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Personal and Professional Growth

Posted: April 8, 2014 | Categories: Job Tips | Info | News

By Guest Author Carol Morgan

A Continual Competitive Advantage

Over the past 25 years of my professional life, I have learned one crucial truth: never stop growing.

Continued growth gives you a competitive advantage no matter what your industry; openness to new ideas, critical thinking and an inspiration about your purpose come from continually seeking growth opportunities. The desire to grow is an important character trait that I look for in my team members.

It may sound surprising but there is no distinction in the value between personal and professional growth in my opinion. Commitment to growth is a great thing; whether you are looking to learn a new hobby or a new work skill, you will develop and strengthen as a person as a result of your efforts. I'm always impressed by people who have the desire to try new things, take classes, read, travel and push themselves to learn and discover. Those are the most interesting people and they are also the type of people that business owners are looking to hire.

Here are just a few ways that you can grow both personally and professionally:

  • Embrace change '“ your ability to adapt to change is critical. Think about how much things have changed in just the past 10 years. You have to be able to keep up. Be excited about change; it may seem easier to stick to your comfort zone, but everyone else will keep moving forward without you.
  • Take a class '“ Colleges and universities offer online and evening/weekend classes now, making educational opportunities more convenient than ever. Take advantage of opportunities to attend work related conferences.
  • Volunteer '“ You'll get real-world experience on a skill while giving back to a cause that you care about and are interested in.
  • Find a mentor '“ Look for someone within your company or industry who you admire; ask them about their career path, successes and mistakes and get their advice and guidance; if it is someone you work with, shadow them in meetings and at events.
  • Add connections '“ Increase your network; have the courage to say 'hello'? and meet new people. I can't not emphasize the importance of learning to network and following up with the people you meet.
  • Take personal responsibility '“ If you mess up, fess up. Accept responsibility for your actions and choices and then you'll be ready to change things in your life for the better.
  • Involve your supervisor '“ You'll be more likely to follow through on your decision if you share it as a goal with your manager/supervisor. They want to know that you are goal-oriented and want a better-developed employee, so will do what they can to help you reach your goals. Keep in mind though that you're not doing this for anyone but yourself, so choose a goal that really will make you happy.
  • Follow your passion '“ Follow your heart and do what you love. If it is something that you are truly passionate about, you will be successful at it. My business partner Mitch Levinson includes this mantra in his email signature, 'It's not work if you love what you do!'? While you may put in loads of hard work, it won't feel like 'work'? because you're doing what you enjoy.
  • Start now '“ Don't put growth off until tomorrow; there is no such thing as the perfect time to try something new. Getting started will likely be the hardest part, but each step will get easier and easier.

I hope these tips have shown that you can dedicate this year to personal and professional growth. Best of luck in your endeavors!

About Carol Morgan

Carol Morgan, managing partner of mRELEVANCE, LLC, focuses on marketing strategy and integrating public relations, social media, content and creative to tell engaging stories for clients that garner measurable traffic. Carol is the author of 'Social Media 3.0'? and creator of the nationally-ranked and award-winning www.AtlantaRealEstateForum.com, Atlanta's most popular real estate blog. She is the 2014 Chair of NAHB's Professional Women in Building and a member of NAHB's Public Affairs committee. A graduate of Oglethorpe University, she is the recipient of the 2008 Spirit of Oglethorpe Award, PRSA Georgia Chapter's prestigious George Goodwin Award, the 2009 Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association's Associate of the Year and 2012 Council Chair of the Year. Carol holds the MIRM (Masters in Residential Marketing), CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) and CSP (Certified Sales Professional) designations from NAHB.

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