Making Career Professional Development a Priority

Those of us who strive to be servant and service leaders invest a great deal of our time in elevating the professional stature of those who surround us, whom we respect and value. How common is it to hear, “I’m so proud of Firefighter Blanton from my shift!  He’s been working for me since last year and he was just promoted to Lieutenant?”  The likelihood is that you had a significant role in that promotional opportunity; but, are you investing in your own career professional development (CPD)?  The balance between the two can be tricky.  As an avid educator in the fire service you may find your commitment to your brothers and sisters professional development unevenly scaled at a neglect to your own.


Perhaps the easiest way to start investing in yourself is to write your personal mission, vision and values statement.  Although this is most commonly viewed as a corporate model for success, the outcome will provide a strong foundation and keep you on a meaningful path.  I have also found that establishing a Personal Board of Directors will enhance the quality of your professional investment.  Surround yourself with a dozen trusted board members who share a passion for your success and who are always willing to tell you exactly what they see and how they feel. 


As you begin to juggle the dozen or more daily calendar reminders, each pulling you in an opposing direction, use the following as a reminder of why your personal CPD should take center stage on a routine basis. 


  • You’re keeping pace with others who have committed to CPD. You’re not the only one who can do your job.  So why not ensure you’re protecting your place in the profession by building a strong infrastructure for your success through CPD?
  • You’re ensuring that you are enhancing the body of knowledge you need to deliver the highest level of professional service!
  • If you’re standing still you’re being left behind. The currency of your knowledge and skill will continue to lose value, much like that of the new car you drive off the lot!  The only way to stay relevant is to remain current on professional trends and adapt as necessary. 
  • CPD is your meaningful contribution to yourself, your team, your department, and your community. It’s your preparation to lead, manage, influence, coach and mentor.  It’s your professional footprint.
  • Focused CPD opens doors, creates new knowledge and skill set and ensures you’re not necessarily repeating history just because of folklore or even your own experiences.
  • You will have a deeper appreciation for the profession and a great respect for your contributions when you establish a strong CPD pathway.


The importance of Continuing Professional Development should not be underestimated.  It’s a long-term career commitment; indeed, an obligation.  The ultimate outcome to the roadmap you create and execute is that you’ll safeguard the public, the employer, the profession and your own career. 


It all starts when you pick up a well sharpened pencil with a very good eraser.  Now take the first step in investing in yourself! 


“My professional mission is to……

                                    and my goals and resources to accomplish this are......!”


Now go….and do!

Recent Stories
My Last Words on Training

Unreasonable Hospitality

Creating Successful Drills for on Duty Training