Mayo's Clinics

Jan 24, 2022, 9:24
Stay Motivated with Personal and Professional Development

Stay Motivated with Personal and Professional Development

30 March 2017

Dr. Fred Mayo explores wide ranging personal and professional development tactics instructors can use to stay relevant and fulfilled.

Dr. Fred Mayo, CHE, CHT

For the next few months, we will focus on professional development. This month, we will review categories of professional development and in the future expand on some of these ideas. There are three major areas when thinking about professional development – increasing or expanding knowledge in your field, growing as a person, and expanding your broad professional understanding.

Personal Development
As we grow as faculty members and administrators, it is often easy to feel we are always giving and, if we are not careful, the well can run dry. Consider thinking about what kind of growth experiences you want or need for yourself. It can involve expanding awareness of new topics, focusing on your personal growth, or finding time for personal reflection and balancing. Consider some of these activities as ways to help you grow as a person:

  • Join a health club
  • Start walking on a daily or regular basis
  • Participate in a yoga class
  • Reorganize your office or study
  • Make a list of books you want to read, movies you want to see, activities you want to undertake this summer
  • Build something for the yard, house, car or boat
  • Join a therapy group
  • Join a book club, investment club, or other club of like-minded persons
  • Refresh part of your home in a way that nurtures you
  • Watch a movie and take time to apply some of the lessons to your life
  • Plan an adventure that you have always wanted to do
  • Write a bucket list of activities you want to do in the next year or two
  • Travel to a new destination
  • Enroll in a defensive driving course
  • Learn to work with paint, clay, or another artistic medium

Knowledge and Skill Development
The most common form of professional development involves improving knowledge and skills in specialties. Sometimes that goal involves deepening knowledge in an area, expanding the breadth in that topic, or considering closely related fields. Often the strategies for pursuing this category of professional development range across many activities. Think about trying one or more of the following:

  • Attend a conference
  • Present a workshop or paper at a conference
  • Participate in a culinary or management competition
  • Judge a competition
  • Lead a team of students preparing for competition
  • Enroll in an onsite or online course
  • Cater a new kind of event
  • Rewrite a course syllabi
  • Create new assignments
  • Adopt and adapt a new textbook
  • Try new items when catering
  • Consult with others to help them or their programs
  • Co-coach a colleague
  • Deliver a public speech to a local organization
  • Eat meals in a new restaurant
  • Write a review of a new restaurant in your area
  • Tackle a reference book or difficult text that will improve your knowledge

General Professional Development
In many situations, we are interested in expanding our knowledge beyond our areas of comfort or extending what we know into new areas. The most common methods to pursue this category of professional development include activities that often come to us at work. To expand your general knowledge, contemplate getting involved in one or more of the following:

  • Take an online course
  • Undertake a review of the curriculum
  • Learn how to teach online or in a blended format
  • Attend a conference in a new area or field
  • Pursue certification in a topic or area new to you
  • Read in a structured program
  • Network with three people you do not know well
  • Keep a journal
  • Write a column on food, teaching or culinary issues
  • Contribute to local or regional newspapers
  • Participate in a committee or task force

These activities are far from exhaustive, but they may prompt you to think about new activities and ways to continue your personal and professional development. Take a moment with this Mayo Clinic and add ideas that come to you. They may be the most productive and useful ones to pursue. And enjoy the stretching!

Your approach
To make any one of these activities work for you, consider bringing a learning perspective – and not a work point of view – to them. Some of them are obvious attempts to expand or deepen your knowledge, but serving on a committee or a task force can seem like just another chore or unnecessary hard work. Try making it into a situation where you learn new things. Perhaps it might involve the committee’s charge, or how to run – or not run – a good meeting, or even building excitement about the work and team. It might just change the experience and make it more fun!

Since it is not too early to think about this coming summer, next month we will continue investigating and discussing professional development. If you have suggestions for other topics or teaching practices you want to share, send them to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and I will include them in future Mayo Clinics.

Dr. Fred Mayo, CHE, CHT, is retired as a clinical professor of hotel and tourism management at New York University. As principal of Mayo Consulting Services, he continues to teach around the globe and is a regular presenter at CAFÉ events nationwide. 

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