Constant Improvement: A Process for Career Growth

I think that most people reach a point in their careers where they have to decide how they want to grow and what they really want to do. I also think that a lot of people reach this point and decide that they want to stay comfortable. That they would much rather do the things that they know backwards and forwards, as opposed to pushing in to things that may make them uncomfortable.

So for this post- I want to talk about the process that I use to help myself grow at work and to keep a perspective on how the discomfort I feel will actually improve me in the long run. Now this isn’t a perfect process, but it is a process that I have found that works for me.

1.)When I get comfortable-I try to figure out where I can expand.

Basically- I am a continual learner. I love to learn. I feel like I should have a t-shirt printed that says something about how much I like learning and wear it around to just explain me. So for me- this is a good thing when it comes to work. I know that I need to learn new things. I know that I need to put myself in new positions. I also know that I need to do some soul searching and figure out where it is logical for me to expand my skill set and where I may want to wait to expand my skill set. I also am not afraid to ask for others opinions and advice on where I should keep growing.

2.)When I try something new- I’m okay at failing.

Seriously. I do not expect that I am going to nail something the first time. I expect that it is going to take me months, if not years, to get good at some of the skills that I need to do in my job. I also know that I may have to try something several times before it clicks. And guess what- that is alright. Learning new skills is not always easy, but it is something that I firmly believe has to be done in order to stay relevant in any career field. Maybe that is not true in your career field-but I know it is true in mine.

3.)When I’m overwhelmed- I step back and think.

Or plan. Or strategize. No matter what it is called- I purposefully take some time to look at what the big picture is and see how I can get to whatever that new goal is for myself. I take some time to break it down in to smaller steps and I also take some time to talk it out. I probably take a lot more time to talk it out than anyone realizes, but that is the most important part for me-it somehow helps me to get everything lined up in some sort of realistic order.

I basically rinse and repeat the three steps above, in different orders and for different amounts of time depending on what I am doing and where I need to progress. I cannot say enough how each step is super important to me. It is important to me that I continually learn and that I be alright to fail and that I take time to strategize. Some days- I have multiple iterations of these steps happen. Sometimes it is a multi-week process to get through even one of the steps. But I can say this- at the end of it all- I always seem to be able to find that new thing I was looking for, that thing that helps me improve and that is what is so important about this process.

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