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5 Ways to Help Yourself Grow Professionally It's essential to challenge and stretch yourself often, and not let yourself get stuck where you don't feel like you are growing or learning.

By Nicole Smartt

This story originally appeared on Personal Branding Blog

Why does your growth and development matter? It's essential to challenge and stretch yourself often, and not let yourself get stuck in a job where you don't feel like you are growing or learning.

There is more potential inside each person than even they know. In a fast-paced world with everyone wanting it now, in real-time, and a world that is constantly evolving, its more important than ever to continue to grow professionally and personally. Not only does intentional growth and development have the potential to make you better at your job, it can help you feel more fulfilled both in and out of the workplace.

Here are five steps to help you grow professionally even without the support of your company.

Related: How to Be More Persuasive at Work

1. Take on new challenges.

It can be risky, stressful and sometimes confusing, and it's a perpetual cycle, but it's a great thing: this is how professionals and successful companies survive. Sometimes it may seem that new problems crop up as fast as you solve the old ones (sometimes faster!), but that just means you are moving—that you are getting better and stronger. When an opportunity approaches you, seize it!

2. Read.

Yep, it's that straightforward. Read informative articles from solid, respected sources (if there are citations, you're going the right direction.) Pick up a book, in e- or paper format, or take an online class. Dedicate an hour a day to read and gain more knowledge.

3. Invest in your learning.

There are so many free webinars, on practically every subject imaginable. Carve out some time each day (or each week) to watch a webinar or two. Most are short, easy to understand, and don't take huge pieces out of your already busy life. Or, take a whole course! We love Coursera for learning online.

Related: The Mentality of a Successful Career

4. Get a mentor.

Look around in your company for someone to mentor you. If one is not available, reach out to thought leaders through LinkedIn or through a connection. It's important that you have a connection to the person you seek. I always recommend searching for leaders in your industry through LinkedIn or an association/organization.

5. Surround yourself with like-minded peers.

See if there are Meetup groups in your area. Make friends, collaborate, and have fun. It's guaranteed to be enriching. You can meet like-minded peers by attending a networking event, joining a board, or through friends.

There is always something you can improve on; make daily deposits into your personal development bank and soon your bank account will grow.

Related: 15 Behaviors and Traits of Great Leaders

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