“Don’t go through life, grow through life.” – Eric Butterworth

“Professional development is the learning or development of skills or knowledge to enhance your current work practice and future career”

I am a huge believer in professional development and I want to add the word, continued professional development – it doesn’t stop, it’s ongoing and is always work in progress.

Professional development is talked about a lot in business. We work in busy environments and it’s very easy to push professional development under the carpet – there are always other priorities such as budgets and more tangible, easier wins. Professional development is always going to be an investment for the long term and you won’t necessarily get a return overnight.

What is the difference between personal development and professional development? I personally don’t think there is a difference. If I do my little Wikipedia search it comes up with

“Personal development 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. Personal development may take place over the course of an individual’s entire lifespan and is not limited to one stage”

Wow! So really we could replace the “Personal” with “Professional”. My point is it doesn’t really matter –life is far too short! Any sort of development is a vital part of your growth and progression – in life and your career. It’s all about self-improvement, awareness, knowledge, and skills helping you to feel fulfilled in your personal and your professional journey.

Heres a framework to get you underway!

HAVE A GOAL – What do you want to achieve? Make it SMARTSpecific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. The Goal is the end point and where you want to be.

WHERE ARE YOU NOW? – What’s happening in your life now – internal/external barriers. What’s the reality? What has stopped you from doing more? What impact is this having on your lifestyle? What are the issues and the challenges? 

WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS? – This is a blank canvas! What are your options, possibilities? Be creative & dream! What will take you closer to your GOAL? 

MOVING FORWARD – What options are you going to choose to take you on the path to your goal? What will you be doing? How will you do it? When will you do it? Get someone to hold you accountable. Include a date and time. 

Remember a GOAL not written down is just a dream!

Mike Jack is the Director of The One Consultancy