By Marc Basil | February 1, 2019

The start of the New Year tends to serve as a great time to make a change for the better. Some may use this time to find a new and improved role, while others might look to earn a new certification.

Improving your professional life doesn’t necessarily have to mean a major career move. It could just include challenging yourself to grow more as a professional in your current role.

No matter the level of change, it’s important to challenge yourself with ways to continue learning as a professional. In the Accounting and Finance professions, there are countless ways to further your professional career and education that don’t include a job search, and now is the time to manifest these new challenges!

Check out my 5 Ways to Say YES to Professional Challenges below!

1. Mentorships
Whether you’re just beginning your career or have 20 years of experience, identifying and seeking counsel from a professional mentor is critical. Let’s be honest…None of us have it all figured out, and surrounding ourselves with competent and accomplished business professionals with a vested interest in our success is paramount. A mentor can be virtually anyone and does not need to be someone with whom we work on a daily basis. Your mentor could be a long-time family friend, who’s been in your industry for some time, it might be a former professor from your college, or it may even be a connection from LinkedIn. Regardless of where your mentorship derives from, as long as this person has your best interest in mind and can lend you knowledgeable career advice, this is a valuable relationship.

While being the mentee is beneficial to you, it’s also important to utilize your skillsets, and become a mentor for someone else. At any level, your experience and knowledge are valuable, and can help someone else grow. You will even sharpen your professional skills as well.

2. Professional Certifications
Having professional certifications to show, not only brings credibility to your name when meeting colleagues, managers or even clients, but also demonstrates a high level of technical competency within your profession. It’s never too late to sit for your CPA or get certified as a Project Manager. There are countless options (online, after hours, weekends, etc.) to ensure pursuing a professional certification does not interfere with our day-to-day role.

3. Networking
I’ve spoken about the topic of networking many times in the past. However, I recently attended Brilliant’s Annual Kick-Off event, where our entire team was lucky enough to listen to a keynote speaker, who provided incredible insight on the do’s (and don’ts) of professional networking. My greatest takeaway was the fact that networking is most effective when it is recognized as a “slow burn” rather than something where there will be an instant payoff. It’s important to use consistency and discipline when networking, in order to see positive results long-term.

4. Continued Education + Training
Complacency is often one of the greatest enemies of growth and success. The inspiration we need to overcome this feeling of burnout can come from additional training. This can be a seminar, half-day workshop or even a monthly developmental program. Most employers will support their colleagues if the program aligns with the values of the company and the given colleague’s role. It never hurts to learn a little more about the industry you’re in – and take a few hours away from the desk!

What are some other ways to say YES to professional challenges? Comment below!

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