If you’re thinking I’m asking about your personal self-development plan, you’d be only half right. So often we segregate our lives into personal and professional. But I’m in disagreement with this view.
We aren’t made up of compartments – we live whole lives. That means, when we think about goals and aspirations regarding our career, family, health and finances we need to look at our own big life picture.
Think of your life as a spider’s web. All parts are held in balance with each other, albeit sometimes tenuous. Whatever happens in one aspect of our life has impact on others.
As an executive leadership coach, I work with clients wanting to develop their professional competencies. In order to do that, it’s critical that we also look at how other aspects of their lives intersect with their learning.
Having a self-development plan is critical to your success. Being complacent and letting life happen is fine but won’t ensure you’re learning, reflecting and moving forward with intention.
At times your plan’s emphasis will be on health and other times career. But keeping the big picture in mind will help you achieve your goals. For example, if you’re planning to start a family, how will you realistically continue to meet your career objectives? Or if work is taking over your life, how is that supporting your health?
Consider approaching your self-development plan with these questions:
- What are the priorities in your life right now? This can change from time to time and that’s okay. Base your plan on what’s important to you now.
- What is your Why? How might you focus on what your purpose is to help build your self-development plan?
- What aspect of your life has room to give in order to put more emphasis into other parts of your life?
- What is the learning you want to put in your plan and how does that relate to the various aspects of your life? (Hint: it should support more than one goal)
- What do you want to have achieved in 2, 5 and 10 years? (Knowing of course that life changes along the way)
- What if you were to make this plan about you and what you want? As opposed to what you think others want of you? How will that affect your plan?
- What will you need to ensure you’re accountable in following your plan?
There are multitudes of templates, tools and approaches you can use to support your plan. MindTools offers some great tools for free. The important thing is that you set it up to work for you.
The key to a successful plan and the ability to see it through rests with its simplicity and detail.
That’s right. The challenge is to not make it more than you can possibly achieve. But it does require putting in both where you want to get to and how you are going to do it. The “how” requires specific activities that will help to move you forward.
As you create these activities look for the links and impacts to each part of your life. If furthering your education will take up the majority of your time, how will that impact your family life? How might you reorganize your time to meet your family commitments? Are there opportunities to combine your goals or use the space in between work or education to do healthy activities?
Finally, keep it simple by chunking your goals into time frames. Life shifts and being able to keep to your goals and activities is easier if you put them in 1-3 month periods.
Creating your self-development plan is your responsibility. Make it work for you. The results will follow!