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From Personal to Professional Development: How to Organize Your Progress

By Yann, published on 13/07/2019 Blog > Professional Development > Personal Development > Managing Your Personal Development

Learning management skills on top of learning to improve yourself is not an easy task. While you work to achieve your goals in aspects like emotional intelligence, communication skills or time management – not managing the development process correctly can often lead to a delay in your progress.

Covering everything from how to learn new management skills to where to find personal development materials, start by getting to know yourself and what exactly a personal development plan will entail with this guide.

Use development as a career resource If you’re a highly sensitive person, check out personal development through meditation

What are Personal Development Skills?

When striving to manage your own self-improvement, it’s always helpful to start by understanding what should and shouldn’t be categorized under your development goals. Whether you’re looking to improve your non-verbal communication skills or simply want to break bad habits, here are some tips on how to categorize you’re the personal goals and skills in your development plan.

In order to start managing your new skills and goals, begin with understanding the traditional definitions of self-development before starting to build your own. Without going into an extensive definition of how personal development started, the movement can be understood through psychologist Abraham Maslow and his hierarchy of needs. This pyramid, with it’s final version containing five levels, visualizes self-improvement as a series of needs that must be fulfilled. In order to attain the self-knowledge, personal growth and development represented by the highest level of the pyramid, basic needs and life skills must be mastered first. These have to do with safety, respect from others, food, shelter and more – all categorized under self-esteem, safety, love and belongingness needs.

In other words, when conducting your self-assessment on what areas to improve in your life, it is vital that you have your basic needs met first. In order to focus on building transferable skills or hard skills, you need to have a supportive community, shelter and feel safe.

Using this definition as a starting point, you can begin to focus on your personal development goals by building your own definition of personal development. Start by targeting the area you would like to work on – whether that be your professional career or home life – and build a list of the various achievable goals and skills you can work towards.

Here are some examples:

  • Build a better rapport with your family members
  • Enhance your presentation skills, or other professional skills
  • Increase your fitness both physically and mentally

While personal development can be implemented in various different ways, it’s defined by goal setting and devising a plan to achieve those goals. Whether you choose to follow a mentor through development courses, or take development through self-teaching, sticking to this basic definition can facilitate the start of your journey.

Individual self-development can be too impersonal If you like teamwork, search for group opportunities for personal growth

Personal Development Plans Made Easy

Developing a plan for your personal growth is not an easy task. With the proliferation of development programs that promise everything from helping to improve your job skills to getting rid of bad habits – picking a starting point can be nearly impossible. Before getting overwhelmed  with concepts like career exploration and human potential, here is some advice on how to formulate a development plan tailored to your life goals.

Develop a Goal

Nothing leads to procrastination more than depending on intangible ideas such as inspiration. While having epiphanies about your life can definitely help motivate you to start on your journey towards personal development, it most likely won’t help you sustain long-term growth and development.

What is a great driving force: routine and goal setting! Yes, it is definitely not as sexy of a concept as inspiration and will definitely not score you any points as cocktail-conversation. However, in works by professors Gary Latham and Edward Locke dating all the way from the 1960s to the present, goal setting has been found to be one of the most productive tools towards realizing everything from projects to improving management.

What became established as goal setting theory, and later brought about motivation theory, comes down to one basic fact. In their study, Locke and Latham discovered that not only is setting goals effective, but that people actually work harder and longer when those goals are difficult to attain. While this seems counter intuitive to what we’ve been taught growing up, setting up difficult goals can actually help you persist in making them come true.

There is one catch, however. A study conducted in 2004 found that while this habit can reinforce people’s development, it can also lead to “unethical behavior” when people don’t quite reach the goals they’ve set out for themselves. Think: every movie ever made about sabotage and sports competition or every misleading advert you’ve seen on Instagram.

Here are some ideas of goals you can set for yourself, having in mind the general rule to stick to legal activities in trying to accomplish them:

  • Increasing persuasion and assertiveness skills by joining a debate team
  • Relieve stress in your life by becoming a yoga teacher
  • Attain a positive attitude by joining an improv group
  • Become your own boss by starting a small business

Plan Your Development

Whether you’re simply looking to increase your employability, want to work on your interpersonal skills, or just want to progress in your career development, here are some steps you can follow to draft your personal development plan.

Step 1: Pick a Goal

If you haven’t already read the above about the importance of goal setting, now would be a good time to do so. Picking a goal you may think is too difficult is a perfect starting point.

Step 2: Prioritize

Once you your goal, think about the size and breadth of your goal in terms of time. Have an estimate of how long you’d like to take to accomplish it by drawing up all the tasks you think will be necessary to complete it. Once you have this, you’ll be able to prioritize your goals into categories like time, the level of importance to you now and later on.

Step 3: What or Who Will Help You?

In laying out how you’re going to get from one task to another, make a list of the materials you’ll need to get there. For example, whether you’ll need extra skills training, conflict resolution courses, painting tools, access to the internet, etc. While it can seem callous to include people in your list of materials, some of your goals will never be accomplished without the expertise or support of those around you.

Starting the Process

Now that you’ve got a plan, don’t let yourself be convinced to keep putting it off. Keep in constant touch with the plan you’ve made, make sure you’re working towards your goal with the frequency it requires and look out for tips that might help the process. Whereas you might need daily practice to learn a new language, building a website might be something you’d like to work on once every week.

self-development can lead to a successful career If you’re doing an internship search, self development can help you find your career focus

Resources to Help You Reach Your Personal Development Goals

Gaining an interest in personal growth is, naturally, linked to an increased desire to learn more about effective communication, solving problems and skills development. While this list is not meant to be a definitive guide on al the various self-development materials you can explore, it does provide some direction as to where to find them.

Personal Skills

While all development can be seen as personal development, this category deals more with enhancing your skill set that deals with mental and physical health. Some areas you may seek to improve are:

  • Improve your people skills through personality development
  • Practice verbal communication skills to improve your rapport with family members or colleagues
  • Be healthier by following an exercise and nutrition plan

Fitness related development courses can often be most effective when found online, where you can search for programs that are more tailored towards your specific health goals. Community programs, such as group yoga classes, are a great way to build a support network for both exercise and mental health concerns.

Technical Skills

The best way to find technical skills materials is by listening to podcasts or taking part in courses. For example, if you think perfecting a language will aid in building your career, finding a weekly program can be a perfect starting point. Here are some other examples what technical skills you can improve upon:

  • Boosting employability skills like job interview tactics
  • Practice career planning and career exploration
  • Increase your hard skills list by practicing programming, business intelligence and other transferable skills

Leadership Skills

Improving your management skills can best be done through taking lessons through podcasts and reading materials. Some classic books about personal development have remained best sellers throughout the years because of the invaluable wisdom they provide. Some examples of areas of interest you can research in this field are:

  • Developing a positivity work ethic
  • Enhancing conflict management skills
  • Working on adaptability

How to Practice Development Everyday

Now that you’ve set goals, developed a personal development plan and are on your way to achieving your personal targets – what is there left to do? Practicing personal development everyday can be essential but doesn’t have to be limited to your various development plans. Here are some ways you can incorporate a little growth into your daily routine.

  • Practice stress management by journaling every day
  • Enhance your self-awareness through mindfulness and breathing techniques
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