Professional Development means new beginnings. New beginnings are a challenge if you are not sufficiently resourced. It is impossible to go from nought to 60 mph at any great speed if you do not have enough fuel in your tank. It is easy to become depleted at this dark time of the year when, after we have given all we have to others in these festive times, we have sweet F.A. left over for ourselves…..
An added reason for depletion in amongst high achievers shows up in the Gestalt Cycle of Experience. This is a simple but really useful tool for divining just where you might be getting in your own way regarding your professional development. Fear not, this is not about blame. This is a tool that grants you the ability to recognise patterns that no longer serve you. Letting go of these patterns can help you to become powerful in the here and now.
Below there is a diagram that shows this cycle of experience. If you can identify at which point (& we do all have a point), then you can learn to work with it. Some people never start project a project. Some cannot resource their a task. Some people are not completer / finishers and never reach the end of their experience. Some people refuse to acknowledge or celebrate their achievement once they have reached its conclusion.
Do any of these ring a bell? Personally I have the stubbornness of a mule and I WILL finish a project I stated whether it serves me to do so or not. What I also stubbornly refuse to do is to celebrate and reward myself for doing so. Then I begin my next project under-resouced. Here is that familiar place of ‘nothing’ in the tank. This for me is the place of frustration when I am unable to make ‘it’ happen as fast as I could. ….. grrrrrr! And No wonder: Whilst my intention is flying along, my psyche is exhausted! It is achievement from the previous project that nourishes the next.
For an ‘active’ personality types who have a perfectionist streak then the festive season combined with a general cycle of undernourishment can spell burnout….. Then we question how can we fit professional development into our world at all?
In order to make a new beginning, on a new project, job or year, we need to refuel. We need to actively choose the place of ‘Confluence’ where we withdraw, reflect, learn and celebrate. How do we refuel in a world that mostly refuses to grant us two weeks undisturbed on a beach with a book? We can do two things: We can learn to accept a complement. What does this look like? Accepting a complement looks like saying ‘Thank You’. It’s as simple as that. Say thank you as opposed to politely dismissing a complement means we absorb the energy that goes with it. To absorb that energy nourishes us.
Secondly nourishment concerns acknowledgements and rewards. We need to practise noticing when we have completed something. We need to learn how to reward ourselves. We need to do this rigorously. We need to reward ourselves for completing a project or task whether it came up to our high standards or not. We need to quit picking fault with the outcome and reward ourselves for showing up and seeing it through to the end.
Celebrations and rewards can come in a multitude of forms. It might be a quiet ‘well done’ to yourself, to a full day spa. It might be buying that book you wanted after all, or breaking a bottle of Prosecco with the team. you will know your way of celebrating so I will leave that bit to you.
And what if you still find you are not acknowledging and rewarding yourself. What if perfectionism refuses to allow you? A suggestion is peer mentoring. Find a colleague or fellow professional whom you admire (and who holds you in good heart), and set up accountability sessions…. you might find these people have a similar difficulty and would benefit too?
So these are thoughts on how to get from zero to 60mph quick time. It’s not about perfecting the technique of slamming your foot hard on the accelerator. The efficacy of your take-off lies in the preparation. Nourish yourself before you begin the next journey and you’ll be far more potent when you do. This is how to be purposeful about your professional development.
Where do you interrupt yourself? I’d love to know.