to work after "vacation" and realize I needed a vacation from my vacation instead of feeling the rest and recharge that I was seeking.
I also learned over my career that I need some professional care too. I need some motivation, tactics to grow my career, and how to handle challenges at work. I place a premium on these activities now that I call the shots in my own business. But it wasn't always that way.
There were professional development options for me when I worked for others. Things like tuition reimbursement for advanced degrees and my employer paid for my public relations industry association membership. I definitely utilized those benefits and was thankful for them. But I still felt my professional development was lacking. My employers rarely paid for me to attend conferences for career growth. During my early years on the job – my employer thought that teaching us a new skill or software that we would use at work qualified as professional development. It was a new skill to add to our resume.
As I reflect on my corporate years, I realize that I should have taken my own money and invested in myself. Whether you work for someone else or run your own business, taking control of your professional growth is essential. Whether it was investing in some self-care time just for me or paying for that conference and using my vacation time to learn skills I felt were important to my career. These are things that I do regularly now that I call the shots – but they are things that I wish I had done throughout my career, even when I wasn't the boss. The fact is, I always had the title of being the boss of my career – even though I was sitting passively by and letting others call the shots for me. That realization HURT! How much farther could I have gotten? Would promotions or important projects come my way more quickly if I had taken the reins on my career? I won't know the answer – but I know I will not make that same mistake again.
I will be an active participant in shaping my professional journey.
I will attend the conference, invest in the coach, and take the classes.
I will surround myself with mentors and colleagues who invest in themselves too.
I will not be a passive bystander in my career – allowing others to dictate my trajectory.
Does this feel like you?
Maybe you are going through the motions at work. Perhaps you asked to go on that conference trip and were told it isn't in the budget. Maybe you are letting others manage your career and professional development like I did.
I'm attending and speaking at the Boss Lady Women's Leadership Conference on Sept. 14-15 in Daytona Beach, and I am so excited about it! It is likely the type of conference my previous employers might not have paid for because it isn't explicitly niched to my industry. But this is the very reason I LOVE this conference!
I connect with like-minded professional women of many industries and age groups.
I hear from amazing motivational speakers about leadership and growing myself.
I make more female friends.
I surround myself with a community of women who will hold me accountable to set and achieve big goals.
I reflect on my next big career move and receive education and inspiration to take the next leap.
There is a place for industry-specific education and development in business. In fact, it's critical. But I believe just as important is the work we do on ourselves, our "soft skills" as leaders to bring our very best to business every day.
Investing in your career development with your own money is an impressive act of self-empowerment. You gain valuable insights, inspiration, and support by seeking third-party experiences, such as working with a coach, attending conferences, or networking with professional women. Taking charge of your career journey enables you to break free from limitations, face challenges head-on, and advance confidently in your professional pursuits.
Now is the time to step into your power and join the movement of women shaping their destinies. Embrace the opportunity to invest in yourself and join us at the Boss Lady Women's Leadership Conference in Daytona Beach, FL, this September 14-15, 2023, to unlock your full potential and create the career you deserve. Register today and be part of a transformative experience that will propel your career to new heights!