Your Professional Development Plan

This week I invite you to undertake some self-reflection and think about your professional development plan. What do you need to do in order to become the best you in your job? Find some quiet time and think on the following questions:

1.What do you need to learn more about to perform the tasks of your job better? How will you learn this information?

You don’t know everything you need to know to be amazing at your job. None of us do. What you need to do, if you are to truly practice continuous improvement, is commit to ongoing learning and discovery of new ideas and practices. 

If you can identify what you need to learn more about, you must also identify from where you will get the knowledge. Not all instruction is created equal. And almost all instruction requires a commitment of time and money. Only in rare circumstances will a 90 minute webinar give you all you need. 


2. Do you need any mentorship or coaching these days? From whom do you want it? At what cost to you (for example, time, money, giving up something else for it, etc.)? For what purpose?

Your personal growth plan may not be about the tasks of your work as much as it is about you learning how better to deliver the work or present yourself  in the work or reflect and grow as it relates to your work. Mentorship and coaching are both ways in which you can achieve this. Not all coaching and mentors are the same. Not all coaching or mentorship is free. 

I have been a strong advocate of mentorship and coaching for about 15 years. Coaches have helped me learn more about myself than any other process, and have also assisted me in becoming a helpful critical thinker as opposed to being a polemic.


3. What are you most curious about these days? How will you learn more about it to feed your curiosity? (These are ideas or skills you may have heard about have not taken action upon)

You can go to a conference, read an article or blog, or participate in a webinar or conference call, and find yourself enamoured with a new idea or theory. Curiosity helps you learn more.

Or you may find yourself in a more innovative mood to try and solve the problem no one else has solved. Curiosity is the answer in that case as well. You will find your mind active, instead of passive, and focused on problem solving when this happens. 


4. What are you currently doing or not doing in your life that is incongruent with achieving your professional growth or feeding your curiosity?

With our best of intentions we often work against our own best interests in achieving new learning or taking the time to feed our curiosity. From a place of self reflection, you can learn what it is that you are doing instead of learning; what you are doing that inhibits following through on your curiosity. This only works when you are brutally honest with yourself. 


5. How must you go about replenishing your energy, feeding your soul, and renewing your mind?

This is part of good self-care. There are many ways in which people go about replenishing their energy. Your professional development plan should include purposeful strategies, and maybe even new approaches to try, for making your energy is replenished. Feeding your soul could be spiritual or reflective in nature. Feeding your soul is really about providing your internal drivers the chance to stay tuned to your passion. And lastly, renewing your mind comes from thinking in new and energizing ways. 


If you undertake this type of self-examination for your personal growth, you must also create a plan to put it into action. You must also think about how you will navigate the changes necessary to implement the action plan. No personal growth occurs without change – and that requires commitment to achieve.


Examine Yourself

About Iain De Jong

Leader. Edutainer. Coach. Consultant. Professor. Researcher. Blogger. Do-gooder. Potty mouth. Positive disruptor. Relentless advocate for social justice. Comedian. Dad. Minimalist. Recovering musician. Canadian citizen. International jetsetter. Living life in jeans and a t-shirt. Trying really hard to end homelessness in developed countries around the world, expand harm reduction practices, make housing happen, and reform the justice system. Driven by change, fuelled by passion. Winner of a shit ton of prestigious awards, none of which matter unless change happens in how we think about vulnerability, marginality, and inclusion.

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