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Archive for the ‘Personal Growth’ Category

Part V (Final in this Series): How to Grow Your Gains Following Professional Development

  Posted by Dr. Holly Latty-Mann on October 8th, 2013    No Comments

While one’s most substantive self-growth comes from engaging in appropriate other-focus, early growth experiences usually entail a lot of self-focus. For example, early on I learned not to engage in negative self-talk but rather generate words of encouragement when I recognized I could have handled something a bit better.  However, I found my greatest growth gains happened when I spent more time engaged focusing on aspects such as “What personal problem may be motivating this person to behave in an unpleasant manner?” Or “How can I support them without compromising the best solution?” Or, “How can I tell them ‘no’ while helping them to save face?”

In my early years as a manager, I sometimes would return home from a professional development program with a workshop high, only to lose the fervor a week or so later. The programs would sometimes offer specifics to follow, so what went wrong?

Companies today don’t invest in professional development unless there is evidence of a return on their investment, which may explain why we’re seeing more professional development programs offer post-workshop accountability processes designed for a minimum of 4 weeks to satisfy the time frame research is suggesting is necessary to jell new behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs.

Still, what more can one do as a workshop graduate or a recipient of coaching or other professional opportunities for growth?  Regardless of the source of your professional or personal development, accept that there will be slip-ups from past automatic behaviors, so simply observe it with gentle tolerance and get back on track. My co-founder, the late Dr. Jim Farr, would say, “Every single mistake you make is a perfect mistake,” because it is how we learn and grow and get better at life.

Learning from my own past failures as well as from decades (yes, I have some years on me!) helping others as not only a licensed clinical psychologist but also a coach, consultant, and workshop facilitator, here are a few tips to help one stay the course during or following any kind of professional intervention.

  1. Don’t pay attention to any naysayers out there who are not in your corner and are neither genuinely interested in your success.
  2. Recognize if a new behavior you’re supposed to put out there from your professional development plan doesn’t feel natural right away, it’s probably because you’re still rewiring/reprogramming rather than because it is not the right response.
  3. Likewise, recognize daily trials and challenges are a part of your growth package, and stay positive.
  4. To stay positive, express gratitude for what is good in your life (e.g., family, health) and troubleshoot with positive, expectant energy rather than with the energy of anger or negativity.
  5. Admit fault when appropriate, and ask for help when legitimate.
  6. Get familiar with wholesome vulnerability. People follow real people and can sense over-inflated postures of grandeur/intended intimidation.
  7. Regard those who might annoy you as simply unaware rather than seeing them as “bad” (we can call this empathy), while refusing to get hooked by their stuff.
  8. Similarly, do not perpetuate professional and personal relationships that work against inner peace (e.g., someone who stopped communicating for no apparent reason foregoing media failure).
  9. Hereby vow to remain true to whatever your personal mission statement in life that contributes to others’ betterment (e.g., “When appropriate and legitimate, I serve others to attain a higher quality of living, loving, and leading”).
  10. What else has helped you as you continue on your path of betterment? You fill in the blank, so others can learn from you: ___________________________________.

My personal self-development work (both formal and informal) has spanned a few decades now, over which time there have been multiple opportunities to experience life’s humbling lessons. In making these lessons my friend, I continue to find opportunities for growth in the mundane. Still, I could not enjoy emotional freedom today had I not had the courage to unblock those emotions housed at root cause that were obstructing my path to self-awareness/happiness. Only then can rich personal growth take place that perpetuates appropriate focus on others rather than self.