3 Tips for Establishing Professional Development Goals
It can be difficult to know what our “best” looks like in the workforce. It can be so easy to compare ourselves to those around us and set a standard based on what someone next to us is doing. The truth is that our professional development goals should be based on God’s Word rather than what someone in the cubicle next to us is doing.
The reality is:
- You will work around people you do not always agree with.
- You will work around people who gossip.
- You will work around people who do not respect authority.
- You will work around people who complain about everything.
- You will work around people who do the bare minimum.
- What someone else does should not be our sole professional or spiritual standard.
Key Elements for Professional Development Goals
Here are several key elements to consider as you establish your professional development goals and begin dreaming for your future:
1. Avoid office gossip.
Gossip is the beginning of a downward spiral – in your workplace, your professional development goals, and your spiritual life. It can take away your credibility and reliability. It can cause you to always focus on the negative and constantly be searching for faults in other people. People might find it difficult to confide in you and trust you with something when you are known to gossip and talk down to and about other people.
You might have a difficult time trusting others because if your inner circle is known for gossiping, then you might constantly be on edge, wondering who to trust. People who work with you and for you might find it difficult to have honest and raw conversations, making it nearly impossible to build authentic relationships. God calls us to live set apart – and that means in your conversations and thoughts to and about other people.
Consider these workforce scenarios:
Becky is the boss of a mid-level company but is best friends with one of her employees, Susanna. Becky often hangs out with Susanna and talks about her employees’ personal lives and her frustrations with their work performance.
Tina, Sally, and Betty just received their work performance reviews. Sally’s review was higher than Tina and Betty’s. Tina and Betty talked negatively about Sally’s review and immediately started discussing possibilities of the boss showing favoritism and wondering what she did to receive these gold stars for her work performance.
While it is nice to have people we can confide in and look to for professional direction/advice, we must be careful not to replace the role that God should fill in our lives.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – Ephesians 4:29
Whether you are a higher-up or not – it is best to avoid gossip. You should try to build your co-workers up rather than tearing them down. Letting unwholesome talk fill the room just puts up a wall, destroys relationships, and can create a hostile work environment. A team accepts its differences, works together, and lets each other’s strengths and weaknesses become more like a puzzle – each person filling their unique role.
We need to be confident in who God created us to be and focused on our life’s mission – to draw closer to God, tell others about Him, live intentionally, and let our light shine – even in the workplace.
2. Don’t try to fit the “well everyone else is doing it” mold.
If you see your co-workers sneaking out early every day, does that mean you should join in? If you see the person in the cubicle next to you rolling her eyes at the boss when he turns his back, does that mean you should join in? In a world that so easily conforms, God tells us not to conform and do something just because someone else is doing it and getting away with it.
When in doubt, choose to work hard even when no one is checking everything you do. When in doubt, choose not to roll your eyes and talk bad about the boss. When in doubt, say something encouraging to the employee who is being hard on herself. When in doubt, let God form the mold of who you should be instead of what everyone around you is doing.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – Romans 12:2
3. Think of each task you complete as an act of worship.
Our work should be done in service to God and others rather than just as “another thing to do.” Our mindset can shift when we view “thankless” tasks as acts of worship.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31
Just like every person and soul matters to God, every task that we are given should matter to us. Always put forth your best effort. It doesn’t matter if you are stapling information packets for a meeting, reorganizing a file cabinet, doing payroll, teaching kindergarteners, answering a phone call, cleaning bathrooms, wiping snotty noses, or putting out fires – whatever work you are doing matters. Your role is part of a larger puzzle. While some tasks might seem mundane, they matter to your professional development goals
Your standard of hard work is not based on what everyone else is doing…it is in the tasks God has placed on your to-do list right now in this season of life. You can worship God in everything you do – refilling candy bowls, scrubbing office toilets, restocking toilet paper, making copies, creating reports, or working holidays.
Our attitude and motivation have much to do with our own choices and responses in the work environment, and at the end of the day, which is what we are accountable for. If you are in a season of frustration at work, know that God can use you.Whether you are overdue for a promotion or feel like you are being overlooked, God sees you. When you choose not to say anything negative when everyone else is standing around gossiping about the new employee, God sees you. When you offer to work an event that no one else wants to, God sees you.
If you are in a season of frustration or need guidance in being the professional you know God wants you to be, know that a Christian counselor can step in and guide you in this journey. If you have professional dreams and need guidance as to what your next steps should be, we would love to aid you in this beautiful journey of trying to live out your God-given passions. It is never too late to set new goals, dream big dreams, and continue seeing God’s best for your life.
Bible Verses on Hard Work
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. – Colossians 3:23-24
Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. – Philippians 2:14-15
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! – Psalm 90:17
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. – Proverbs 16:3
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. – 1 Corinthians 15:58
“Sticky Notes”, Courtesy of Kelly Sikkema, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Laptop User”, Courtesy of Avel Chuklanov, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Note board”, Courtesy of Patrick Perkins, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Planning”, Courtesy of UX Indonesia, Unsplash.com, CC0 License