This post is inspired by Day 31: Connect Intentionally of my book, Confidently You. Professional development is full of ebbs and flows of a journey that, in essence, is beautifully challenging us to evolve to be our professional best. Initially and along the way, we may find ourselves taking small steps and may even stumble at times. Yet, the stride that we develop along the way embodies how we recover from each roadblock and excel after each career win or lesson. Our confidence level shines through in our stride and brings pride and assurance to our eyes as we walk with our heads held high. It’s the challenges, lessons, and wins that build our confidence in our skills and abilities. We not only survive the unexpected but learn to thrive and understand the importance of taking care of ourselves, mentally and physically, in the process.
Our career strides reiterate our capabilities and get us noticed and respected. The pandemic has been a game-changer, and as we continue to adjust to our new normal. Keeping our skills recharged is vital to keep our career stride strong. Check out and use my acronym for Keep your S.T.R.I.D.E. Use as a guide to planning and affirming your professional development progress.
S – stats
T – teachable
R – research
I – intentional
D – development
E – engagement
Knowing your career and industry stats is critical to determining baselines on gauging your skills set according to the in-demand skills for your industry. Speaking to your career stats is evidence of your hard work that is a credible share on your resume, during interviews, in your bio when sharing your expertise on podcasts and periodicals, or a part of your LinkedIn profile. Your career stats can also potentially be a good reminder of your career growth and accomplishments when you need a reminder of what you can achieve because you have seen it in action. Knowing industry stats can help you plan your career short-term and long-term benchmarks, identify solutions, and be overall informed.
Teachable moments and opportunities present themselves in many formats, for example, courses, training, one-on-one meetings, start-stop-continue conversations, and mentorship. Also, be receptive to constructive feedback even if you may disagree. Have you heard the saying, “perception is reality.” There may be some truth to the feedback; you may want to spend some time reflecting, reviewing, and consider the suggestion to be an excellent development opportunity.
Research and understand industry experts’ findings and trends, understand skills gaps, emotional intelligence, and soft skills. Research keeps you curious and helps nurture creativity. Spend dedicated time understanding the root cause of challenges and structuring solutions. Your research can potentially lead you to publishing opportunities and industry-related platform features.
Set intentions that encourage you to push past your comfort zone and aim high. Developing to practice goal-centric choices is a process that often requires daily attention. Start with small steps of stating an affirmation in the morning (i.e., I am a sought-after professional for my process management skills). Intentions help to keep you focused on what matters with accomplishing your goals—dismissing doubt, treating your mental health as a priority, and recognizing wins, even the small ones.
Development applies to a success mindset and growth in your role. Both complement each other and contribute to you becoming an expert and well-versed in your profession. Take ownership of your development. If you work in a corporate role, read the employee and training manuals. If need be, partner with human resources to determine how long it will take you to learn, master, and teach others your role to demonstrate mastery.
Being teachable requires engagement with others and being fully present at the moment when you are. Engagement is the foundation of networking. It helps to connect a few dots of understanding when drafting conclusions when observing best practices being executed or attempting to resolve an issue, immediate or one that has been ongoing. Engagement helps cultivate your communication skills and gain different perspectives on scenarios.
Knowing your stats, being teachable, a driven researcher with an intentional mindset that develops well and engages others to be a part of their success story unfolds over time by learning to keep your stride.
Written by: Michele Badie