The Price of Growth: Why Investing in Your Professional Development Is Non-Negotiable

Posted by Guest Author on May 8, 2024 5:00:00 AM

The Price of Growth: Why Investing in Your Professional Development Is Non-Negotiable

I recently received an interesting question from one of my leaders in a large team meeting. She asked, “How much do you spend each year for your own professional development?” I quickly had an amount in my mind, but also knew it was a number that would likely terrify some. The conversation that ensued centered around the topic of, “Who is responsible for our own growth and development?" Over the years, I’ve grown pretty passionate about the topic.

In my younger days as a leader, I can tangibly remember my hunger to grow as a leader. However, the environment I was in lacked strong, healthy leadership. I didn't have a plethora of mentors that I could seek out to help me grow. Now, nearly 30 years later, I find myself looking back and reflecting on the investment I’ve made in myself and how that has paid dividends financially, professionally, and personally. 

In today’s work culture, companies are known (or not known) for their investment in their employees. Companies that gain rave reviews from their employees are often offering a variety of benefits to support their employees’ personal and professional development. While it’s wonderful that today’s corporate America is seeing the need to invest in their workforce, I firmly believe that the ultimate ownership of growth and development should be owned by the individual. Why?

Because no one has more to gain from you being intentional about your growth than you do.

It’s great to have others join on that journey. But ultimately, it is YOUR journey. If you have a leader that supports you and takes some responsibility for your growth, count yourself lucky. And, if as a leader you hope to invest in others, you must first invest in yourself. 

Whether this concept of owning your development is old or new to you, here are a few pointers to help you take your own growth and development to the next level.

Believe in your own worth and surround yourself with people that support that.
If you don’t believe that you are worth being invested in, you (and others) won’t spend the time, money, or energy. Part of the growth mindset is believing that you have the ability to fail, grow, improve, and learn new things.

Create your own mentorship network.
Early in my career I remember hoping and praying that God would somehow miraculously send me a mentor - this superpower of a person who knew every solution to every one of my problems. That person never came. Over the years I’ve learned that, rather than seeking out one mentor that supplies everything that you need, it's more effective to seek out a myriad of mentors. Mentors come and go and serve a purpose throughout the dynamics of your life. I once heard it said that mentors are for a season, a reason, or a lifetime. Some come for a short time based upon what you need in life. Others come to fulfill a specific purpose. And if you find a mentor that will walk alongside you for a lifetime, you are blessed.

Invest in yourself.
Your development may come with a cost. That cost might be in your time, talent, or finances. Make whatever investment necessary to see the results you’re looking for. That might mean bingeing a bit less Netflix. It also may be using some of your entertainment budget to register for a course or engage with a leadership coach. Just like any other financial investment, making wise deposits will result in a return on your investment for years to come.

Ask for feedback.
For anyone intending to grow their career, feedback is crucial. Finding someone in your life, whether friends, partners, bosses, or mentors, to speak truth into your life is one of the quickest ways to further your career. Not only is it important to be open to receiving feedback, it’s also crucial to actively seek it out. Radical Candor by Kim Scott is a great resource if you’re looking to perfect the art of feedback in your own life and career.

Remember, no one is going to care more about your own career development than you will. So, how much do I spend each year on professional development? My answer was that I spent somewhere around $5K a year. That’s usually spent on courses, training, books, resources, or coaching to help me fill in the gaps in my own leadership. The result has been an investment in a growing toolbox that has and continues to serve me and the leaders I serve well. You never know when you’re going to need a hammer or a screwdriver or a hacksaw. Having a toolbox full of leadership tools is an invaluable resource that yields dividends for you and those that benefit from your knowledge and expertise.


If you’d like support in helping you navigate your leadership limits, we’d love to help! Our leadership coaching program is designed to empower leaders like you to navigate complexities with confidence, transform challenges into opportunities, and unlock your full potential. With a focus on problem-solving and overcoming obstacles, our experienced coaches provide personalized guidance tailored to your unique needs and goals. You can schedule your free call here.  


Jon Plotner is a certified organizational leadership coach with over 25 years of experience in both ministry and the marketplace. He is passionate about coming alongside leaders to see their organizations thrive by equipping them with the tools they need to lead well. Jon utilizes his skills in process design, strategic planning, organizational coaching, project management, and change management to equip leaders to maximize their personal and organizational effectiveness.

Topics: Leadership, personal growth, personal development, Leadership Development

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