The fact is we all care about our careers and all strive towards building a happy, satisfying and successful life. I can hardly think of why any of us wouldn’t want to advance or at least make progress in our personal and professional lives.
I want to believe that for most of us, the only thing that has kept us backing down all this time is that we just don’t know how to go about making necessary contributions toward making our aspirations a reality. We just can’t seem to progress like the pros. Which explains why the great majority of us often fail to make progress.
One friend of mine once sent me a message that basically likened our lives to a hammer and a chisel. He said in life you’re either one of those. If you’re a hammer you exert effort in steering your life to your desired future, but if you’re a chisel you’re driven by the hammer to its predetermined destination.
The moral of this analogy is that in our lives we’re either proactive or reactive. This is true in most cases even in our career paths.
Some people know what their preferred future looks like, while some are forced to decide. For example, Timbah has been a teacher in one local high school for fifteen years and so thinks he deserves a promotion. And to his astonishment the promotion came to Thabang his colleague who only had seven years of experiences but had furthered his education.
The differences between this two is that Thabang (a hammer in our analogy) decided beforehand to enroll in a college and further his education, and therefore was worthy of the promotion while Timbah through bitter experience was forced to find means to work up his education. Timbah’s experience characterizes most people’s lives and you don’t want to fall within that group.
The above story brings to life the idea that it is important to have one’s own personal development plan if we’re to remain valuable in the job market. Part of this involves thinking about what “satisfaction” means to you: after all, each of us gets fulfilment from different things.
This shows an impossibility of following someone else’s plan.
James Manktelow in his work on Personal Development Plan argues that another part of this involves making sure that one possesses needed skills to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
As you can see it’ll definitely take a systematic approach to developing your skills. And the thing that readily comes up is that there’s a need for the creation of a personal development plan.
We’ll then highlight of and look into an insightful outline of the informed and practical personal development plan.
It is now commonly understood and agreed upon that popular tools such as SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) and PEST (Political, Economic, Socio-cultural and Technological) analysis, and techniques like setting SMART goals, are all part of it.
When used to guide one’s thinking, these tools will assist in coming up with a roadmap one can adhere to in reaching for one’s esteemed goals.
It is crucial to have a clear and inspiring and all-encompassing vision of one’s ideal future.
According to James, “You have to be proactive, take charge and change the way you think about your career. When you take control, you’ll realize that the only way you’ll achieve what you want, personally or professionally, is to think about where you want to go, put in place a plan to get there, and then start moving. ”
So to bring it to a close let’s consider what constitutes a well-thought-of and comprehensive personal development plan.
Long-term career planning or Personal Development Planning is a structured way of making advances in your career path.
- First, you need to understand yourself and set meaningful goals
- Next, you define the steps you need to take to get there.
- Finally, you identify gaps in your skills and experience, and create an action plan to fill them, so that you can move towards your end goal.