Empowering Your Journey to Success – Scooptimes

Change is inevitable, whether you seek it or not. If you’re not growing either at a personal or professional level, or both, that won’t stop change from happening around you. Other people will grow and steal your birthright! That’s why you must make intentional decisions and take deliberate steps to change, grow, and improve intellectually, emotionally, physically, socially, and even spiritually. 

Growth doesn’t have to be linear or universally approved. It is a very personal process that can take many shapes and forms. That being said, whatever growth means to you, here are 5 steps to nurturing personal and professional growth for a successful life:

Identifying Your Core Values and Passions

Examples of core values include fairness, optimism, open-mindedness, loyalty, professionalism, etc. Examples of passions include professional growth, healthy living, leadership, family, lifelong learning, etc. Your values and passions: 

  • Influence how you set and actualize goals.
  • Give you a sense of purpose and direction. This can be a great confidence boost.
  • Strengthen your decision-making, especially when deciding the direction you want your career to go. All decisions you make are guided by the values and passions you’ve defined for yourself. 

To identify what you value or are passionate about the most:

  • Write down all the values and passions that you identify with.
  • Look back at your past experiences and highlight the values and passions you’ve exhibited/practiced before, knowingly or not. For example, if you’ve ever been awarded for excellence, you probably excelled in that one thing because you’re passionate about it. 
  • Analyze your social life- which human interactions are you most comfortable with? That can give you an idea of what your values are. For example, are you happiest when helping other people? That could mean you are a kind or empathetic person. 
  • Analyze the achievements and mannerisms of the people you most admire. That person could be a family member, a colleague, a professional athlete- you name them! Which of their qualities do you value the most? Chances are that you admire them because they personify your values and passions. From your initial list, highlight the values that these personal idols embody. 
  • Add any values that could be missing from the initial list. 
  • Rank the values you have highlighted in order of importance. 
  • Align your goals and aspirations to these values. 

Tip: Revise this list from time to time as you grow and evolve. 

Mastering the Art of Effective Communication

Being a proficient communicator helps you make healthy personal and professional interactions. It helps you convey your thoughts and feelings accurately, coherently, and clearly, which is important for effective career networking and relationship building. 

To become a proficient communicator:

  • Organize thoughts and ideas carefully and patiently before verbalizing them.
  • Be an active listener. This means listening patiently and keenly to understand the intentions and emotions behind a message. Ask for clarifications where necessary and allow people all the time they need to express themselves, as opposed to jumping to conclusions and shouting people down. 
  • Develop a strong vocabulary. You can achieve this by reading extensively or listening to speeches by some of the most iconic orators in history (in your opinion).  
  • Learn to control your tone of voice. This portrays class and confidence. 
  • Always customize your message to specific audiences based on their level of understanding, cultural backgrounds, past experiences, first language, age, etc. Avoid using terminologies that could be seen as inappropriate within your audience. 
  • Master the art of written communication, from how to structure your content, organize your thoughts, perfect grammar & punctuation, and craft concise messages. 
  • Master the art of non-verbal communication. How you use hand gestures, posture, facial expressions, etc. can impact how different audiences perceive your message. 
  • Learn the art of professional digital communication (writing emails, productive social media engagement, video conferencing etiquette, etc).

Embracing Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learning happens when you make a conscious, life-long decision to seize as many learning opportunities as you can, both in formal and informal settings. It means giving in to the natural drive that humans have to explore and learn as they pursue personal fulfillment. 

Embracing lifelong learning comes with tons of benefits. 

  • It keeps your mind open and ready to consume new knowledge. In other words, it makes you teachable. 
  • It breaks your routine, reduces boredom, renews your self-motivation, and keeps your mind active. 
  • It helps you identify your personal interests and rethink your goals and priorities.
  • It stretches your intellectual limits.
  • It equips you with valuable skills that come in handy in your professional journey. For example, learning how to cook can boost your creativity. Attending a public speaking class can boost your interpersonal skills. And so on. 
  • Being skillful and knowledgeable enhances self-confidence. 

Examples of lifelong learning in informal settings include: 

  • Learning a new skill online, e.g. programming. 
  • Learning a new language.
  • Joining a class, e.g. a dancing or martial arts class.  

Examples of lifelong learning in formal settings include:

  • Becoming a certified accountant by pursuing a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) course. This will qualify you for top roles throughout the accounting industry.
  • Enrolling into an accredited medical program and later taking the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE). This qualifies you for certification as a qualified physician assistant. You can leverage this PANCE preparation guide to make this lifelong learning endeavor a little smoother. 
  • Pursuing Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP) certification to enhance your career mobility as a software engineer.

Cultivating Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence enhances your ability to manage your emotional energy and control your reaction to the emotions of others. This further improves your interpersonal and communication skills. 

To cultivate your emotional intelligence:

  • Normalize pausing your busy lifestyle several times a day just to get in touch with your emotions. For example, did you wake up feeling optimistic or devastated? What do you think contributed to that feeling? After attending a meeting at work, how did that affect your emotions? After working out, how did that affect your mood? Bottom line: Be deliberate about getting in touch with how you feel.
  • Learn to acknowledge your feelings, good and bad. 
  • Master the art of self-awareness; pay attention to how you behave when experiencing certain emotions.
  • Learn to accept criticism and contrary opinions. Be teachable. Be open-minded. Don’t be too opinionated.
  • Make a conscious decision to always be responsible for your emotions and behavior. 
  • Don’t allow others to control how you feel. If someone made a remark that made you uncomfortable, allow yourself to go through all the emotions that follow. Don’t force yourself to accept the discomfort or disrespect because everyone else thinks it’s okay.
  • Normalize verbalizing your emotions. Let people know how they make/made you feel. 
  • Don’t forget to breathe when overwhelmed with negative emotions.  

Achieving Work-Life Balance

No matter how passionate you are about your career, it’s important to live a little. Take some time off your busy day or week to do things that aren’t work-related. You can, for example, spend quality time with family, catch up with a friend, pick up a hobby, read a book, learn a new skill, or practice self-care. That’s what a healthy work-life balance is all about. 

To achieve work-life balance:

  • Specify your working hours. Get to the office in good time and leave in good time. 
  • Learn the art of time management to ensure that you finish all your office work in the office. 
  • Prioritize personal pursuits just as much as you prioritize work. For example, don’t sacrifice family time at the altar of office work. 
  • Learn to manage stress levels through therapy, physical activity, practicing mindfulness, etc.
  • Learn to unplug from work-related activities when you leave the office. 
  • Don’t procrastinate. Procrastination only makes your schedule more hectic in the coming days. 
  • Create a flexible work schedule to accommodate emergencies and eventualities. 
  • Talk with your manager to reduce your workload if you’re being overworked. 

Start your journey of personal and professional growth today! You don’t have to do everything in a single burst- you can always start small and make gradual improvements. You’re trying to shake off old habits that you’ve built over time, so overnight success won’t be practical.