Well thought out Personal Development Planning can enable you to change your life for the better. It will not only give you a sense of direction but also bring a clear sense of meaning to everything you do.
It provides you with a benchmark to measure your progress against. You can use it as a guideline to ensure you make the best use of your time. To add value to the hours and days of your work life, your personal life and your leisure time.
When you know what you really want to do it brings a sense of clarity into your everyday life. Your Personal Development Planning will also show you why you want to do what you want to do. This will give you a sense of meaning and a sense of direction as you work to achieve the personal development goals you have set yourself.
The first steps in your Personal Development Planning
The first thing you need to decide is what areas you need to address in your plan. If it is to be effective your plan must address three key areas. One, your relationship with the people in your life. Two, your work. Three, a cause you are devoted to that is larger than yourself.
So you need to think carefully about each of these three areas. Take relationships for example you can begin by identifying the key relationships in your life. You can frame the first goal of your plan around how to improve these to a level where both parties benefit from them.
You can map out your work in more or less the same way. It is sufficient to have a reasonably clear picture of where it stands at present and where you intend to take it in the immediate and longterm future.
Finally you need to identify a cause that is larger than yourself that you are devoted to. You may have several such causes or just one or maybe none at all. In which case you will need to put on your thinking cap. Take my word for it, with a little bit of thought you will be able to identify one that you are happy with.
Personal Development Planning to improve the quality of your relationships
When it comes to relationships many of us think that what we need to do is to meet somebody new. Someone who will charm us and change the quality of our lives for the better. A person who will bring a new level of excitement and fun into our lives. Someone we can admire and who really appreciates us and what we have to offer.
The problem with this approach is that it stops us putting time and effort into improving our existing relationships. The truth is that most of your present relationships have a lot more potential than you realise. Not only can you improve them to a level where they will be more satisfying to you but you can also give more satisfaction to the other person. As a result he or she in turn will invest more in the relationship and together you can lift it to a new level of mutual satisfaction. Thus it becomes a win/win situation for all of you.
Given the reality that each of us live in a network of relationships the potential for personal fulfilment and mutual satisfaction is far greater than most of us realise. The more of your network you get to operate to a higher level the more joy and fulfilment you and other members of it will enjoy. It is a bit like when you drop a pebble into a pool and watch the ripples radiate out from the centre. Remember that it is little thoughtful things that count and they are the pebbles that will radiate through your relationships and add value to them.
Personal Development Planning for work
Work is not just about earning sufficient money to enable you to life a comfortable and exciting life. It is about expressing yourself in the workplace and using your unique abilities to make a worthwhile contribution to society.
This is the ultimate goal of personal development planning for your work. To begin with you need to identify where you are on the road to achieving this goal. Are you on the right road or to put it another way are you in the right job. A job in which you use your unique skills and in which you make the kind of contribution that makes a real difference. Or else in a job that is a stepping stone because it enables you to achieve the skills and experience that will lead to such a job.
These have to be the goals of your Personal Development Planning for work. Once you are clear about these goals you need to map out where you now are on the journey and what steps you need to take to make the progress that is necessary to achieve your goal. The starting point of this journey is to identify your unique strengths. Success is about knowing these strengths, building on them and finding a job that requires you to use them.
If you do not already know what your strengths are you should read my posts of Building Strengths. Just click the Building Strengths box in the sidebar on this page and you will find all the information you need to know about how to identify your strengths and build on them.
Personal Development Planning for a “cause that is greater than yourself”
There is more to your life than yourself. Like when you rise above self-interest and work for a cause that is greater than yourself. And commit yourself to the extent of making a personal self-sacrifice for this cause. As Barak Obama recently put it “It’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that realise your true potential…”
When you live for a cause it makes your life more interesting. It doesn’t have to be a great cause, an earth shattering one or even a charitable one to do this. You do not have to be an Obama as long as your cause is something that lies beyond your self-interest. One that takes you outside the bread and butter interests of your daily existence. And your commitment to it must be expressed in terms of the time you give to it, the depth of your understanding and knowledge of it and the quality of the effort you put into promoting it.
For instance, my cause is Personal Development. I take time and effort to study it and build on the current level of knowledge I have of it. A body of knowledge acquired by working professionally at it for 47 years. I draw on this experience to increase my understanding of the latest developments in the field and then share them with others in this blog.
The first step you need to take in personal developing planning for a “cause that is greater than yourself” is to identify a cause that you are happy to work on. Once you have identified this cause you can begin to put time and effort into it. The time and effort needed to get results that will fulfil you and produce a worthwhile outcome. One that other people will value.
Many people choose their religion as a cause that is greater than themselves. And it can be quite a good one provided it meets the non-self-interest criteria. For example if a person is committed to a particular religion in order to avoid spending their afterlife burning in the fires of hell then it can be argued that their commitment to it is based on self-interest. However if they see it as a set of values and way of life that they can use to live a better life and to understand and help other people to live a better and more satisfactory life then it may well meet the non self-interest criteria.