February 28, 2020

Develop Yourself this Leap Day

So what are you doing with the extra day that you’ve been gifted this month? All of us have an extra day this February – Saturday 29th– because of course, 2020, is a leap year.

You could let those additional 24 hours pass without giving them much thought, or you could decide to do something useful with them. You could spend the extra hours on your career. Not your job and day-to-day work matters, but your career – where you’re going, where you want to go, how you’re going to get there, what skills you will need, what the obstacles are….

If you’re busy, as most of us are, then it’s hard to find the time and headspace to think properly about the direction your career is taking and what you need to do to move things along. The new year is traditionally a time for taking stock and thinking afresh. Holidays can be the same. Why not February 29, that once every four years event, too? 

Take to time to reflect

Taking a bit of time to step back from everyday work and life and reflect on what’s working and what’s not enables you to establish if you’re on the right track. If you are, great, either keep going as you are or better still, think about how you can build on what you are already doing. Think 12 months, two years, five years ahead. What can you do to be in an even better place in the future? Are there any new skills you could learn? Do you have any weak spots that need working on? Where is your sector going and how can you keep abreast of change? 

Refresh your thinking

It’s very easy to just drift along when things are going well, but taking a more proactive approach could – should – lead to more opportunities. It also helps stop the rot setting in. Careers can very easily stagnate if you don’t regularly refresh your thinking. As HR and L&D professionals, you will be only too aware of how work is changing. It’s important for you to keep your skills up to date and not just work to keep employees’ skills up to date.

If your reflections tell you that you’re not on the right track and that you want to make some changes, then think about what those changes might be and how to effect them. Are there any development opportunities that could help you shift direction or move up a step, if that’s what you want? If there aren’t any that are immediately obvious, could you create some? Think about your skills development and learning needs. Do you have any gaps in competence or knowledge that you would like to fill? If so, how can you do that? 

For L&D professionals, the LPI Capability Map provides a fantastic opportunity to assess your current skills and compare them with those of your peers. The LPI Capability Map highlights your strongest areas and shows where you can make improvements, for both individuals and teams who are employed in the workplace learning sector.

Be proactive about your career

There are so many ways that we can develop ourselves now and invest in our own learning. Sometimes, it’s only when you start digging around that you actually realise how much is out there. Get online and have a good hunt around to see what all the options are.

Even if you only spend two hours of this extra day reading up on a subject or making a skills development plan, it’s time that you wouldn’t otherwise have spent on it. Perhaps make some leap year resolutions. Where do you want to be by the time the next leap year – 2024 – comes around? Now there’s food for thought.