Creating a personal development plan is as important to your success as creating a business plan is to the success of a company.
“Planning is bringing the future into the present
so that you can do something about it now”
– Alan Lakein
Your personal development plan is the roadmap that you are going to use to become the person that you want to be. The key is to take developing a personal plan step-by-step.
Step 1: Decide who you want to be – This isn’t just about a career; this is about your life. Do you want a powerful spiritual life? Do you want to be a huge success in your career? Do you want to be a parent? Do you want to retire at 50? Do you want to have a one year vacation every five years? These are the decision you need to make to have a complete personal development plan.
Step 2: Figure your timeline for each of things on your list that you want to do, while you’re developing your personal plan. If you are 45, your timeline will be very different than if you are 25. If you want to be a doctor, you will need to get started sooner than some other careers because it takes longer. If you want to start your own dog walking business, you can be working tomorrow. Honest timelines are an important part of your personal development plan.
Your Personal Development Plan on Paper
Step 3 will be where you start developing your personal development plan and putting things on paper. This is also where you will separate needs from wishes and wishes from dreams.
If you have a debilitating fear of commitment, you really will need to address that before you can do anything else. Mainly because you need to commit to this plan.
If you still have issues with your parents that you carry around, you are going to need to handle them. You can’t write the chapters of your future until you stop re-reading the chapters of the past.
If you want to own a G-6, that’s great but there are a few steps in between. Each step doesn’t need to be spelled out while you’re developing your personal plan, but it should be implied.
Making Your Personal Development Plan Work
After you have figured out what you want to do, then next step in developing your personal plan is find the resources you need to make it happen.
If you want to be a doctor, but you don’t yet have your high school diploma, then you will need to get a GED.
If you want a deep spiritual life, then you will need to explore until you have found the right path for you.
This is a Personal Development Plan, not an ‘Already Completed Snapshot.’ Don’t get discouraged if it seems like there is a lot to do. That’s precisely why you are developing your personal plan with a timeline longer than “NOW!”
Find mentors – If your goal is to make money as a blogger, find someone who can show you a method for doing precisely that. (I know someone who is doing precisely that. [Shameless self-promotion alert!]) If your goal is to be a veterinarian, stop by your local animal hospital. You get the idea. Find someone who is already successful at doing what you want to do and make them part of your personal development plan.
A quick note – Your personal development plan contains absolutely nothing unique. I know we all want to be unique and we are, but someone has already done what you are hoping to do. Find them and find out how they did it. You don’t make a triangular wheel just to be different.
Find resources – There are literally millions of books, websites and pamphlets that can guide you through your personal development plan. If it is spirituality you seek, you will find billions of resources. Follow your heart as long as you follow your plan. And don’t cling to any one resource while you’re developing your personal plan. It’s personal, after all, so no one source but you is perfect for the job.
Tell everyone – Tell people about your personal development plan. If you keep it secret, it is much easier to slip from the plan. Post it to your Facebook page, your blog or on LinkedIn. Show family members and friends while you are developing your personal plan. In fact, you might inspire others to do the same.
Get someone to hold you to it – A best friend, spouse or work partner should have a copy of your personal development plan. Let them be a part of developing your personal plan. They have permission to nag you incessantly. They can pick on you and call you out in public until you move your plan forward. Knowing that someone is a part of developing your personal plan with will make it that much harder to procrastinate.