As a country on the whole, we are not good savers. According to a recent Time magazine article, only 59% of Americans feel they can retire somewhat or very comfortable, the other 41% are unsure of their retirement future. Even though we know we should be saving for our future, we don’t. The same comes to how much we invest in our on personal and professional development. Whether it be a lack of funds, lack of time, or some other reason, we tend to find excuses to avoid putting ourselves in the uncomfortable position of learning something new or upskilling. As with saving for retirement, we often have the “all or nothing” mentality for our learning development. Graduate degree, too expensive. Week-long workshops, too much time away from work or home. A webinar, slow internet connection. The fact is, you can start small working on your personal development with a four simple steps.
Here’s how you can get started implementing your personal development savings.
- Do you know what you need to learn? Whether your next step is career advancement, enhancing skills for your current role, or personal satisfaction, figuring out what you need to achieve this is the first step. Sources for this could include local job centers, needs assessments, a job of life coach, or through a performance appraisal at your employer (even if you have to take the lead with your manager). On the informal side, simply talking to your significant other or a good friend may help you see what skills you need to develop. Finally, ask yourself “What is the benefit of what I want to learn?”
- What are you budgets? How much time do you want to commit? For paid training, what is your monetary budget? Can you handle homework or other follow up work?
- Do you know your style? Cued Forward will be covering this more in the near future, but to begin ask yourself a few questions: Do you prefer to learn in a group setting? Do you have the focus to work independently or without direction? Do you prefer shorter learning opportunities? Are you comfortable using your phone for more than texting? Do you like interacting with people or networking? These few questions can help guide you towards the best fit learning opportunities.
- Do you know your resources? There are so many free and low-cost, in person and online resources available. There are many non-traditional ways to learn as well. There are even opportunities in your everyday life. You can search the Internet, ask friends, or reach out to us at Cued Forward to help you quickly find resources. Also, if you do not have access to the Internet, contact your local library or us for options. Have you thought about volunteering? Are you aware of the learning benefits of volunteering? Volunteering is a great source for learning leadership, organizational skills, teamwork, soft skills, and business skills to name a few. Finally does your employer offer a tuition or training reimbursement program? If so, find out what types of learning are eligible.
Asking yourself these questions will start leading you down a path where you can reimagine your potential. Similar to starting your retirement savings plan with a $5/week investment and watching your investment grow, your fifteen minutes of planning enable you to take control of your own learning investment. You owe it to yourself to invest.