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Osakis Voices: Light the fire inside yourself

Be proud of who you are. There's no reason to not feel this way about yourself. People follow different avenues to fulfill the pride within, but I'd like to touch on one method I find that works for me, and maybe it lights the fire inside yourself to do the same.

This method not only hits on a personal level, but a professional level as well. It's one that many of you may already be doing currently; it may just be a matter of focusing the purpose of the practice.

What I'm talking about is Continuing Education. Continuing Education is a broad term that includes post-secondary classes, programs and activities. But how does this evoke pride?

Well, I think it's best to break it down by going over the benefits of Continuing Education.

The professional side of Continuing Education should be rather apparent. Growing your knowledge base of your profession makes you a valuable asset to your company. This can lead to positive performance reviews, raises and maybe even promotions. Not only do you see those benefits, but you will also have a perfect opportunity to network with peers of the same occupation as your own. Bouncing ideas off of others to see what they've done for business growth ideas (and duds) can save you a lot of headaches down the road if you already know something should work or not. I'd like to believe that all of those benefits will fill your self-worth balloon, which in turn gives a boost to your pride.

But being prideful is a personal thought process, so how does Continuing Education benefit you on a personal level? Well, let's say you're new to an area, how do you meet people? Taking a class in something you enjoy, whether it's dancing, woodworking, computer programming, whatever, you not only learn or add to your base knowledge of that skill, but you surround yourself with people that have similar interests as you. That sounds to me like a pretty slick way to grow a circle of friends. That social aspect is a big reason to look at Continuing Education.

Another may be to help keep a focused mind. If you find yourself with a lot of free time each day, what are you filling those hours with? Is it something to be proud of? If so, that's great! The last thing I'd ever say would be to stop doing it. But, if you think you could be doing something to further yourself, perhaps taking a class once or twice a week will help keep your mind active and focused.

Again, this is just one way to further your value not only to an employer, but also for your own self-worth. There are many ways people accomplish this for themselves, but if you're looking to try this path out, I would encourage you to touch base with a school, college or activity center near you to see what classes may be available to you.

Who knows, you might be the next Pablo Picasso.

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Osakis Voices is a rotating column written by community leaders who share their thoughts on their field of expertise.