How much time do you devote each day and each week toward your professional development? I know one international federation in another country that spends 30% of their budget on professional development. I try to spend 45 minutes to an hour a day on professional development. Joe Vigil PHD, a great coach and mentor does an hour of professional development reading each morning at 5:00 am. He has been coaching for over 60 years and is now 80 years old. Nort Thornton, one of the greatest swim coaches ever, share ideas from books we have read and challenge each others ideas on training on a periodic basis. He has been coaching for close to sixty years and is in his mid seventies. You are never too old or too knowledgeable to stop learning.
What exactly is professional development? First: I do not count time on the Internet reading trash, time on the Internet on sites like Ted, Seth Godin do count. They challenge you and make you think. Second: Read books and research articles in and out of your field. Read authors that challenges your thinking. I try to read 100 books a year. I spend close to one thousand dollars on subscriptions to periodicals and scientific journals a year. Third:Find a mentor not a guru.Someone who can be your bullshit filter and who will guide you and challenge you. Fourth: Interact with other professionals, attend conferences, and take trips to observe other professionals you respect. Fifth: Invite other professional to come and evaluate your work, they will see things you miss.
Never stop learning and challenging yourself to get better. Just about the time you think you have it figured out, some new ideas will arise to challenge you. Stay ahead of the curve, be proactive, do not copy and follow, innovate and lead. Get out of your comfort zone, for me it is mastering technologies that will make me better and more productive. The only way you can do that is continual professional development. I conclude with a quote I just saw:
Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity. Christopher Morley