Have you ever felt like your personal development and professional development were at odds with one another? Some people feel as if they are in sync; others feel a dissonance between the two. In other words, many people succeed professionally while struggling privately. Others succeed in their personal life while struggling with their career.
It is natural to excel in specific areas of your life. Learning how to use those skills to help you achieve success in other areas of your life does not have to be a contest between the two. Take stock of your natural strengths and talents and use them to further your personal and professional development.
Personal Development & Growth
Personal development and growth mean different things to different people. Some people have concrete goals they are trying to achieve in their personal lives; goals that are written down, clearly delineated with objectives and tasks to ensure that they achieve their goals. Other individuals wing it; their goals are often more likely to be stuck in the “dream” stage.
When developing goals in your personal life, certain topics often come to mind: developing a more spiritual relationship with God; communication; conflict resolution; interpersonal effectiveness; or mitigating and managing any mental health symptoms such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD. Other personal goals include health and fitness; organizing and uncluttering personal space; creating work/life balance; or becoming more fiscally responsible.
Each of these goals requires careful consideration and personal accountability. Some require professional assistance to level that accountability. You might hire a therapist to help with mental health issues or marriage conflicts. You might seek professional assistance from a fitness coach at a gym with weight loss and fitness.
You might watch DIY videos on decluttering and reorganizing your home or personal space. You might seek help in developing and maintaining a monthly budget for your finances or hire someone to help you wisely invest your money.
When we write goals down, we tend to have more success in achieving them. Writing goals down makes them more real and provides a tangible beginning towards your success in personal growth and development. It starts you off in the right direction by holding yourself personally accountable to begin taking steps to achieve these goals.
Professional Growth & Development
Professional goals are often achieved in close adjunct with your employer and/or supervisor. If you are not self-employed, chances are your company or organization will already have clearly defined goals and objectives that are broken down by teams and individuals. These goals are often less ambiguous than personal goals we develop on our own. We can learn a lot from transferring goal-setting tasks from our professional lives into our personal lives.
When you applied for the job you currently have, you had to learn your organization’s mission statement and then the goals and objectives they set forth to achieve that mission. If you began your own business, and especially if you got a loan for the start of that business, you had to develop and present a business plan before getting that loan.
Before that, you had to have an awareness of your strengths and talents: characteristics about you that not only help you succeed but will also contribute to the success of your employer or your own business. Many adults already know what they are good at and where their talents lie. Others rely on online strength assessments to help make these determinations.
Professional goals can include team effectiveness; maximizing profits; minimizing expenses and losses; continuing education requirements (especially for professionals whose jobs require specific licensure); minimizing absenteeism; creating a healthy work/life balance in a supportive environment for employees; flexible schedules; establishing and maintaining good relationships with vendors; meeting clients’ needs; and establishing a workflow chain.
Some of your same personal development goals will transcend into your professional life. For example, if you have been working on personal improving habits at home, such as better sleep hygiene or being punctual, these can also transcend into your work world.
Getting more sleep will improve your overall cognitive functioning both at work and at home. Being more punctual will not only have positive effects at work, but also will improve social connections in your personal life.
Conversely, professional development, such as organizational skills and effective communication, can benefit you in your personal life. Maintaining good organizational skills can save time and money. Building effective communication skills benefits you in your interpersonal relationships both at work and at home.
Building effective communication skills includes conflict resolution, which also utilizes the art of objectivity and negotiation. This is helpful when resolving an issue with your supervisor, asking for a raise, or navigating a conflict with your spouse or significant other.
Other factors contribute equally to our success in our personal and professional development. Punctuality is important. If you are consistently late to work, not only can you be disciplined for it, but you could also even lose your job if you are late one too many times.
Equally important is learning to be punctual to church, family gatherings, or even lunch with a friend. No one wants to be kept waiting, and tardiness is a maladaptive behavior that requires improvement.
Getting sufficient sleep is a major area of crossover between personal and professional development. If you suffer from chronic insomnia or a sleep disorder, first be sure to consult your primary care physician, who may refer you to a sleep study specialist. If you are suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD, or relationship issues, be encouraged to seek professional assistance, as these can heavily impact your sleep. Loss of sleep can have a profound negative impact on job performance.
Strong communication skills are important to have both at work and at home. Communication skills include active listening, reflective feedback, minimizing distractions when communicating, showing empathy, body language, and nonverbal gestures, developing a rapport, asking questions, and summarizing to help eliminate miscommunication.
When reviewing your personal life to see where you want to improve, evaluate the impact that your goals will have on your professional life, and vice versa. When learning new things at work, consider how these principles might be employed in your personal development at home.
Some employers provide excellent training that is required; some provide training that is not mandatory but may prove to be beneficial to both your professional and personal growth. If your company is paying for it, or if you can afford the expense, be sure to take advantage of those programs and courses.
Scriptures Addressing Personal Growth in Character Development
Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 5:1-5
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. – Galatians 5:22
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. – 1 Timothy 4:12-13
Be not overcome of evil but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:21
In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. – 2 Timothy 4:7-8
O LORD, I know that the way of man [is] not in himself: [it is] not in man that walketh to direct his steps. – Jeremiah 10:23
And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. – 2 Thessalonians 3:5-15
But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. – 1 Timothy 6:11
“Begin,” Courtesy of Danielle Macinnes, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Reading for Success”, Courtesy of Austin Distel, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Life Emerges”, Courtesy of Markus Spiske, Unsplash.com, Public Domain License; “Planning Session”, Courtesy of Austin Distel, Unsplash.com, CC0 License