Benefits of a personal development plan

If you are a regular follower of this blog you may have already read a previous article in which we looked at Personal Development Plans in some detail. If you haven’t yet read it, check it out – it will help with the context of this article.

Here’s a quick recap:

What is Personal Development?

Personal development is (or should be) a continuous process of self-improvement – be that via learning new skills, earning new qualifications or, on a more personal level, developing or deepening the more spiritual side of yourself.

Personal development can be applied to both your professional and personal life, in fact it is arguably impossible to separate the two as one impacts the other.

study by the International Coaching Federation, based on questioning 210 clients who had received personal development coaching, revealed:

  • 4% of employees got smarter in goal-setting
  • 5% of employees received a more balanced life
  • 1% of employees experienced the lowest levels of stress
  • 4% of employees became more self-confident
  • 3% of employees improved the quality of their life
  • 8% of the workers became healthier and fitter
  • 3% had enriched their relationship with their family
  • 7% of them left their vices and bad habits behind

Those are pretty impressive figures which span a broad range of professional and personal areas and all were achieved because these people devoted time to their personal development.

WHAT MAKES YOU STAND OUT?

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Why is Personal Development Important?

The figures above should speak for themselves – wouldn’t you like to see such improvements in both your career and personal life?

Abraham Harold Maslow an American psychologist who died in 1970 proposed an idea that all individuals have an in-built need for personal development which occurs through a process called self-actualisation (the realisation or fulfilment of one’s talents and potentialities, considered as a drive or a need present in everyone).

Abraham Maslow and the Psychology of Self-Actualisation

Maslow realised that the extent to which individuals grow and develop depends on certain needs being met. Only when one level of need is satisfied can a higher one be developed. He categorised these needs into a hierarchy known as ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Maslow realised that the path to self-actualisation means being in touch with your feelings and experiencing life to the full – we absolutely agree.

In What Walks of Life Do You Need Personal Development?

Personal development spans all areas of one’s life and is as applicable to a college student as to a consultant neurosurgeon.

Most of us want (need) to experience growth and development throughout our lives – imagine remaining with the mindset of a six year old for ever. Yes, you would doubtless retain a certain childlike wonder and curiosity, but you would also miss out on many, many opportunities!

You may wish to split your plan into two distinct sections – career and personal but trying to separate these two areas of your life completely is very difficult. Like it or not, your home life affects your work life and vice versa.

It is entirely possible to devise a Personal Development plan by yourself, however, having an ‘outsider’, such as a coach, to help and guide you is extremely useful – they may spot areas you would miss.

DEVELOP YOUR IDEAS

A personal development plan helps create, sort and sift through all your ideas.

11 Benefits of a Personal Development Plan

  1. Clarity

Few of us want to drift through life, no direction, no destination, no idea.

But isn’t that precisely what a lot of us do?

We study, perhaps go to university, get the qualifications and hopefully find a job that pays enough to provide for ourselves and our families.

How much of that process is actually planned though and how much is just a case of following the rules (or the herd!) and hoping “it will all work out”?

How would it feel to have a really clear idea of what it is you want and, just as importantly, what steps your need to take to achieve it?

Your Personal Development Plan may change over time as you grow and develop (the very reason you have a plan after all) but at least if it is documented you have benchmarks all the way and will not be stumbling blindly in the dark.

  1. Empowerment

The word ‘empowerment’ may seem like new age psychobabble, a word bandied around for the sake of it.

It isn’t!

We all deserve to feel empowered and in charge of our own destiny. If you look up the dictionary definition you’ll see empowerment as ‘the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights’.

Isn’t that worth aiming for?

Your Personal Development Plan will EMPOWER you by helping you recognise your strengths, weaknesses and talents and enabling you to channel them appropriately.

  1. Resilience

It is a fact of life that we all get knocked down occasionally, it’s how we get back on our feet after set-backs that shapes our futures.

If you have a carefully crafted Personal Development Plan, the inevitable knocks, bumps, swerves and obstacles that life sets in your way will feel more manageable and less threatening. Instead of being game stoppers you will see them for what they actually are: game changers, maybe prompting you to change course a little but certainly not stopping your progress for long.

