This morning, a colleague and I were discussing Nik Wallenda’s now-famous tightrope walk across the Grand Canyon. Not something you or I would think about doing, is it? You have to be on top of your game and all of your professional development goals to do something like that. The alternative is not an option; it’s disasterous.
How many of us intentionally opt to work without a net each day? Should that be the goal of our professional development?
When you work without a net you have no option other than being at the top of your game at all times. There is no settling for “almost.” If you settle for “almost” or “not quite” you will never fulfill a profession development goal of getting to where you want to go.
When you work without a net, no matter how many times you do, today, what you did, yesterday, each time is the first time and demands a fresh approach. The proof of your approach to professional development is in the high quality and consistency of delivery of your outcomes.
When you work without a net, you won’t permit yourself to slide into superficial auto-pilot on your delivery and execution. There is no comfort zone when you constantly refine your professional development, your art and craft.
When you work without a net, you deliver high quality input-throughput-output. Your customer only was anticipating something mediocre; he/she had never been shown the difference between the two. Until you came along.
When you work without a net, you have full grasp of your core competencies. They are your mental and physical muscle memory. They are our professional structural underpinning. It’s where we go, dig down deep into, when we are thrown a curve. You can’t access your core competencies if you are working from auto-pilot without any professional development goals.
When you work without a net, there is no status quo. No matter how much you have perfected your craft. No matter whether you are considered a domain area expert. You grow your expertise by working without a net.
When you work without a net, no matter how many times you see and hear other experts speak and write about what you already are an expert about, you learn something new. Their insights are incorporated into your self-improvement and continuous, disciplined professional development .
When you work without a net, you appreciate the value of each meeting and conversation with customers and colleagues. They have some subtle insight to share with you, if you are patient and balanced enough to listen for it. That’s professional development.
When you work without a net, you feel you give far more that you receive. Over the long haul, it’s exactly the opposite. Believe me, those are the rewards of professional development.
When you work without a net, where you end up isn’t quite the place where you thought you were heading towards. So much has happened along the journey that has impacted how you deliver your message. That is the epiphany of professional development.
When you work without a net, you incorporate the risk and responsibility of growing your expertise. You constantly, daily, move 1 millimeter outside of your comfort level. That is the True North of professional development.
Moving 1 millimeter outside of your comfort level can seem like traveling light years for some of us.
Sometimes working without a net involves nothing greater – or less – than your professional development process of making incremental changes to “the way it is”, on a daily basis. Your customers and colleagues will notice a difference, as you do one thing, slightly differently, on a daily basis.
What incremental change will you make first?
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers, LLC, traverses the sales-engineering interface®, bringing entrepreneurial mojo to small and mid-sized businesses in the manufacturing and service sectors. She builds vibrant revenue-producing business strategies for technical startups. She provides you and your colleagues with an arsenal of collaboration tools and communication skills required for today’s globally competitive marketplace.