That’s an interesting question, huh… Who keeps you in line? If you know me well, you know at least one person who’s done that for me over the last twenty-plus years has been my darling bride! And that’s often been more than a full time job for her… But thankfully, she hasn’t had to do it all on her own the entire time.
In the last post, I shared how important I believe it is for each of us to identify the people around us who can serve as living, breathing professional development examples that we can study to make our own journey smoother and more effective. And while that certainly provides us with a solid starting point as we move into each new role throughout our career progression, simply observing and asking a question here and there won’t likely always be enough to help us really separate ourselves from the masses. That’s where the value of strong mentorship comes into play; more specifically, having access to people who are farther along on their journey that we can look to for guidance and to help hold us accountable to continue pushing forward even when things get tough…
I do joke a bit about Cindy keeping me in line, but I’m very serious in saying that she truly has been someone I’ve been able to be accountable to for more than two decades; not because she’s mean and makes me toe the line, but because we’re a team and I want to be sure I’m always doing my fair share. That said, I’ve also been blessed with numerous other people during that time who I’ve been able to look to for mentorship in various areas of my life and career - and I’ve been able to develop relationships with a few of them who would also hold me accountable to following through on the action steps I defined to grow professionally (and personally) so that I would keep pressing on during those tough times.
Let’s be honest here, it’s always easier to stick with what we know than it is to press forward or take on new responsibility. If we only look at the people around for examples of what they’ve done to grow professionally, there will be times where we consider throwing in the towel because it feels like we’re facing obstacles that they couldn’t have possibly had to deal with. But when we invest the time to build stronger relationships and allow someone to mentor us through that professional development process, we have the opportunity to see the full picture and we may actually end up with someone who’s willing to challenge us to stay accountable even when we don’t want to be!
Regardless of where we’re each at in our professional development journey, there will always be times where we stay more consistent or we do that one extra thing when we’re accountable to someone else than we would if we were only doing it for ourselves.This kind of accountability has been so helpful for me that we’ve built it into every session we provide for clients in-person and virtually, as well as through all of our digital lessons. If the folks we serve identify the action steps they can take AND they share those steps with someone they’re willing to be accountable to, the odds of achieving the results they’re after are significantly greater.
In the last post, I mentioned that identifying the right resources for professional development can be overwhelming. Having great examples to study and finding someone you can be accountable to set a great foundation for sure, but those two things can also serve us extremely well in sifting through the massive amount of potential resources so we can identify where we can get the most juice for our squeeze. We’ll take a look at how we can be strategic about all that next time...
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