I love spring! I love the new growth, the fresh possibilities and the idea of cleaning out the old to usher in unseen opportunities. A fresh start. Y’all know by now that my word for this year is OPPORTUNITY.

It’s easy to get bogged down in the winter slump and not want to move forward. But when that sun comes out, and nature starts waking up, it’s time to get going!

There’s a reason sports teams take the opportunity in spring to train. It gets them ready for the big game. In business, it can be a downtime for many industries and provides space for brushing up on those skills that sat idle in the winter or to bust out of a rut. Spring is not for doing the same old thing; it’s for planting seeds that will bring you the most growth.

Boosting your brand

In the business world, we have a different word for Spring Training. We call it professional development. This is the season when I get woe-is-me calls from salespeople who did not do enough prospecting in the winter and are in a bit of a spring slump. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead, this is the best time to brush up on skills – new and old. When was the last time you did a call blitz? Worked on your personal brand? Did role play how to overcome obstacles? Learned something new? Tried a new approach?

A lull in business is a prime time for self-improvement. (And it doesn’t hurt your personal brand to be the go-getter that initiates professional development for yourself and your team, either!). Whether it’s managing a large project, gaining a new skill set, taking the lead on a presentation or reaching out to a mentor – taking the initiative adds to how others view you.

Get hyped about improvement

Not only does enhanced training and practice pull you from your rut, it actually stimulates parts of your brain that boost mood, memory and brain muscle. So you’re not only helping your career and brand, you’re actually improving your health. That’s a win-win-win if I’ve ever heard one!

Here’s how to get started:

  1. You know I’m always going to tell you to start with a solid plan. What’s the goal? A certification? To join an industry organization? Finish a degree? Increase your responsibilities? Bring in new sales? Learn a new skill or technology? PS – Make those goals S.M.A.R.T. goals, so you have realistic expectations.
  2. Look for opportunities. Once your plan is mapped out, seeing opportunities will come easier. You’ll be able to focus on what the next logical step would be vs. if you didn’t have a plan and couldn’t narrow down where to start. Maybe it’s online training, or finding a mentor, or reaching out to a favorite organization for board positions, joining a book club, attending a conference or seeking out local college courses.
  3. Don’t be shy about development. Tell your manager, colleagues and friends about your goals. The more people that know your goals, the more likely they are to help make connections for you, pass opportunities your way, and hold you accountable!
  4. Make improvement part of your personal brand. You already have a personal brand (whether you realize it or not). The idea of being someone who continually wants to improve a strong personal brand trait. In addition, when you learn something new or improve existing skills, it only makes you stronger and, dare I say, invincible!

It’s time to come out from that winter slumber and level up your skills because you’re about to plan your next adventure!