By Karl Kapp
When is the last time you invested in your own professional growth and well-being? To remain successful and relevant you must invest in your own professional growth.
I know, it’s easy to lose track of your own professional development. I worked for several “training companies” who always told me that they didn’t have time for employees to go for professional development or they could not afford outside classes or conferences. I kept hearing the phrase, “it’s like the shoe maker’s kids who have no shoes.” It was the dumbest thing I ever heard.
I was always thinking to myself, would you want to hire a company to create instruction for your organization that didn’t believe in training it’s own employees? What kind of crazy logic makes it ok to sell training but not invest in your own employee training. And, ultimately, those companies suffered and the employees moved on, worked suffered and clients eventually went somewhere else. It is impossible for personal and organizational growth to occur if the people aren’t learning new things. It’s just not possible.
The experience in that organization taught me two valuable lessons. One was that if I wanted to succeed in my career, I had to invest in my career. I couldn’t passively wait for a company to invest in me. So, I put together a “growth fund” and every month I would invest in the fund and, when I had enough money, I’d go to a conference or sign up for a course to improve my own knowledge. Most people thought I was crazy but if you don’t invest in your future, you might not have a great future in terms of career.
The second thing that experience in the training-is-only-for-others company taught me was that once I invested in my own training and growth, I became much more valuable than my peers. Why? Because they were not investing in their own growth, they were doing the same job, using the same tools and applying the same approach as always. Any new concepts, ideas or technique that I learned made me more knowledgeable and valuable because I knew more…not because I was any smarter, actually, I was the dumbest guy in the room most of the time, but because I was investing in knowledge through outside learning opportunities. That lesson has served me well.
So my advice as a person who’s mentored lots of people is to invest in your own professional growth. You won’t regret it. And, if you are wondering about a good investment fund for your personal growth—one that pays a great dividend, consider the Learning & Development Mentor Academy. You’ll learn about the latest technologies, share concepts with peers and become much more valuable within your own organization.