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Do you have a personal development plan?
You know personal development is important if you want to move up the corporate ladder but it can be a huge challenge for working moms. You have to feed, clothe, and care for yourself and your family while at the same time striving to be a dedicated and hard-working, full-time employee.
So how do you take the time to work on self-development? Should you even give it a thought when there are so many other people you need to take care of and focus your attention on?
That’s a good question. But you do realize, don’t you that the stakes are high when you neglect to invest in yourself in an effort to take care of everyone else?
Today I’m hoping to encourage you to give yourself permission to invest in your own self-development. And we’re going to make it easy!
Personal development, after all, is not a selfish thing. In the end, it actually creates a better life for yourself and everyone that you currently love and serve including spouses, children, extended family members, employers, and employees just to name a few.
What is Personal Development?
So what is personal development?
- Personal development is the process of investing in activities that develop your full potential.
- It’s the act of taking the time to invest in your dreams, goals, and greatest aspirations.
- Personal development is participating in undertakings that develop your talents and skills, and your knowledge base,
- Personal development is participating in educational experiences that help to make you an even better version of who you already are.
As we get started talking about personal development, it’s important for you to understand that God has given you talents, gifts, and natural resources that make you unique. He desires and expects you to use those gifts and talents and to develop them for His glory.
You were created to accomplish great things. Your life and calling were established for a purpose. There are good works that will come out of you developing the gifts you already have.
So not investing in yourself because you think it’s selfish isn’t being humble. There are people in the world that need to hear your voice, need the services you have to offer and need the talents you have to share. God wants to bless others through you at home and in the workplace.
You are probably familiar with the story in the Bible in Matthew 25. It’s the story of a wealthy man who gave his servants talents to invest while he was on a journey.
It says, A wealthy man went on a long journey and summoned all his trusted servants and assigned his financial management over to them. 15 Before he left on his journey, he entrusted a bag of five thousand gold coins to one of his servants, to another a bag of two thousand gold coins, and to the third a bag of one thousand gold coins, each according to his ability to manage.[e]
“The one entrusted with five thousand gold coins immediately went out and traded with the money, and he doubled his investment. 17 In the same way, the one who was entrusted with two thousand gold coins traded with the sum and likewise doubled his investment. 18 But the one who had been entrusted with one thousand gold coins dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money.
“After much time had passed, the master returned to settle accounts with his servants. 20 The one who was entrusted with five thousand gold coins came and brought ten thousand, saying, ‘See, I have doubled your money.’
“Commending his servant, the master replied, ‘You have done well, and proven yourself to be my loyal and trustworthy servant. Because you have been a faithful steward to manage a small sum, now I will put you in charge of much, much more. You will experience the delight of your master, who will say to you, “Come celebrate with me!”’
“Then the one who had been entrusted with two thousand gold coins came in and said, ‘See, my master, I have doubled what you have entrusted to me.’
“Commending his servant, the master replied, ‘You have done well, and proven yourself to be my loyal and trustworthy servant. Because you were faithful to manage a small sum, now I will put you in charge of much, much more. You will experience the delight of your master, who will say to you, “Come celebrate with me!”’
“Then the one who had been entrusted with one thousand gold coins came to his master and said, ‘Look, sir. I know that you are a hard man to please and you’re a shrewd and ruthless businessman who grows rich on the backs of others.[f] 25 I was afraid of you, so I went and hid your money and buried it in the ground. But here it is—take it, it’s yours.’
“Angered by what he heard, the master said to him, ‘You’re an untrustworthy and lazy servant! If you knew I was a shrewd and ruthless businessman who always makes a profit, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? Then I would have received it all back with interest when I returned. But because you were unfaithful, I will take the one thousand gold coins and give them to the one who has ten thousand. 29 For the one who has will be given more, until he overflows with abundance. And the one with hardly anything, even what little he has will be taken from him.’
The last servant was given resources to use and invest but instead, he did nothing, gave nothing, and created nothing.
The servants who took their talents and invested them to create more were recognized for their wisdom and faithfulness. The servant that did nothing with what he was given, on the other hand, was rebuked by his boss.
The last servant is hardly a model we would want to emulate, is it? So how can we be like the wise servants who took what they were given, made investments and came out with more? Let’s find out.
How to get started On Your Personal Development Journey
.We just talked about using our gifts and talents for God’s glory so with that said, one of the things you need to do when starting your personal development journey is to take the time and effort to listen to that still, small voice that speaks to your heart on a daily basis.
