If you’re looking to expand your knowledge and effectiveness, you may be thinking of traditional methods such as going back to school, taking a course, or pursuing a certification. The problem with those approaches is not many actually do it. So if you do, great. And if you need something now, right now, to get better results, there is no need to wait.

Real time is right now. You can use these tips any time. You don’t have to wait around for someone else to help you, invite you, or bring you on board… the point of real time is you deciding when you are ready, and then immediately moving forward. You’re in.

If you’re looking for ways to build the skills and capabilities you need, then it’s time you followed these five simple tactics. Everything you learn at work can then be applied to strengthen other areas of your life, from volunteer activities to your role in the community, as well as your future dream job.

1. Resolve! Start Your Personal Revolution

Don’t wait for someone else to offer you the opportunity for personal or professional growth. It can be a loooong wait. Rise up! You don’t need anyone’s permission or approval.

It’s time to put yourself in the driver’s seat and start thinking about the following questions:

  • What are your goals?
  • What skills do you need to learn to reach them?
  • What lessons can you learn from your past experiences, both good and bad?
  • What is slowing you down? How can you work through it, or around it?

The result of this thinking is that your own learning agenda is designed for you, based on what matters most to you. Your personal revolution is an uprising of your goals, not some company’s mission statement — you are driving your own learning in ways that you can take with you forever.

2. Connect with Your Community

In our interconnected world, learning to work with a group is a fundamental skill that all effective leaders must learn. There’s almost nothing that can be done solo these days, so focus on interacting with and positively influencing those around you. Trust me, you’ll need this skill, whatever you plan for your future.

Use the tools you have, or start to develop new ones, that help you to listen to, collaborate with, and direct others. Any time you are in a group setting, there is an opportunity for you to learn, either by being the leader or by observing the leader. Real leadership that creates a better future for all is the hero’s journey of our careers.

As you work with the people around you, keep these concepts in mind:

  • Am I fully considering the needs of others so that we can effectively work together?
  • How can I start to move things forward with the help of others?
  • Is my impact on those around me what I intended?

Power Tip: Reflect on these questions weekly in a journal.
SuperHero Tip: Ask a peer or colleague about their perceptions of your impact on those around you…and then be curious and open as they reply.

3. You Can Learn Anything

Once you’ve mastered the elements of your current job description, start to turn your attention to acquiring skills that will help you to grow. If you haven’t mastered the elements of your job description, start there.

With the fast-paced world we live in today, something is always changing, growing, innovating. And that means there is always something new for you to learn so you can deliver great work.

Challenge yourself by seeking out opportunities for growth that could be right in front of you. When investing time in furthering your knowledge and expertise, consider these options:

  • Are there any trainings available that would help me advance my career?
  • Is there someone who could act as a mentor for my growth?
  • Where do I want to head, and who has the expertise to show me a way forward?

4. Find Your Connection Inwards

Find a quiet space and take a moment to listen. Let go of the outside sounds and focus on the internal sensations. Close your eyes and tune into your inner voice. Ask your yourself:

  • What calling do I find most important in life?
  • What is my inner wisdom saying to me?
  • What goals am I trying to reach?
  • What would my heart say?

Investigating your goals and values can help lead you in uncovering deeper purposes. My sense is that purpose is multi-layered, and we always have more to explore in this territory. Being connected inwardly so that you feel true alignment within yourself is an ongoing quest for most people—a question to return to, updating and refining throughout our lives.

As you learn to allow yourself to be guided by your inner wisdom and core beliefs, start looking for ways to integrate those values into where you are right now. Imagine that there is a way that your current circumstances could prepare you for the future you desire. Open your eyes to those opportunities that already exist and take advantage of them to begin moving closer to your goals.

5. Learn with Your Community

Two heads are better than one… If you are only talking to yourself, you do not have all the information…

While real-time development is something that you initiate on your own, it’s much easier to start growing and making changes when you mutually invest in growing and being grown by your interactions with other people.

There is so much valuable knowledge that you won’t be able to find written in a book or on the web. One of the best resources for learning is your peers. They have years of experience and accumulated wisdom to share.

Find people around you who have common interests and goals and start learning together. Could be a neighbor, or a colleague or a friend of your brother’s. Seek out professionals who have the knowledge you want to obtain. Ask them questions, and help them where you can. Growing your network will help you grow your ideas, your skills, and yourself.

Don’t limit yourself to where you live. With video calls and other technology, it’s easy for you to connect with and learn from people anywhere in the world. When thinking about your community, consider:

  • What professional organizations are working on issues you care about?
  • What networks can I join to connect with knowledgeable professionals?
  • Where can I find contact information for inspiring individuals?

Life is happening in the now. Get started. Begin with yourself.

You have the power to create positive change in your life and in the world around.

Go forth in real time.

A wise Chinese proverb once said “A good teacher opens the door for you, but you must enter the room by yourself.”

Find additional real-time development ideas at The Conscious Professional blog.

Jessica Hartung

Jessica Hartung is a partner, coach, and guide for those leveling-up their personal professional leadership, their teams, and their communities to a better future.

Jessica has a passion for inspiring and preparing people to grow from their work to improve their lives. In 1998, she founded Integrated Work, a consulting firm that brings top-notch professional development to mission-driven leaders, while being a learning laboratory for innovative work practices.

Jessica provides self-directed professional development tools to leaders at all levels striving to create positive impact.

Get 9 Strategies to Take Your Conscious Career to the Next Level

Get back to doing the work that matters to you. Elevate your skills right now with these simple strategies for success, sent to you when you sign up.

Success! Check your inbox for the 9 strategies.