Personal development is the process of improving oneself through such activities as enhancing employment skills, increasing consciousness and building wealth. SkillsYouNeed.com defines personal development as “a way for people to assess their skills and qualities, consider their aims in life and set goals in order to realize and maximize their potential.”
Personal development is the wisest investment you will ever make, it is an INVESTMENT IN YOURSELF! The greatest gift you can give yourself is to make a lifelong commitment to learn new skills through the process of continuous learning. By learning new skills you will raise your confidence, realize and maximize your potential which can lead to a more fulfilling, higher quality of life by challenging and developing yourself. Through continuous learning and personal development, you can keep up with, and get on top of, your job, career, and field of expertise.
Continuous learning is about expanding your ability to learn by regularly upgrading your skills and increasing your knowledge. It is a lifelong process in which you are open to learning and sharpening your skills. Continuous learning also creates a sustainable competitive advantage. Learning new skills will broaden the opportunities open to you enhancing your employability prospects, at the same time empowering you as an individual.
So you ask, what is all this talk about personal development?
There are many ideas surrounding personal development, one of which is Abraham Maslow’s process of Self-Actualization.
As you can see on the diagram, self-actualization is at the peak of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. What is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? According to humanist psychologist Abraham Maslow, our actions are motivated in order to achieve certain needs. This hierarchy suggests that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to other, more advanced needs. According to Maslow, individuals have a “built in need for personal development.” Individuals have the “need to see themselves as competent and autonomous”, also that every person has “limitless room for growth.” (Maslow, 1970) To sum it up, self-actualization refers to self-fulfillment and the need to reach full potential as a unique human being.
For Maslow, the path to self-actualization involves being in touch with your feelings, experiencing life fully and with total concentration.
Let’s get to some practical steps that can be taken to enhance personal development…
SkillsYouNeed.com describes the following as practical steps to help on your personal development journey:
Time Management: Organize your time.
Looking at how you spend your time will encourage you to think of ways your time could be managed more effectively. Learn how to say “no” to jobs or requests that you feel are not your responsibility. Learn to delegate. Make a ‘to do’ list of tasks you need to do each day/week. Also identifying your high and low times of the day. Try to do the most demanding tasks when you have the greatest amount of energy.
Producing and maintaining your resume.
A resume is not only useful for when you are actively looking for employment. It is also a very useful tool for your own benefit and will assist you in appraising skills you have gained throughout your years. A resume will also help you to highlight skills that you should work on developing. I strongly believe that you should have your resume updated at ALL TIMES. You are constantly learning new skills and therefore can be listing those on your resume. When using your resume for the purpose of applying for a job, be sure to include all relevant information and make sure your resume is well written and well presented.
Looking at your transferable skills.
Transferable skills are skills that you have learned and developed that can be successfully added to other areas of your life. It is a skill set that can be easily transferred from one job to another. Research those skills that are essential for your industry and be sure to develop those skills that you feel can use some work.
Overcoming barriers to learning a new skill.
There are a number of reasons that prevent people from self improvement and learning new skills. These are barriers that can be overcome.
Some of these barriers are:
Lack of Confidence or Self-Esteem ranks as one of the greatest obstacles facing people. Support is typically the best way to handle this obstacle. Ask yourself if there is anyone who would support and help you take the first step in learning new skills.
Economic Situation may seem as a barrier to developing new skills but with the internet there are so many resources that can be used and are absolutely FREE. One such resource is Coursera. Coursera is an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide, to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free! (There will be a direct link at the end of the blog available to you to learn about Coursera and it’s purpose.) You may also look into courses available at local schools, colleges, or universities which are free or offered at a discounted rate. Something as simple as reading a book could assist in building new skills. Volunteer work as well as becoming a member of an organization can help develop new skills (especially networking skills).
Lack of Time: This is why time management was mentioned earlier. It’s imperative to organize your time and manage your time more effectively to make room for personal development.
I highly recommend that you DOCUMENT YOUR JOURNEY of personal development. Write down key developments so you will be able to reflect on your successes. Reflection helps to motivate you to learn MORE skills!
**To learn about Coursera click the link below**
-5 Ways to Gain a Competitive Advantage: The Importance of…. (n.d.). Brian Tracy’s Blog. Retrieved May 15, 2014, from http://www.briantracy.com/blog/personal-success/5-ways-to-gain-a-competitive-advantage-the-importance-of-continuous-learning-and-personal-development/
-Maslow, A. H. (1970), Motivation and Personality, (2nd Edition), Harper & Row, New York.
-What is Personal Development?. (n.d.). Personal Development. Retrieved May 15, 2014, from http://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/personal-development.html
-The Smartest Long-Term Investment is You. (n.d.). Entrepreneur. Retrieved May 15, 2014, from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/233495