Personal Development is Professional Development

We like to put up barriers between our lives and our working lives as if we somehow become someone different when we are at work. We hope this is true when we become someone we don't like very much at work, someone who is unsafe and unhappy and unable to believe that the work they are doing matters. At the end of the day, we think, our real life begins.

Now turn it around. Do you want to work with people who are unsafe and unhappy and unable to believe that the work they are doing matters? Do you expect those people to rise to the top of your organization and keep your job safe during rapid change in the world and the competition?
© Can Stock Photo / Mattkusb
I recently had the opportunity to do some work with people who work for an organization that does really important work. They told me that they liked working there. But when I asked them what they wanted to improve in their own skills, they drew a blank.

They looked to me like people who were insecure about what they were doing and the results they were getting. They were so insecure that they had built barricades between themselves and any possible goals for improvement. They might describe themselves as high-performing, but they didn't act like high-performers (high-performers always have a list of things they are working to improve). They didn't trust their colleagues to have good goals and they didn't trust themselves either.

There are two possible ways to make things better in a situation like this. One is for the organization to go though a rapid and dramatic cultural shift. Is that likely where you are working now? The other is for individuals to develop their own goals, their own confidence, and their own ability to grow. If they do that, they have a chance to be happier where they are and a chance to make it somewhere better.

You are one mind/brain/body system wherever you go. The life you have at work is your life. You don't have to wait for someone to change your work for you to change your working life. You can start with working on you.

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