Checklist for Moving Forward: Develop Yourself [4 of 7]

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 [Taunya is a registered nurse, an author, and a mother to three children. This post is an excerpt from a non-fiction text Taunya is working on periodically entitled From Me to You: A Mother’s Legacy to Her Daughters. Find her author page at facebook.com/authorTSW]

Now that you have come up with your short and long term goals, consider what it will take to accomplish them.  This is a good time to pull your journal out.  You will need to brainstorm and come up with a list for each—short term and long term.

Feed Your Competence

A good place to start is to think about what you already know and have at your disposal.  List all of your talents and gifts.  Next, you want to make a list of what you lack as far as knowledge and skills.  Remember, this exercise is not intended to make you feel insecure about the abilities you do not possess. It is simply to guide your search for knowledge and lead to your development.

You may also find it helpful to review the habits of someone who is accomplished in the same area you are striving toward.  This will give you some insight into what it takes to reach your goals.  Read about their experience, lessons they learned, skills they acquired and connections they made in order to develop their craft.

Steer clear of simple admonitions like, “work hard” and “fail often.” These are abstractions. You need behaviors to model like “write for 2 hours in the morning” or “read each paragraph backwards when editing.”

Be sure not to rush the development process, these things take time.  Rushing limits your learning and results in attempts to find short-cuts.  Learning new skills is an exciting venture, especially when it enhances your goals and products.

Explore Your Options

When thinking about your options for development, think about what is going to be doable.  Do not create any more stress than necessary.  Order your learning process for ease of implementation each day or whenever fits your schedule. That way, you are not tempted to think of this as too hard. You are less likely to make excuses that delay your progress.

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Feed your passion daily just like you feed your body.

Some of the most common options for learning are books, videos, trainings on the internet, or CDROM.  Some may even consider taking a class, attending a seminar, or joining a club.  Perhaps subscribing to a magazine in your area of interest is just what you need.

Do not feel bad because you cannot interview Edgar Allen Poe or Picasso.  A trip to your local library or book store will offer books full of stories and interesting facts about people who have reached their goals. You will also learn how they achieved.

If it seems like there are too many options and you feel overwhelmed, you can always narrow them down.  Think about how you learn.  Are you a reader, listener, watcher or hands on?  Cater to yourself. Make this an enjoyable process for you.  After all, YOU are the one learning your craft.

Commit Your Time

Making time for your craft may be quite challenging for some.  When you already have a hectic schedule, it may seem torturous to add more. This is especially true of something that requires development and does not generate any immediate income.  If this describes you, and you are yet committed to developing your craft, there is a solution.

First let us talk about how you think of your craft. Your craft has to be just as important to you as eating daily.  You need to eat to get nutrients and energy.  You need to spend time on your craft to stay motivated towards the goals you set.  One way to go about finding what time you have available is to make out a 7-day schedule, displaying Sunday through Saturday, that includes work, school, errands, housework, and mealtimes—all the activities that you engage in daily. This enables you to see exactly how much time you actually have and to what activities it is given.  Make sure you list each of your waking hours including the weekend.

Next, decide how much time is needed to learn or develop.  Now, according to what you have come up with, start putting time aside for your craft.  It may be daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.

The main objective is that you commit to putting time in.

I would suggest having short gaps between the times you commit to learning because you want what you are learning to be fresh in your mind. It is good to keep things moving forward.  The time you commit to developing yourself can only benefit you and assist you in reaching your goals.

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