Iron Sharpens Iron - Professional Development Through Your Network


A continuous professional growth track is highly attractive to employers, clients, and customers. Pursuing professional development opportunities isn’t, and shouldn’t, be perceived as a sign of incompetence. On the contrary, it shows that although you are quite good at what you do, you are always looking to improve and perfect your current knowledge with new knowledge; making the application of your skills more elaborate and efficient.

Although there are many different ways to pursue professional development opportunities, one specific way that is often disregarded, or not intentionally nurtured, is your network. As a way of professional development, you could focus on expanding your network to include the finest professionals in different fields.

Much of what I think and act has to do with “the purpose”. Why am I thinking this way? What am I hoping, and in many cases, expecting, to accomplish? When we bring this back to our current context (professional development), what we are expecting to gain is a deeper knowledge on a specific topic. One of the many things why humans are special creatures is because we have the capability to learning and sharing our knowledge from generation to generation. Thus, efficiently and effectively orchestrating our professional relationships to facilitate knowledge exchange and to grow as a professional in your given craft can be intentionally nurtured.

On a previous article, I wrote about how relationships, from a personal experience, are quintessential for our personal and professional lives. Working your relationships to grow as a professional brings more meaning to your interactions and ends up strengthening your relationships. Just keep in mind that both parties need to find a sense of gain; thus mutually beneficial interactions should never escape each other’s courteous minds.

Before we get to reaping some benefits from your network, it is necessary to understand what a good professional relationship entails. In an article published by MindTools, here are some pointers on building and nurturing good professional relationships:

  • Develop Your People Skills

  • Identify Your Relationship Needs

  • Schedule Time To Build Relationships

  • Focus On Your Emotional Intelligence

  • Appreciate Others

  • Be Positive

  • Manage Your Boundaries

  • Avoid Gossiping

  • Listen Actively

With the plethora of quality content floating around the web, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Innovative and efficient ideas, concepts, products, and services are emerging at the speed of light (or so it seems). By expanding your network to include the finest professionals in different fields, you can nurture your growth on a more personal and real level.

So, how can you intentionally attain professional growth via your network and relationships?

The supporting idea behind this approach is that in your relationships you’ll find professional development opportunities by the continuous sharing of knowledge, challenging one another to grow.

“Iron sharpens iron.”

Below you’ll find seven benefits on the search for possible professional development through your network.

Referrals - To new ideas, concepts, people, and opportunities related to your field.

Strengthening Relationships - The more you see and interact with one another, the stronger your relationships will be, which in due time facilitates mutual benefits and growth.

Opportunities - To get involved with some projects to enhance your skills set

Trust - Nurturing healthy professional relationships lead to trusting one another. When trust is present, a sense of open communication is shared and the flow and exchange of knowledge is more vulnerable and absorbent.

Advice - On new initiatives you’re exploring, but others attain a deeper understanding, thus allowing your probability rate of success to increase.

Visibility - The more people see of you, the better the chances will be that they’ll reach out to you once the need emerges from their end.

Altruistic Helping Hand - Tending to people’s problems allow you to use your brain from a different angles, allowing you to grow deeper as a professional.

As previously stated, a continuous professional growth track is highly attractive to employers, clients, and customers. When you pursue professional development opportunities, it shows that you are always looking to improve and perfect your current knowledge with new knowledge; making the application of your skills more elaborate and efficient. As a way of professional development, you could focus on expanding your network to include the finest professionals in different fields and challenge one another, as iron sharpens iron, in favor of growth.

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What other thoughts would you add to this post? I am interested in hearing your thoughts in the comments below.

As always, thank you for reading my post. Through Sprowl & Smith Coaching, I am always writing about productivity, being ready, and flourishing. Should you be interested in reading my future posts, please click “Subscribe” and feel free to also connect via Twitter, Facebook, g+, Youtube, and Sprowl & Smith Coaching.

You might also be interested in my new and free system for achieving your goals while staying highly productive and organized on both your personal and professional lives. You can download this system here: The Engineering of Getting What You Want / Reaching Your Goals

About the Author

Mike Sprowl is becoming the most sought after Readiness & Flourishing Coach and Consultant in the coaching community. He is famous for helping clients find a direction, implement personalized pathways, and facilitate flourishing and growth so that their lives are meaningful and purposeful without being negative.​

#ProfessionalDevelopment #Networking #Relationships #Opportunity

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