Professional development can come from within or without. While your employer will be looking to help you improve your knowledge and skill base as best they can, you also have the responsibility of furthering your career.
That’s true whether you’re looking for jobs in accounting or a career as a professional athlete; no one reaches their full potential without an amount of self-reflection and self-improvement.
At the head of this type of thinking is Dr Marshall Goldsmith. Dr Goldsmith is considered the number-one executive coach in the world by Global Gurus. He’s the top leadership thinker, the fifth most prominent business thinker (as ranked by Thinkers50) and has sold millions of books worldwide.
“When it comes to self-reflection, asking yourself active questions rather than passive questions changes the focus of your answers – and empowers you to make changes you wouldn’t otherwise consider,” the doctor writes.
Test yourself today: How well can you answer the following questions?
The importance of being earnest
He also says there are six questions for professionals to ask themselves every day, and they are all active questions. They also all start the same: “Did I do my best to”…
1) Set clear goals
Did you set yourself a personal goal for the day, as well as the ones someone else made for you?
2) Make progress toward achieving my goals
It’s not all about setting goals, but actively trying your best to achieve them, or at least taking a few steps closer toward them.
3) Find meaning
Everyone wants their work to feel important, and all occupations are on some level. You may need to dig a little deeper to find meaning, but it is out there.
For instance, a corporate accountant will likely finish the day knowing they helped their clients’ financial stability, essentially being a key link in keeping hundreds, if not thousands, of people employed and their families fed.
4) Be happy
No one can switch happiness on whenever they want – the pursuit of happiness is a marathon, not a sprint, though you can take some bigger strides toward it. Three scientifically proven ways of becoming happier, as published by Inc, involve:
- Exercising more (even as little as seven minutes a day)
- Spending more time with friends and family
- Helping others (two hours of assistance per week is found to boost well-being)
5) Build positive relationships
Don’t get bogged down in office politics and water-cooler gossip, be positive with your relationships and it’s likely that you will find more doors opening to you.
6) Be fully engaged
This one is not always easy, but how alert you are impacts the quality of work you do, and leads to more personal and professional fulfilment. If you can’t answer this one with a “yes”, your next question should be “why?”.
Taking your own reins
Could you use these to develop your personal brand and grab that new job or promotion? Dr Goldsmith certainly thinks so.
“Our research on this is pretty amazing,” he concluded. “Just by challenging ourselves with these six questions every day, what you see is, in many cases, improvement in everything – and in almost all cases, improvement at something.”