In his book “The Secret of the Ages” Robert Collier highlights that we have to keep growing if we want to stay alive. When we stop growing, we die. That is also the main concept behind professional development. Whether it is a company or personal development, growth is necessary if either is to stay alive.
Every major company you know today keeps growing in some way or another. If you read case studies, you will come across many companies that are successful because they are always ahead, and many companies that failed because they failed to grow. I won’t tell you which is which, but read about Kodak, Toys R US, McDonald’s, Walmart, Apple, Blackberry, and Microsoft. You will find examples of the companies that are successful because they kept growing and those that failed because they weren’t so keen on growth. However, I will tell you some of the significant benefits of professional development.
The Million-Dollar Idea
Brian Tracey, in his talk on “Secrets of Self-made Millionaires” gives an example of a dentist who retired at the age of 53, having sold his practice for $2 million. The dentist explained to Tracey that the secret behind his success was a seminar he attended eight years prior to his retirement. The seminar took place in Hong Kong where professionals in his industry were giving private lectures on various techniques in the industry. From the seminar, this dentist picked up a revolutionary technique that took his practice to a completely different level. Nobody in the U.S knew about the technique. He came back and added that as part of his practice and once people knew about it, he started to have even international clients, as people would fly from all over the world just to see him.
Professional development keeps you at the edge of your industry and increases your chances of being exceptional. It enables you to learn something new that may be the million-dollar idea you have been looking for or it may be the idea that helps double, triple or even quadruple your current income.
Keeping Up With the Kardashians
That heading is misleading; I thought it would be clever; that’s all there is to it. Nevertheless, just like fans of the Kardashians stay updated about the family’s whereabouts by watching the show, according to Atton Institute, professional development keeps you abreast with what is happening in your industry.
The former point touched a bit about this but I should expound on it here. We have to keep growing; we have to stay updated because this is what maintains your competitive edge. The dentist above wouldn’t know about that revolutionary technique if he didn’t have the thirst for growth.
In the current world, technology is revolutionizing industries at an exponential rate. A decade ago, little was known about apps. But today, there is an app for almost anything in every industry you can think of. Industries are looking at the latest advancements in technology and determining how they can use those new developments to be more efficient and productive. The companies that are doing this are the ones that are leaping ahead. Those that ignore growth, die. Consider Amazon and Uber.
By the way, when I mention a company, don’t just look at it as a whole; look for the secret behind its success OR, the person behind its success (Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jack Ma – something ring a bell?).
It is a common saying in the money-making industry that, “It is not what you know but who you know”. Well, I think it works both ways because what you know could be so valuable that anyone who knew about it would realize its value. However, here I want to focus on “who you know”.
In the course of professional development, while attending seminars, lectures, classes, or talks, you are likely to come across other professionals who will serve as invaluable connections to have. Establishing healthy relationships with other professionals will come in handy, particularly if they know “what you know” (assuming it is valuable because you keep growing and possess valuable knowledge and skills).
When people know you can help them solve problems, they will consider you when they need problem-solving and will pay whatever you charge. By the way, the dentist from before charged whatever he pleased for the technique he acquired despite the fact that from the person he learned it from, the technique was not necessarily expensive to implement.
Moreover, when you know people who are exceptional, you can decide to spend either more time with them so that some or all of what they know can rub off on you, or you can request their services when you need them.
Boost Your Confidence, Morale, and Motivation
Nido Qubein gave, I think the most profound secret of self-confidence; competence. I don’t know whether he is the originator of this perspective but he is the first person I heard it from and it did touch a nerve. It makes so much sense. When you know you are good at what you do, when you know you know your stuff, when you are sure of what you are doing or saying; you are guaranteed to win.
The only way you can be sure of yourself if when you are competent. The main goal of professional development is to make you competent at whatever it is you want to be good at. The more you know, the more competent you are, the more confident you are, the more moral you have, and the more motivated feel.
I believe one of the most fulfilling things in life is solving a problem, to which you know a million and one solutions, and being paid generously in the process.