Personal Development Plans

All business owners generally create business plans before starting a business and your personal life is no different, perhaps more important so creating a personal development plan is essential to get the most out of life to achieve your goals.

Examples of personal plans include a portfolio of skills you already have, your goals, the skills and knowledge you need to obtain and tactical plans to be put in place to achieve all your objectives.

Advantages of a Personal Development Plan (PDP)

Developing a plan for yourself has many advantages the main one being that you actually have a plan of action to take your towards your goals and that very fact, that you have written down goals, is probably more than 90% of the population undertakes at any time in their life.

Many people move through life thinking they know what they want and have a foggy mind because there is so much they want to achieve but have no way of getting their because they may not have the skills, knowledge or time to get there. Then after many years they feel some sense of failure because their inherent dreams did not materialise and feel life has passed them by.

So actually developing a personal development plan will in itself provide some sense of achievement and clear your mind because you have a plan.

Some people say there are disadvantages in having personal plans, much like business plans because the plan itself is in a way rigid and things and circumstances change on a daily basis and you may go off course if you follow your plan to the letter.

But it doesn't need to be like that as we shall find out.

Personal Development Planning - 1st Stage

The ultimate goal of your plan is to analyse and develop the following:

This is all very easy to sum up hypothetically and most people will be put off thinking they need to work at this and understand what's driving them forward and if you can answer the above questions then you are 90% of the way there. So what happens now?

Analysing Your Current Strengths

So you can work out what type of additional skills, help or knowledge you need you'll need to first state what you currently possess so complete the following as this will sum up what you already possess to move yourself forward:

ItemYour Success To Date
My personal achievements
My work achievements
My Qualifications
Training courses attended
My financial status

Everyone has something they can already offer the world and although it's human nature to be able to list weaknesses easily be candid and open for your strengths.

Your Personal Circumstances

It's all too easy for training people to say "do this" and "do that" but most of us have busy lives with children to look after or can not commit time nor money towards career or business development so with that in mind you should think about what you can invest in your own life.

ItemYour Availability Per Month
Hours I can commit
Money I can commit

As this is a personal development plan for you and if you are really serious about developing your life for you and your family think about the time long and hard. Moving a life forward is not easy and it's only you who can do it so you may need to put aside time in the evenings or weekends. If you have children to look after perhaps you can get family members to look after them or if you simply want to move on then set aside at least one hour per day to invest in your future.

Your Long Term Goals

PDPs can be for next month, next year or 3 years time. The longer the goal time frame the more chance of you not fulfilling it because you may put things off for tomorrow. But if you put a plan for this time next year the time will pass quickly and to realise your objectives you'll need to act on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

ItemYour Goal
Financial Goaleg: I want to earn £40,000 per year in 2 years time
Business Goaleg: I want to start my own business, I want my business to double profits
Personal Goaleg: I want to own my own house, I want to settle down and start a family

These goals should be written in SMART format in that they should be Specific (not general), Measureable (that you know when you have reached the goal), Achievable (only you know what is possible), Realistic (that you can reach them) and Time bound (ie: by a certain date).

Plugging the Gaps

Now you your goals you should write down where you are now. So if you want to earn £40,000 per year and currently earn £20,000 per year you know the actual gap you need to get there. This may sound obvious but the important element now is putting plans into action to fill that gap to get to where you want to be and this is where you action plans come into play.

Developing Action Plans

Having developed the gaps you'll need to come up with specific actions you can take that will ensure you move towards your goals. This may be the hardest part of this exercise.

Your Goal I want to earn £40,000 per year in 2 years time
Current StatusI currently earn £20,000
Change RequiredI need to get promotion up 2 pay scales to achieve this
Personal PlanI need to complete my accountancy training to get qualified
Actions Required1: Attend distance based learning classes for next 6 months for level 2 and take exam then take distance based learning classes for next year and take exam afterwards. Total cost is £1,750 which I will fund with a personal bank loan.

Although the above is fairly simplistic it shows step-by-step the process of having your current status, your overall goal in 2 years time, the requirement to get there and the specific action plans to achieve the goal. Some of your objectives may be harder to develop but by using this framework almost everything is possible.

Your Learning Style

Not everyone learns in the same way so it's important to understand how you learn. Are you better in a classroom with other people, sitting down by yourself and reading books or would it be better using some of the online learning systems that are now being developed?

This is important if you need to get additional qualifications so you don't put this element off. Think about how you learned at school or a recent training course you attended for the best way to gain training knowledge. There are so many programmes available and not all cost money. The government are certainly pumping money into the system so if you have found the qualification you want to get search online to see if there are local government aided courses or grants you may be able to get. If you are unemployed speak with your local job centre to see what's available.

Taking Action

To achieve almost anything people need to possess the skills and knowledge to get there and not everyone wants to enrol on a course or "can't be bothered" to further their skills. Most people are "happy with their lot" but this doesn't need to be that way. A year or 2 quickly pass and imagine in 2 years time that you took action from this very article, got additional qualifications and are now achieving your salary goal? What would that mean to your lifestyle and more importantly to your family? Taking action today to at least develop a personal development plan for you could radically change your life - not just today or 2 years, but forever! So take action today to develop you.

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