Take an hour or so now or this weekend to sit down with your favorite planner or with your Word document open on your computer. Then ask yourself: how can I move to where I am to where I want to be in the following five areas of my life:
- Physical-This is often an area working mom’s neglect, again due to taking care of a home, children, and job responsibilities. Come up with a few easy ways to add exercise and healthy eating to your calendar. One way to add exercise is to take a walk around your neighborhood in the mornings or at night. Walking with the family or a friend helps with this commitment.
- Spiritual- One of the easiest ways you can develop your spiritual life is to have a daily Bible reading time. To make it easy, find a year-long Bible reading plan on your YouVersion app on your phone. You can then either read through the scriptures in the morning when you first get up or listen to the daily reading every morning as you’re getting ready for work or on your commute. At the end of the year, you have either read through or listened to the entire Bible! Amazing and easy to do.
- Business- Identify skill gaps that you know that you have or possible suggestions that have come up in conversation during yearly evaluations with your boss or conversations with co-workers. List the five to ten competencies you think you need to develop and then ask yourself, “What skills will I need to develop to achieve this goal?” List those out. Can you take an online course, listen to audiobooks during your work commute, enroll in training your company offers? Get creative with your ideas. There are no right or wrong answers.
- Financial-Develop a plan to get out of debt or if you have no debt, develop a savings plan for an emergency or retirement plan.
- Relationships-Focus on investing time, listening skills and grace into your relationships. If you have relationships that need attention, include those individuals in the tasks you already have on your calendar. Trade out the time you usually spend watching tv with your spouse for a time to have meaningful conversations. Include children in your trips to run errands and trips to the grocery store. You may already do this but take the time to really engage in meaningful interactions. Play word games, sing songs, work on their spelling words, list all of the positive things you can about your child that begins withe letter of their name or the most things you can list in 2 minutes. Make the time fun and meaningful.
Brainstorm as many ideas as you can in each area.
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN
Now take the ideas that you identified in each of the five areas and write down specific action steps you need to take to succeed in each area. Keep this information in one handy notebook or online journal for easy reference.
Write out your goals in the form of a development plan and add them to your daily calendar. Schedule in the time you’re going to spend with family. Schedule your daily exercise time and daily Bible reading time. Add time on your calendar to go over your finances once a month. Schedule time to sit down on Saturday morning to come up with your meal plans for the upcoming week so you are less likely to go through the fast-food drive-through after work.
Set timeframes for each area and monitor your progress.
Set a date with yourself on a specific day and time such as on Sunday night or Monday morning before starting back to work to review your progress and make changes if something isn’t working. (I also know people who complete the look back at their week on Friday evening before they leave work for the weekend to see what worked and what didn’t and then they make a new plan for the upcoming week. I personally prefer to work on the review on Saturday or Sunday. On Friday, I’m ready to head home to get some rest!)
However you invest in yourself, it is up to you to make the commitment and to find the time to work on your personal development in the areas you feel are most important. Be creative.
Continue to research the skills or habits you need to develop to improve each area.
Pick out books, courses, and workshops you can take to help you reach your goals. Create a self-development or education category in your budget and set aside a small percentage for purchasing the books or courses that will help you grow.
Most importantly, JUST TAKE ACTION! Get clarity on what you want and take that first step.
For more information on reviewing your goals weekly, see this article. It’s sure to help you.
BEST TIPS FOR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
- Brian Tracy says, “You live in the very best country in the world and because of that you can create any life you desire but you are responsible for creating that life.”
- He says, When you take the first step, you will see far enough to take the next step. If you just keep taking steps, you will eventually reach your goal.
- The problem most of the time with starting that journey is a lack of clarity.
- But when you write down your personal development goals, like you did in the previous section, you’re forced to think and focus and thus you develop clarity as to where you want to go and where God is leading. So write your goals down and keep track of progress.
How Do You Find Time For Personal Development?
Start small if you need to but be consistent in your efforts to grow. Consistency is the key to succeeding in any endeavor.
Even 15 minutes a day spent working toward improving the areas you have identified will eventually change your life.
Spend 15-30 minutes of your commute to or from work Monday through Friday listening to online courses, audiobooks or podcasts that help with self-development. If you spend just 30 minutes a day working on one area of your life, at the end of a month, you will have invested 10 hours learning how to improve that specific circumstance.