With one eye on the long-term goals you will be more adaptable to amending some of your short term ones, knowing that you are still heading in the right direction.

More on Personal Development & Careers

  1. Confidence

Very few of us can be full of confidence all the time – it’s not a natural state for us, probably because we are schooled from childhood not to be cocky, arrogant or ‘full of ourselves’.

However, if you know where you are going and how you are going to get there then surely you have every right to display a degree of confidence ALL of the time. It isn’t showing off, just an inherent awareness of your own capabilities.

Confidence inspires others too – if you come across as an individual who really knows what they are doing imagine the impact on colleagues, bosses and even friends and family – you become the ‘go to person’.

Your Personal Development Plan WILL imbue you with confidence – you have worked on yourself, looked to your future and planned a course of action that will enable you to reach your goals.

  1. Goalsetting

All of us know we should be setting goals but most of us don’t or we set them, write them down on a piece of paper and stick that piece of paper away in a drawer!

Working on your Personal Development Plan will help you to become a master goal setter.

You will learn how to structure realistic and achievable goals. How to track and monitor your progress and, if necessary, how to re-evaluate and reset them in the event of changing scenarios and circumstances.

  1. Self-esteem

Take a look at one of our previous articles to read more on self-esteem.

Self-esteem is hugely tied into how we feel about ourselves, not only in the here and now but our progression through life. It is only natural that there’ll be ups and downs, peaks and troughs in the way we feel about ourselves as time passes, but knowing you are a master of your own destiny because you have a plan helps to smooth out these dips and highs.

The knowledge you gain when working on your Personal Development Plan as you look inside and really get to know what makes you tick, means that you are, at the same time, able to work on any areas where your self-esteem may be lacking.

  1. Relationships

We all want great relationships with friends, relatives and colleagues, don’t we? But how often do we hide the way we are feeling, pretend everything is OK and just carry on?

Often part of the reason we do this is because we just can’t see any other alternative and it’s easier to stick with what we know than try to effect changes.

One of the benefits of working on yourself in a personal development sense is that you will uncover what you it is you really want out of life – and that includes your relationships.

You may find as you begin to grow that certain friendships, even romantic relationships will naturally begin to drop away. You will no longer be aligned or in tune with some people and will understand that parting company may be the best thing for you – and them.

This then opens the way for you to forge stronger and more meaningful relationships either within your existing network or with new people.

  1. Motivation

If you know where you want to go, how you are going to get there and within what timescale you will be motivated to see things through.

Having the framework of a Personal Development Plan will enable you to keep your motivation levels high as you will be able to (metaphorically or literally) tick things off as you achieve them.

Should you find yourself faltering, a little lost, you only have to refer to your Plan to help you refocus.

  1. Work-Life Balance

The phrase work-life balance is a modern-day concept. It used to be you went to work, retired and died! Nowadays with greater life expectancy and the growing realisation that many of us will never be able to fully retire, we recognise the importance of LIVING as well as working.

Your Plan should be able to accommodate the different phases in your life and be adaptable enough to cope with all the changes you will undoubtedly experience.

Creating a career plan within your overall Development Plan means you could, in theory, plan to reduce your hours, even change careers as your life changes. Actually, planning for such eventualities rather than letting them just happen to you is very empowering!

  1. Knowledge

This should really be knowledge and skills.

Planning your direction and future will help you to determine what additional learning you will need in order to reach your destination.

Learning should of course be ongoing – “Once you stop learning you start dying” is a quote attributable to Albert Einstein, and it’s true.

Having a Personal Development Plan will enable you to put learning at the heart of everything you do – be it actual qualifications or simply learning for the pleasure of it (a musical instrument for example).

  1. Happiness

How great would you feel if you knew where you were going?

How amazing to know that you are planning for your future?

How absolutely wonderful to be experiencing the other 10 states of mind noted above?

Wouldn’t you feel HAPPY and content?

The wonderful thing about creating a Personal Development Plan is that what you are actually doing is planning for your future HAPPINESS!

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3 Comments

  1. Thank you, Jo, for the very useful information on PDP. Helping me with business management studies. Keep up the good work madam. From a grateful student/learner from Namibia, the real Nam.
    God bless.

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