Break Down Your Barriers to Professional Growth
Striving for serious professional growth? One of the first recommendations MAP always makes is to design a professional growth plan showing what you intend to do and how it’s going to be done. As part of that process, you must invariably define your barriers to growth, including those that have popped up or persisted in your past as well as those that prevent your growth today. Whether they include no written plan, some serious time management challenges, or ambiguity around what and how to develop, defining these and other types of barriers that prevent growth will provide insight on strategies for overcoming these challenges and excelling. You might even discover that the biggest roadblock to your personal growth is you — as in your mindset and any self-limiting beliefs. However, these and other such revelations are to be expected and need to be surfaced to plan for and positively impact your future. Make this discipline part of your professional planning process to boost your odds of hitting your professional growth goals.
Drilling down a little more closely, here’s a closer look at those three examples of common barriers and some suggestions for how to push through them:
Barrier #1: Lack of a business plan. It’s incredible how so many of us can easily spend several weeks planning a big vacation but won’t take even a few minutes to create something as important as a business plan. Why is the plan so essential? Written down, in black and white, it becomes the means for initiating and developing accountability, driving the strategies for achieving your organization’s goals and delivering the success that fuels your professional growth — as outlined in your greater professional growth plan.
How to bust through it: Put your business plan down on paper. MAP has an incredibly straight-forward, effective one-page business-plan template, but there are many types of templates available through other resources and online. Just find one that suits your style and needs, then get writing!
Barrier #2: Poor time management. As the saying goes, if you don’t manage time, it will manage you — and it’s true. If you’re commonly saying you’re too stressed, too busy or too anything to do what’s required for working on your professional goals, then you’ve probably got challenges around time management.
How to bust through it: Adopt new habits around time-management. First, find your favorite time-management tools or resources and start using them. For example, the time-tracker “Toggl” is just one of many apps that enables you to monitor what you’re doing down to the second. As well, there are many other online tools for tracking time, becoming a master scheduler, and simplifying complex processes and other time-consuming activities. Once you know how you’re really spending your time, tap one of your inner “tools,” also known as self-discipline, to start saying “no” to what does not provide value to your professional goals and “yes” to what does provide value.
Barrier #3: Address ambiguity around your professional development. Sometimes you know you want to grow and change but aren’t sure who you really want to be, what you’re really good at, and what direction is best for you.
How to bust through it: Get the answers you need. If you’ve got a good relationship with your boss, start by sitting down with him or her. Be forthright about your desire to grow and get to that “next level,” asking open-ended questions about why that’s been impossible up until this point, what you can do to get better, and what gaps in your skills, performance or competencies exist. If you don’t feel comfortable asking your boss for this kind of guidance, ask a mentor or some other trusted confidant who can speak honestly to your professional performance, skills and abilities. As well, you can tap outside resources — everything from professional-development books to workshops, MAP webinars, professional testing and assessments, and business coaching services — that can provide greater clarity around who you are, what you want, where your strengths and weaknesses lie, and what you need to do to achieve your professional goals.
In journeying through your professional growth plan, what barriers have you come across and busted through – and how?