If you walk a mile each day five days a week before work or one mile a day even on the weekends you will have walked 8-20 miles in a month! All of that walking can add up to a healthier lifestyle.
Reading before bed for 30 minutes is another way to invest in yourself in a way that isn’t extremely time-consuming.
And, we’ve already talked about investing in your spiritual life by following a year-long Bible reading plan on YouVersion.
BENEFITS of Personal Development
The benefits of embracing a personal development plan are numerous.
First of all, if you are working with your strengths and the gifts you already have, you will be living out your true purpose.
You will lead a happier, healthier, more productive life that not only blesses you but will very likely have a tremendous impact on other people.
You will be improving in all areas of your life: spiritually, physically, financially, in business and in your significant relationships so you have more to offer those you care about at home and in your place of employment.
BEST SELF DEVELOPMENT BOOKS
There are numerous books that can help with your personal development goals. Here is a list of just a few to consider either reading or listening to on Audible in the mornings as you’re getting ready for work, during your commute to and from work or even at night as you’re getting ready for bed or drifting off to sleep. Take the time to re-listen to or highlight things that speak to you and then, most importantly, take action on what you are learning.
The first book to consider is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. According to Amazon, this book has captivated readers for 25 years. It has transformed the lives of presidents and CEOs, educators and parents—in short, millions of people of all ages and occupations across the world. This twenty-fifth-anniversary edition of Stephen Covey’s cherished classic commemorates his timeless wisdom and encourages us to live a life of great and enduring purpose.
I just recently listened to this book again on Audible. There is an old version and this more modern version of How to Win Friends and Influence People. It’s a great book regardless. Amazon’s description reads, Dale Carnegie’s time-tested advice has carried millions upon millions of readers for more than seventy-five years up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. Now the first and best book of its kind has been rebooted to tame the complexities of modern times and will teach you how to communicate with diplomacy and tact, capitalize on a solid network, make people like you, project your message widely and clearly, be a more effective leader, increase your ability to get things done and optimize the power of digital tools.
Atomic Habits is a book everyone should have in their library.
The book description says, “If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Here, you’ll get a proven system that can take you to new heights.
Learn how to:
- Make time for new habits (even when life gets crazy)
- Overcome a lack of motivation and willpower
- Design your environment to make success easier
- Get back on track when you fall off course
- And much more”
I read this book the first time several years ago. According to the author, The Success Principles is filled with memorable and inspiring stories of CEO’s, world-class athletes, celebrities, and everyday people, The book spells out the 64 timeless principles used by successful men and women throughout history—proven principles and strategies that can be adapted for your own life, whether you want to be the best salesperson in your company, become a leading architect, score top grades in school, lose weight, buy your dream home, make millions, or just get back in the job market.
Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide a sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a superpower in our increasingly competitive twenty-first-century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep-spending their days instead of a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there’s a better way.
Lastly, The Magic if Thing Big, according to the description, presents a carefully designed program for getting the most out of your job, your marriage and family life, and your community. He proves that you don’t need to be an intellectual or have innate talent to attain great success and satisfaction—but you do need to learn and understand the habit of thinking and behaving in ways that will get you there. This book gives you those secrets!
Believe you can succeed and you will:
-Cure yourself of the fear of failure
-Think and dream creatively
-You are what you think you are
-Make your attitudes your allies
-Learn how to think positively
-Turn defeat into victory
-Use goals to help you grow
-Think like a leader
Taken together and practiced every day, these principles will change your life beyond your wildest dreams.
Any of these books will help to enhance your career and personal goals. That is the purpose of self-development after all.
To review some of what we have discussed today, remember to
- Give yourself permission to pour life and blessing into your own self-development.
- Take the time to invest in your dreams, goals, and greatest aspirations.
- Sit down with your favorite planner or with your Word document open on your computer. Come up with a list of ways you want to improve your life in the following areas: spiritual, physical, business, financial, relationships.
- Set aside time each day to invest in your personal development even if it’s only 15-30 minutes. Even small steps will add up to big successes over time.
- Develop a personal development plan and monitor your progress regularly.
- You have counted the cost but also regularly remind yourself of the benefits especially when you get tired and the progress seems slow.
What do you plan to work on over the coming year and how do you see your life-changing as you meet your goals?
Let us know in the comments below.