A well thought out personal development plan is a great asset. It helps you to do something about the future right now (Lakein, 1973). It will advance your career. Further your education. And make you a lot more satisfied and happier than you are now.
You can use the tools below to craft your personal development plan. When you get it just right. It will help you to change your life for the better.
To begin with you need to get an accurate assessment of your strengths and weakness. This is the first step in the Personal Development Planning process (Seligman,2002). You can use it as the basis of your plan. And go on to plan on how to build your strengths and manage your weaknesses. And achieve your goals.
Step 1. Personal development plan based on your signature strengths.
To build your personal development plan you need to find your strengths. You can do this by logging onto www.authentichappiness.org And complete the VIA Strengths Survey which covers twenty-four strengths. It takes about twenty-five minutes. And the result rank orders your strengths from one to twenty-four. It compares your answers to thousands of others to enable you identify you five signature strengths. These are those strengths that are highly characteristic of you. And using them daily is the key to successful personal development.
Step 2. Determine the extent to which you use your signature strengths.
According to Seligman(2002), “the good life is using your signature strengths every day. This produces authentic happiness and abundant gratification.” So the second step is to establish the number of hours you currently use each of your five signature strengths each day. It is essential to do this as accurately as possible. Making a rough guess isn’t enough. You need to identify the times and duration you have used them over a number of days.
Step 3. Plan to identify your key weaknesses.
Positive Psychologists define a weakness as anything that gets in the way of excellent performance (Buckingham and Clifton, 2001). They do not see weakness as a lack of proficiency on the grounds that all of us lack proficiency in countless areas. Since most of these deficiencies don’t get in the way of excellent performance they are irrelevant. You should just ignore them and concentrate on learning to manage those that negate the use of your strengths.
To help you identify these genuine weaknesses you can make a list of the skills, knowledge, or talent shortfalls that you feel are holding you back from doing your very best. Examine each of these in detail and select the three most likely suspects.
Step 4. Plan strategies for managing your weaknesses.
Buckingham and Clifton (2001) suggest five strategies for managing your weaknesses. 1. Get a little better at it. 2. Design a support system to serve as a crutch for your weakness. 3. Use one of your strengths to overwhelm your weakness. 4. Find someone to do it for you. 5. Just stop doing it.
These strategies will not turn your weaknesses into strengths. But you can use them to help you manage a weakness so that it no longer gets in the way of your strengths. By doing this successfully you free up your signature strengths so you can use them without restriction to achieve higher levels of excellence.
Step 5. Plan to use SMART goals for signature strengths and managing weaknesses.
Your personal development plan is based on your personal development goal. You need a SMART goals to do this . SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. For example, a SMART goal for increasing the hours you spend using a signature skill would read something like: “My goal is to use signature skill “x” for one hour each day for the coming month.” It is wise to set the usage hours low enough to be attainable to begin with. And to plan to increase them when you have succeeded in achieved them. A similar goal for managing a weakness would be: To invest five hours each week working on becoming a little better at managing weakness “xyz”.
Buckingham, M & Clifton, D. (2001) Now, Discover your Strengths. London: Simon & Schuster Uk Ltd.
Lakein, Alan (1973) How to Get Control of your Time and your Life, New York: New American Library.
Seligman, M. (2002) Authentic Happiness. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.