What’s Next for My Career Development?

By Amy Dinning

I recently asked myself, “As a learning and development leader who focuses most of my time on other people’s career growth, when was the last time I concentrated on mine?” Makes you think, doesn’t it. We have the skills and the knowledge, and we spend time helping everyone but ourselves.

Let’s take a few minutes right now to focus on you and your career development. First, get out a piece of paper or open a Word document. Next, give yourself about 10-15 minutes to not be distracted by other things.

Remember, this is important and will help you to move forward with your goals and aspirations.

The last time I took time to reflect, I set a goal to be a speaker at ATD International Conference & EXPO—and I was selected that year to speak!

Now, follow these steps:

1. Write down the things that get in your way of focusing on and acting on your career development. Is it not enough time? Not enough support? Is it your own attitude or lack of confidence?

2. Now write down a few things you can do to get rid of the barriers you listed. Note concrete ideas that will make a difference, such as, “Look for ways to reprioritize.” “Find someone who will support you, like your manager or a mentor or even someone outside of your organization.” “Surround yourself with people who will encourage you to pursue your goals.”

Include how you will implement the idea, when, and what support you will need. Then share this with appropriate people who can help you overcome these barriers.

3. Pick one goal you want to achieve in the next six months that will help develop you and move you forward. Maybe it is to attend ATD 2018—I hope to see you there! Or maybe you want to take a course to enhance your skills, or write a blog post for ATD, or identify a mentor. Zero in on a goal and write it down.

4. List the steps you need to take to achieve your goal and place those steps in your Outlook calendar or set them up as tasks. Keep the steps in front of you so you are continuously working toward your goal. It’s okay to pursue only one thing at a time, as long as you are moving forward.

5. Set a date on your calendar to go through this exercise again in three months. Revisit where you are with the goal you set, and consider setting another.

Why should you take time to do this? It spurs momentum and provides information you can share with your manager as to how they can help you develop. This process keeps you moving forward and energizes you in your career. It establishes a challenge and something to reach for.

You are in charge of your career; you can take it as it comes, or you can make it what you want it to be.

I set goals to write blogs for ATD, and I have been able to write several on various topics. I set goals to speak at ATD’s annual International Conference & Exposition and at my local chapter, and I have achieved both. I set a goal to write an article for TD magazine, and my article was published in August of 2017. This is not to boast—it’s to illustrate what can happen when you set your sights and go for it.

This article originally appeared here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy Dinning
Amy Dinning is the Learning & Development Manager at ARRIS, a telecommunications equipment manufacturer, in Horsham Pennsylvania. As a senior learning and talent development leader, she has extensive experience working with all organizational levels—setting strategy and creating, promoting, and delivering learning, leadership, and talent development solutions designed to support the organization’s business plan and goals. She possesses impactful leadership, influencing, facilitation and innovation skills essential to motivating others. Amy is passionate about creating an interactive and engaging environment that supports learning and growth. She is the co-lead of the ATD’s Leadership & Organizational Development SIG. She serves as a Board Member and Director of Programming for My Career Transitions. She is the creator and chief facilitator of a workshop, Jump Start Your Job Search, which is offered twice/year for the unemployed and underemployed. She also speaks to various professional associations and networking groups on a variety of topics.