Posted by: universitymindlab | August 13, 2008

Professional Development

Professional Development

By Bakari Akil II, Ph.D.

Whether we are in a rut, doing okay or performing exceptionally well in our profession, we are always on a trajectory. In order for that path we are taking to continue to rise or soar, we must continuously fuel its progression.

Our skills and talents can only bring us so far and in many fields with the possibilities of big rewards, coasting is not an option. Even doing everything we are supposed to do such as showing up everyday, going the extra mile, being a team player and completing all tasks competently is not enough for those who are trying to take their career and life to the next level.

That is where professional development (PD) can play a major role. PD can take many forms and does not have to be extremely expensive. However, as many inspirational writers have stated, such as Ernie Zelinski, Jack Canfield and Robin Sharma, you should look at PD as an “investment” not an “expense.” Further, we all maybe aware of PD, but the question is do we really see the value of it or have a plan to use it to our advantage?

As a professor, there are always opportunities for me to improve. I have been at institutions that offer departmental colloquiums where faculty and grad students give talks concerning their research, speakers always visit the campus and courses are always offered (usually free) to help improve performance or even to obtain another degree. However, I have to go beyond this in order to remain viable as an academic. There are conferences to attend, associations to join, journals to subscribe to and books to be read. It doesn’t stop there as information pertaining to what I do can be located anywhere; so to be the best I can be I must ferret it out.

The same applies to other professions and any area in which we strive for excellence. To be average we just have to show up, keep our heads down and finish tasks assigned. To be great we must not only take advantage of enrichment opportunities offered by the “job,” we must also seek out opportunities that we aren’t forced to attend and that may cost us time and money.

To become good in your field, professional development is necessary. To become a leader or expert in your profession, it is a must!

Get your copy of  the e-book Super YOU! 101 Ways to Maximize your Potential!

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