Professional Skills: Plan, Focus, Maintain


It’s not so much what you do when you get your degree or certification, it’s what you do AFTER that makes the difference.

It’s been a week since the San Antonio Rock and Roll Half Marathon, and I’m busy trying to figure out how to maintain my fitness and/or fine tune my training over the next few weeks. Should I stick with the same routine or step it up a bit? Should I introduce some strength training? How much work is truly necessary to maintain my existing fitness?

The same questions apply in our careers.

At certain points in our professional lives we peak. Maybe we went back to school and got a graduate degree or maybe we got a certification. The thing to remember is that that level of knowledge/skill needs some serious maintenance if you want to stay at the top of your game.

Now I’m not trying to minimize the importance of education, relevant certifications or any other formal training. I owe a lot of my career to the training I’ve received – I’m the last person who would say that this stuff doesn’t matter.

But I WILL say that the work can’t stop once you’ve reached your goal. In fact, reaching your goal is only the beginning!

In the past I’ve written about how unbelievably hard it is to get back in shape after ‘getting out of shape’. That being said, it’s not much of a stretch to say that in our work lives, it’s unbelievably hard to gain relevant skills once you’ve let the skills you have become irrelevant!

Building and maintaining your newly acquired skill requires the same amount of dedication and planning that was put in to getting them in the first place. Make a plan, stick to it and use your energy to stay ahead of the curve!

Just as in running, you don’t want to be working twice as hard in the future to get back what you absent mindedly lost!


Image Credit: By Andreas Tille, via Wikimedia Commons


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