Ask a colleague if they consider personal development important, and the consensus will likely be a solid “yes.” Ask a colleague if they actually have a personal development plan, and the majority will probably answer “no.” Many reasons may surface, but an overwhelming answer would be – Time. Why is time to develop yourself such a barrier? We all have the same amount of time each day. It’s not about having the time; it is about taking the time. Making it a priority to take the time to build your personal development plan is choosing to invest in yourself.
Why Build a Personal Development Plan?
Think of it this way — you can’t give what you do not have. You can’t pour your energy, talent and resources into other people if you are not pouring energy into yourself. You must stay abreast of the latest trends in practice. Building a personal development plan not only helps support your learning, but also supports everyone you work with or meet in your practice.
An effective Personal Development Plan should have three key components:
1. Personal Development — This should be focused on your self-awareness, character building, and provide you something that nurtures your values.
2. Professional Development — This should be centered on knowledge, skill, or practice in your clinical field, leadership training, or specialty practice.
3. Operational Experience — This area is devoted to the concrete experiences of your professional path, such as jobs, residencies, clinical assignments, and research projects.
The most popular, and arguably most important, form of personal development is reading. Reading (books, blogs, articles or even watching YouTube videos) can expand your mind, increase your knowledge, and introduce you to a new perspective. Collectively, these will deepen your personal development. When choosing what to read, pick topics that are of interest you; otherwise, reading will feel laborious.
However, beware of setting reading goals that are too difficult to achieve. Setting an achievable minimum is the best way to move forward. For me, a good reading goal is two pages per day. You might say that is so low, I should be able to do more. But remember all those responsibilities which must be done at home, work, school, and elsewhere? Not achieving the goal on a daily basis causes undue burden, shame and guilt which eventually leads to giving up. Setting a goal, however small, is about accomplishing the goal, keeping yourself accountable, and being proud of achieving it.
So this month, set a goal, keep track of your progress, and hold yourself accountable with your personal development. If you need more help in personal or professional development, check out our line-up of programs.