How To Take Ownership Of Your Own Professional Development

Personal development is the process of improving yourself. It is about setting targets or goals that you want to achieve in the short, medium or long term.

What is personal development?

In short, personal development is the process of improving yourself. It is about setting yourself targets or goals that you want to achieve in your career in the short, medium or long term

Create a professional development plan

Personal development planning identifies needs for skills, knowledge or competence to achieve your desired aims and objectives. 

Strategies that you can use to prioritise your professional development

Focus on objectives

Decide what your end goal is. A good way to set goals for your professional development is to start with the end goal in mind, ie where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years? What job title do you want to have? Knowing your end goal will allow you to work backwards to create smaller goals that allow you to ultimately reach your larger professional goals. 

Use SMART when establishing goals. SMART stands for: 

  • Specific 
  • Measurable 
  • Achievable 
  • Relevant 
  • Time-bound 

This method ensures your goals are both actionable, realistic, and able to be measured, all of which will keep you on track and motivated to reach your goal. 

Break your larger goals into smaller tasks 

The more you can break your goals up into bite-sized tasks, the more likely you are to continue pursuing that goal. Take each larger goal you set and break it down into tasks you can complete each day or week.

Regularly review your progress 

It is easy to lose sight of goals, especially if a goal you are working on is more long-term. That’s why it is important to regularly check in with yourself and review your progress. Realising that you are making progress towards each goal will keep you motivated and also ensure you are still on the right path to achieving each aspiration. 

Make learning a habit 

When you make learning a habit, you make a positive, long-lasting change, and achieve the goals that you set yourself. 

Do this by building learning into your daily routine. Schedule time, however little, each day for learning. Set a routine, be clear on what you are going to learn, where you’re going to do it, and how long you are going to devote to it. 

Find your own learning style 

Everyone has different learning preferences and styles that benefit them. Some individuals find that they have a dominant learning style, whilst others prefer different learning styles in different circumstances. There is no right or wrong answer to which learning style, or mix of learning styles, is best for you. 

By discovering and better understanding your own learning styles, you can employ techniques that will improve the rate and quality of your learning. 

The VARK Model 

The most widely accepted model of learning styles is called the VARK model, which stands for visual, aural/auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. In brief: 

  • Visual (spatial) learners learn best by seeing
  • Auditory (aural) learners learn best by hearing
  • Reading/writing learners learn best by reading and writing
  • Kinesthetic (physical) learners learn best by moving and doing

Have a mentor 

A mentor provides counsel and resources to support your professional development. 

Having a mentor provides you with a third party that can offer you objective advice regarding various aspects of your professional development. Not only do Mentors serve as a great resource and provide you with a wealth of knowledge, but they are also an ally who you can trust to give you an honest opinion.

Build your professional network 

The old saying, ‘it is who you know’ has never been more apt. Get by with a little help from your career friends. Meet new people within your industry. Start conversations and build relationships with them. Having these people in the wings as mentors and professional contacts will help you tremendously. They can provide tips and insights and act as a sounding board for ideas. 

Take control of your professional development

If you have any questions about how to take ownership of your own professional development, feel free to get in touch with us today. We are happy to discuss these strategies with you and help you to understand how you can personalise them to boost your own professional career.