Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset
Have you ever heard of a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset? Having a growth mindset allows you to embrace challenges, and it encourages a drive to learn more. Having a fixed mindset means you avoid challenges and easily give up when given the opportunity to overcome obstacles. Which one do you most identify with?
Even in a growth mindset, life tends to take over and we get stuck in our work that we forget about our own professional development. Most of us in government do not have professional development plans. In order to achieve our goals and professional aspirations, we need to hold ourselves accountable for what’s next.
Continuing Education for Government Employees
Here are some easy ways to grow professionally and achieve your career goals.
- Free resources. The misconception is that professional development has to cost money. There are a ton of free resources you can take advantage of – books, podcasts, blogs, Youtube videos, GovLoop Academy, LinkedIn articles, etc. Some of the most valuable lessons can be learned free of charge.
- Encourage a space of growth at work. Motivate your team and send them articles or videos to read or watch. Encourage a space where everyone can share resources that will support them. At my office, I discuss professional development at every check-in to share resources and discuss opportunities.
- Informational interviews. Interested in another position in the next year or in five to 10 years? It doesn’t hurt to start the process now. Grab a virtual coffee with someone you look up to and ask them about their journey. What were some of the challenges they had to overcome? What were the skills they had to cultivate? This will give you a good idea on how to map your own journey to that next step.
- Virtual conferences. Take advantage of virtual conferences that are at a reduced cost or free of charge due to COVID-19. The number of webinar recordings has also gone up. Search associations that you might be a part of and see if they have any webinars on topics you’re interested in.
- Pinpoint that something you’re really passionate about in your current work. Perhaps you enjoy programming or data. Identify something that really energizes you and learn more about it. For example, I enjoy learning about effective leadership. Last year, I was accepted into a 5-month long leadership program that gave me the tools to be a better leader. A few months later, I was promoted at my office to a leadership role. Pinpoint something you’re already doing and keep learning more about it.
- Higher education. Have you been thinking about getting a higher education? My advice is to look at programs near you before making the investment. If they have informational sessions, join them and talk to people currently enrolled. Look at syllabi and the coursework. While government employees tend to gravitate to public policy or public administration, there are other degrees that can certainly support your career. Not interested in making a big investment? Most universities will allow you to take classes in a non-degree seeking capacity and they might even offer certificates.
- Make the time. Whether you decide to watch one video a day or one hour a week to grow your skills, make the time and stick to it. Build it into your routine and acknowledge that this is a part of self-care. You’re doing this for you.
What are some of your favorite ways you support your own professional development? Drop any resources in the comments so we can support each other.
Maribel Castañeda currently serves at the pleasure of Virginia Governor Ralph S. Northam as the Director of Appointments in the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office. She facilitates the appointment process for over 300 state boards and commissions or about 800 appointments each year. She bridges communication between constituents, state agencies, Governor’s Cabinet and organizations who want to share a voice in their government. Her vision is to have each board and commission reflect the Virginia that exists today. Maribel also serves as the Director of Latino Outreach connecting the Hispanic and Latino community to resources and services.