It’s been a slow return to work for the New Year as it seemed like everyone else was still on holiday.

It’s also been quite challenging getting used to working part-time and trying to run 2 businesses in 2 days a week (and some extra hours here and there).

Which actually led to the hard decision this week to pull back on some of the projects that I’ve been working on, including The Evolve Programme.

Evolve as a talent development programme will now be offered to EWL members only, so is not stopping altogether, but the decision made me stop to think about the level of importance and value we as event professionals are placing on our personal development of late.

I’ve been in the industry for 20 years, and believe the reason I’m still here is because continued personal development to me is crucial and vitally important. It’s a part of my mindset, you could even say it’s set in my DNA.

It keeps me in touch, means I’m open to new ideas and new ways of doing things, keeps me flexible in my approach to projects and my attitude to change and innovation.

Throughout my career if there has been an opportunity for me to embrace a new opportunity, go on a training course, study towards a new qualification, or pick up some new skills via a job swap, even have a coffee and a chat with a mentor, then I’ve always jumped at the chance. It was only 3 years ago I gained my CIM marketing qualifications and I’m in my 40s.

I have also always had a fascination with people and how they go about their day to day roles.

I’m inquisitive, always eager to learn new things and will ask questions; What do you do? Why do you do it that way? What would you do in that situation? How can I do this better?

It’s the one thing that can get you ahead, and keep you ahead.

Unfortunately at the moment I’m not seeing much of the same attitude in our industry of late, which saddens me.

Maybe it’s because we are all so time poor and due to the constant fire fighting we’ve forgotten that we need to keep stoking the flames within us.

Or is it simply due to the fact that we don’t know how to put a measurement on continued personal development therefore don’t see the value in it?

Perhaps people have stopped trying to climb the ladder or even use one and are just aiming straight for the top (and wondering why they’re still stood at the bottom getting neck strain).

Having recently been away from the industry and not able to network and connect in a face to face capacity, I’ve experienced first hand the negative impact that can have on business levels, and that’s just networking. Thank goodness I can get out and about again now.

I shudder to think what might also have happened had I not kept my little size 7 foot in the door by reading up on the latest industry innovations and changes, following and engaging with peers on social media, and ensuring my skills were still relevant (I’m completing 2 online courses right now to fill in some gaps, and build on existing ones).

For me training and development isn’t about nervously sticking up my hand and saying I don’t know how to do something (I would never say can’t). It’s actually more about saying I’m familiar with or can do something in some kind of capacity, but you know what, I’d like to be able to do it better.

There is no value you can place on your experience, it’s invaluable because it’s unique and it’s yours, but there is value that you can place on your development, and the value of something only increases if you continue to invest in it.

It’s not just down to your current employer or business either, it’s down to you as an individual, and an event professional, and if you want to be an expert in this industry and field, you have to go out there and earn it.

If you want to get ahead, learn!

If you want to stay current, listen!

If you want to keep doing both of the above, invest in yourself!

It really is that simple, until next time #eventprofs…