There is often an inherent conflict between being productive and being proactive. When our days are consumed by client demands, nonstop emails, and internal meetings, it can be nearly impossible to find the time for self-development. How ironic that, as service professionals, we end up serving our own needs last.
Stephen Covey used to say that if you don't make the time to sharpen the saw, it will take significantly longer to cut wood. The same is true when it comes to skill-building. Besides, in a fast-changing marketplace those who don't continually advance themselves will fall behind, so follow these two principles and step up your game.
- Revisit your mentors: Take a moment to circle up with the people who have guided you in the past. Their advice, perspective, and inspiration will help to remind you who you aspire to become.
- Get schooled: Each year, commit to at least one professional development program that will improve your efficacy. Professional athletes have coaches. Many corporations offer internal training programs to improve sales and presentation skills. Law firm professionals use certification programs through LMA or virtual training programs like Business Development Conversations (BDC) to develop their "A" game. So identify the skills most in need of attention and seek out a formal program that will challenge you.