The Artistry of Me – Part 4: Bite Size Snacks to Feed the Soul

Hi everyone. In my last blog, I talked about the benefits of walking which was triggered by the recent addition of our puppy Bailey to our family.  Today's topic focuses on Professional Development and the challenge of yes, you can 'teach an old dog new tricks!'

"Wait, did she just call herself old?" you ask yourself.  On the contrary, as my ‘old’ refers to ‘seasoned’ and ‘experienced’.

There are many articles supporting the fact that you can teach us old dogs new tricks. I like this one in particular; it summarises simply why honing your craft reaps positive outcomes. I would add that seasoned and experienced professionals do not put us all out to pasture in the ‘done learning’ department either!

Honing your craft is a professional development journey regardless of age, gender and profession. It is our responsibility to be always-on in learning, so we may lead, shape and influence our incredibly talented millennials to be at their heightened potential.

One of the main obstacles of enriching our personal development is, of course, time. Time to invest in ourselves whilst working a full-time job. We all know we must do it and many have good intention. How many have blocked time on our calendars for online training but never follow through because the job got in the way? Yup, me too.

Except now that I have time ‘aka laid off’, I have no excuses! Its one of those ah-ha moments really. You know the realization that honing one’s craft requires a consistent cadence to prepare for situations like these. Below are my personal examples of honing in on my professional development that may be applicable to most:

  1. Join and contribute to an Association that you feel passionate about...I joined the WCT (Women in Communication and Technology) a few months ago. As I mentioned in my initial blog of this series, I have a strong connection to women in leadership and therefore this association makes a lot of sense for me. The membership fee was nominal and the offerings plenty. I don’t think it is enough, however, to just have 'Member' as part of your repertoire. Being a contributing member is much more fruitful. I've had the pleasure of meeting the staff of the WCT and dabbling in a few activities. They publish my blogs in their news section (thank you!), and I was able to participate in a pilot that is now available for all to join!

  2. Its called WCT Connect; a community for women to share articles, pose questions and highlight profiles and jobs. It's kind of like an intimate version of our own little Canadian LinkedIn. Anyone can join, so please check it out.

  3. Get your hands dirty in your craft...As a marketing professional, for me, that means getting down with digital!

  4. My blogs have been a source of inspiration during this personal journey. Content really is King 😊 I've loved tapping into the left side of my brain designing editorial calendar and coming up with captivating subject lines and topics.

    1. Engagement analysis has been cool too! I even played around with some Paid Advertising on LinkedIn to analyze my engagement effectiveness

    2. Social Media  I also raised my hand to create some social media content around our local TEDx Kanata event being held on March 1st. It took some thoughtfulness to research the 8 speakers and build captivating content to help promote registrations on their social media feeds. (and hey! If you’re reading this and, in the area, come join us. The speakers are incredible! I can’t wait!! Check them out!

  5. Learn a new tech stack…There are SO many cool tools out there to market with. WordPress and Grammarly have been my go-to's for my blogs.

  6. And since Video is the Queen to Content the King these days, I also decided to play around with a video tool called One Mob. Diode Digital recently found that online video is a 600% more effective marketing tool than print and direct mail combined. Check out the stats of video effectiveness from this infographic and watch out for my Part 5 Blog coming soon in Video!

  7. Online e-learning...a no-brainer and so many places to refer to. As a Premium LinkedIn member, I like to refer to their training portal for my online daily ritual.

  8. Mentor and be mentored…In Part 2 of my blog series, I spoke about the importance of networking. Meeting new people means having the opportunity to learn from them. I've had the good fortune to both take and provide advice from those in my travels and to leverage a 20-year mentor relationship with a former executive that took the chance on putting me in management at the ripe old age of 29 years ago. (I dedicate this Blog to you, Mikey. MUAW!)

  9. Flex your strategic muscle...In my experience, most jobs require both strategy and tactical responsibilities. Big picture planning is a necessity in any managerial position. I've used this time to assist my husband and his partners in developing a strategic marketing plan to move their 13+ year business into double-digit growth in 2018.

Sharpening your skills shouldn’t fall within layoff periods only. But if they do, its time well invested to keep you current, motivated and marketable; all attributes highly recommended to build confidence come interview time.

It also satisfies the hunger of 'a good day at the office' feeling so off for my lunch break....and to walk the dog 🐶

Kimberley Behnan