Fast Track Your Career with Personal Development.
By Chidi Iwe
Personal Development can be fun, but there are times, if I am honest, when it feels like a chore. Today I will share several personal development secrets with you including how to make your personal development journey fun.
But first, what is personal development? If we take Wikipedia’s words for it, “It consists of activities that develop a person’s capabilities and potential, build human capital, facilitate employability, and enhance quality of life and the realization of dreams and aspirations”. Hmmn!
Brian Tracy, a personal development coach defines it like this: “Personal Development is the process of improving oneself through conscious habits and activities. It is the pursuit of personal growth to enhance the quality of life and to achieve one’s dreams and aspirations”. Another ‘Hmmn’ if you ask me. So, let’s break it down. What does it really mean to the average Agatha who just wants to get ahead in her career?
A few years ago, Agatha needed to make a major career shift, but felt constrained because there were no opportunities in sight. Engaging the help of some mentors, and sponsors, she decided to develop skills in a new technology domain – Information Security. Agatha ‘packed her bags’. She would be embarking on a three-year personal development journey.
It involved joining professional IT security associations, building a new network of professional colleagues, developing new skills, taking on new professional certifications, attending public events, and putting out new IT security articles. All these she did conscientiously.
One day, the opportunity that Agatha had been unknowingly preparing for finally came along. Her company needed a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and began to seek for CVs from external recruitment agencies. This new role needed to be filled up quickly. Agatha applied for the role and even though she was one of the last persons to be interviewed for the job, the interview panel was blown away by her diligent preparation. Because she was prepared, Agatha got the new role and a promotion that earned her prestige and a handsome remuneration.
Our lives are dappled with opportunities from time to time and personal development is the key which primes us to seize these opportunities as they come. The question is – How prepared are you for the special opportunities life brings your way? What are you doing every day to develop yourself? What is your personal developmental plan?
Personal development is a lifelong process that begins with a vision of a preferred outcome. It is the way we assess our skills and capabilities, review our life’s objectives, set goals, and measure them to maximize our potential. It includes making daily commitments and taking small steps towards our vision. It prepares us for intentional living and prevents us from being slaves to our early formative life experiences, weaknesses, limitations, and ignorance. This life-long commitment to learning and improvement equips our mind, spirit, and body.
Building a successful career through commitment to personal development is like building a big house. It takes time to build the foundation. The amount of time and type of materials used in the foundation is a preview to the final structure. We usually need to begin with a career inventory. It helps to ask and answer these seven questions:
Where am I today?
Where am I headed in the next 5 to 10 years?
What and who do I need to get there?
What new routine do I need to imbibe?
What skills and books do I need?
What do I need to change?
What and who do I need to let go off?
Does personal development sound boring to you? It doesn’t have to be. You can make your personal journey fun by making it an adventure with friends who are also committed to daily improvements. You can challenge yourselves, inspire yourselves, build capacity together and laugh together as you celebrate your successes together.
We all say ‘nobody is perfect’ but have you thought about how it relates to you? Trust me, there are so many areas in your career life where personal development can be a game changer.
On a scale of one to ten – where one is the lowest and ten the highest – how would you rate your abilities in the following areas?
- Building and improving professional relationships.
- Emotional intelligence.
- Public speaking skills.
- Pursuing a different/ongoing career path
- Improving customer service experiences within my organization.
- Saying “Goodbye” to toxic people.
- Building leadership and managerial skills.
Unless, you had a 10 in all these areas, you have work to do.
So, here are ten tips to consider as you commit to developing a personal development plan for life and career success.
- Take an inventory of you. This leads to greater self-awareness and the development of a personal vision.
- Identify the vital skills and capabilities you need for the actualization of your goals (personal and career).
- Re-awaken your childhood curiosity and commit to lifelong learning, by learning something new every day.
- Set realistic short-term goals and develop a personal development plan.
- Mark out time on your calendar to track and review your personal and/or career development plan monthly or quarterly.
- Ensure that your developmental plans are aligned with your goals.
- Ask for primed feedback. How you perceive yourself is usually different from what others think about you.
- Make changes to your personal development plan as you constantly seek alignment to your personal vision.
- Get yourself a mentor, and in addition to that, seek out for career advocates and sponsors. Each of these play a different role in your career. You simply cannot go far alone.
- Personal development can be slow and tedious, so acknowledge the progress you make and reward yourself for them. Take a break, watch a movie, have a double decker ice-cream or a triple decker pizza. It is okay to celebrate the small wins with some fun along the way.
I am looking forward to seeing you at the top!0