A year of intense professional development

I just completed a review of my activities completed in the past year.  I am happy and proud of the results.  I have done a lot in 12 months. I must say it has been a mix of being pushed and choosing on my own to excel and maximize professional development. I completed some very interesting projects.  I also focused a lot on learning.  If you have been reading Project-Aria, you know that I completed my PMP in early February 2014.

See PMP Study Plan

It is a good time to share some of my thoughts on professional development.  I say professional development, because Project-Aria is focused on project management.  However, I strongly believe we are One person.  So these tips equally apply to personal development.

7 tips to maximize professional development


Value continuous learning

Life is a long journey of learning, and learning should be a lifestyle.  You have never learned enough.  You have never learned too much.

Here are two key frequent errors related to learning:

  1. Too many consider as learning only what you do in school and college when you are young, before starting your adult working life.  In today’s world, with the pace of innovation and new knowledge, you have to learn constantly or face obsolescence of knowledge.
  2. Too many ignore the long-term benefit of learning something constantly.  Image what you can learn over 5 or 10 years by simply focusing on what you can learn today, this week, this month and this quarter.  One simple step at a time.  With many small steps, you can even end up with diplomas or certifications that you thought you would never have the option to do.
Learning should be a lifestyle

Value change

In project management, we talk often about change management.  In the 21th century, it is status quo  thatshould be viewed as the most risky proposition.  If you want something different, you will have to love changes.   Status quo is highly overrated.  It may feel comfortable, but that is just an illusion.

The comfort of your current context can vanish quickly, without any warning. Value change

Go out of your comfort zone

To achieve great results, you must be able to live comfortably outside of your comfort zone.  Comfort is just highly overrated.  It may feel scary at first, it may feel awkward in the beginning. Keep pushing.  It is outside your comfort zone that you will grow the most.

Don’t wait until life forces you to be outside of the comfort zone to explore life.

Be in motion

The most important part of any plan to maximize professional development is this: be in motion.   It is not to have the perfect plan, a vision statement, a long-term goal.  It is to be in motion.  Focus on actions and you will be results.  All ideas and plans without actions are just dreams, or even wishful thinking.  Life is a beautiful journey.  Be in motion.

Even too much learning can be an excuse to avoid taking bold actions to achieve your goals.

Serious change

I am always fascinated when there is a disconnect between a desire for improvements and the changes people are willing to consider.  Too often, I see people wanting huge change in their life, yet they are only willing to change 1% of their current context… I always wonder:

How can you have results so dramatically different if you are essential keeping everything static?

A strong support community

Achieving excellence, developing yourself, learning and optimize your results are not things you should achieve alone. You have to select carefully who will be part of the community of people surrounding and supporting you.

There are three elements to consider:

  • Be part of a community. the journey is more interesting with others.  You don’t have to be lonely is the process.  Not only it will be more interesting with others, the development will be much faster.
  • Surround yourself with people that will motive you
  • Remove from your network negative persons who will not support you, or worse, pull you down

Often, it is the last part that is the most difficult.  The issue is often not finding new people with new ideas. The issue is leaving behind those already in our life who do not support our new goals and desire to aim higher.

Select a great community of people to surround and support you


Habits can be good and bad.  It depends on the context.

It is true that some bad habits may need to be removed and replaced permanently.However, today’s habit you are trying to change may have been good in the past.  And today’s habit that you are trying to gain may be the ones that you will want (or need) to change in the future.

I’d rather have appropriate actions for the current content.

Be agile and flexible. Appropriate actions are better than habits

Take a vacation

Finally, it is equally important to master the art of managing cycles in your life.  Give yourself a break from time to time.  You cannot just be on high-performance  mode all the time.   In fitness and sports, you cannot always be in training and competition mode.  You have to balance performance with rest.  Too often, in the western culture, we value busyness too much.  To maximize results, you need to know balance high performance with rest.

There is such a things as too much learning and actions. Vacations are key to your success

The last thought

Remember that your development is like a journey.  Enjoy the path.  You will reach milestones, but the journey is never over.  That is part of the beauty of life : always discovering and creating.

Don’t be afraid of the unknown.  Move forward.  Many discoveries are waiting for you. Make it a lifestyle.

And don’t forget to rest and take some vacation.