There are many stages of professional development, and based on my experiences as a sportsman and world champion these stages are:
1. Professional goals and objectives.
My very first step towards my professional development started very early in life. In fact, at 13 years old I had no clue what professional development was. Today, looking back, I realize that I was first inspired by a dream that, as time passed and I evolved professionally, I noticed that such uncontrollable will was called goals and objectives but for me, until this day, it continues to be called a dream which fortunately I managed to fulfill: to be a champion jockey!
2. Create an action plan.
At a young age, I also learned that in order to make my dream come true I needed an action plan. In other words, in order to set professional development goals and objectivesit is necessary to have a plan on how to get there. A true nautical chart.
It is also necessary to be aware that every plan will have adjustments along the way. Sometimes, an unforeseen storm briefly delays the trip requiring repairs to our internal structure. From time to time, a sandbank may require us to deviate a little from our path to be able to reach our desired destination.
That was exactly what happened in my career as a jockey. When I put a plan into action, there were always obstacles tha were never welcome, but that needed to be overcome, which most of the time, brought great learning with it.
3. Personal values.
Occasionally, many obstacles I faced served to test my degree of commitment, resilience, honesty, respect,self-confidence, and emotional intelligence. These personal values should always be defined as a priority in all areas of our lives, including our professional life.
4. Professional growth.
Another crucial step was always observing with particular attention the most experienced professionals in my area, also the ones who, for any reason, stood out the most.This inspired and motivated me, bringing a great opportunity for professional growth.
5. Decision-making and continuous improvement.
Whether making difficult or easy decisions, one more fundamental step is directly linked to decision making speed. During my career as jockey, there were races that used to last just over 1 minute. Consequently, I developed the ability to make quick decisions and most of the time they were the right ones. Making decisions is part of our lives, especially when it comes to our professional area. Correct decision making is strongly linked to the investment made in our professional development. The more we practice, the more prepared we will be for moments where a decision has to be made.
However, that alone is not enough. It is necessary to be open to learning and new discoveries. Mistakes teach. Time teaches. Mostly, the commitment to your goal is what makes you attentive.
Because I believe that nothing is quite so good that it cannot improve, I live with this continuous improvement mindset. Be it for a higher qualification, or to develop new skills, continuous improvement focused on your professional development is always the best decision.
6. Networking and positive relationships.
An additional step of extreme importance is connected to building a strong network based on positive relationships. Positive relationships attract positive relationships and negative relationships attract negative relationships. Always make a thorough analysis before deciding to engage and start a professional relationship. Our focus must invariably be on our professional development and never on professional delay.
7. Become the best version of yourself.
As the last step, I highlight time management together with physical and mental health management. What I mean is, work to balance these fundamental energies to maintain consciousness and consistency in what you do. To sum up, pursue the best version of yourself every day.