Kick Starting Your Professional Development

We recently sat down with leadership coach and consultant Gail Fottrell-Jones of The Binocular Group to gain her insight on how to prioritize professional development. With over three decades in the Fortune 500 arena, Gail has a keen understanding of workplace behavior, motivation, and desire. Here’s what she had to say.

Start by asking yourself some thought-provoking questions.

According to Gail, it’s important to periodically step back from the every day demands of your job and ask yourself some key questions that can help you evaluate your career path.

“ ‘Am I too comfortable where I am?,’ ‘What do I love to do?,’ ‘Am I doing it on a daily basis?,’ and ‘What impact do I want to have on the world?’ can help identify whether you like the course you’re on or whether you’d like to adjust your route,” says Gail.

You don’t have to know all the answers when you start this exercise. In fact, “the point is to help you start thinking about the things you’re not thinking about,” she says.

Approach your work with a growth mindset.

The concept of a growth mindset was developed by psychologist Carol Dweck and explored in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

According to Dweck, “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”

Gail explains that when you approach your work with a growth mindset, it opens you up to learning, exploring, and applying new concepts and strategies, which can in turn lead to better projects and outcomes. “Ultimately, your growth mindset creates a cyclical flow of abundance because it spurs action and purpose and inspires others to open and grow,” adds Gail.

Figure out your strengths.

Sometimes, our greatest talents can go untapped in the workplace. This can happen for many different reasons, but ultimately, it robs you and your employer of your full potential.

To unlock your strengths and discover your hidden talents, Gail recommends StrengthsFinder 2.0, Amazon’s number one selling book worldwide in 2013. Written by Gallup and Tom Rath, the book includes an access code that allows you to take the online CliftonStrengths assessment.

Gail says, “no matter how well you think you know yourself, the assessment results are always a revelation. You’ll refer to them and the book time and again because they help you apply and gain confidence in your abilities.”

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