Personal development is all about self-improvement. It includes achieving heightened self-awareness, striking an ideal work-life balance, developing your potential and sharpening your marketable skills. While a good employer can encourage personal development in its workers, it's your responsibility to take the lead. Follow these tips.
Does your employer offer you the opportunity to attend on-site training courses or travel to industry conferences? If the answer is yes, take advantage of every chance you get. If the organization you work for doesn't provide training opportunities, ask to attend a particular workshop or seminar that's of interest to you. Explain how the training can help you become a better employee. If you get shot down, consider funding your professional development by paying for the training on your own dime.
Focus on Your Strengths
Take an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses, but focus more of your attention on the strengths. If you spend too much time dwelling on your flaws and trying to overcome them, you're likely to start looking at yourself in a negative light. Instead, strike a healthy balance. Spend just as much time reinforcing those skills at which you excel or discovering new strengths that you already possess.
Create a Schedule
When it comes time to focus on personal development activities, don't allow them to become an afterthought or get pushed aside, but don't bite off more than you can chew either. When you're balancing work, family, hobbies and a social life, things get busy. Schedule time for your personal development activities to ensure they're always a priority. Don't overload your calendar; focus on two or three per week.
When you're trying to achieve the ideal work-life balance and spend time each week on personal development, you have to know where to draw the line. If your workload is too much and you're forced to stay after hours, prioritize your assignments and respectfully say no when you're asked to take on tasks or assignments that you just can't fit into your schedule. Ask your boss to provide support when your workload is overwhelming.
Make a Connection
You may burn out quickly on personal development activities if you feel like they're only going to help you at the office. Instead, try to make a professional and personal connection for the activities on which you're focused so you can see the benefit to your life as a whole. For example, learning a new language can help you better connect with international clients in the workplace while increasing your ability to travel in your personal life.
Don't rely on your employer to facilitate your personal development. It's your responsibility to build your value, improve your identity, increase your employability and enhance your quality of life. Using these tips, you can focus on your own personal development.
Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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