I grew up in a society which encouraged education and having a degree as an indicator of potential for success. Of course, I passed all my grades and tertiary education was met with the same vigour.
When I started working, I realised that success in my life/career is not only dependent on the qualifications I acquired and the people in my life (professionally & personally). It was also dependent on how I show up at work and in my personal life. It was critical for my career progress that I owned my personal development space. I realised the growth would come from stretching my thinking about who I am and how I show up in all areas of my life. I needed to own my own development, not my line manager nor anyone else but ME.
The “own your development” that I am referring to will be focusing on how to create a mindset that helps your to transcend your development outside of formal qualifications. It is about developing a success strategy for your ambitions. It is a process that requires you to analyse where you are, creating a vision for your future and exploring possible ways of getting yourself there. The best way to experience the future you want is to co-create it by developing a plan that is in-line with what you believe is possible for you.
- Define your vision:
- Defining your vision or your big idea/agenda is about being clear about your objectives.
- Progress (career & life) you believe is possible for you.
- The impact you want to make.
Design your vision by defining what is possible for your future career/life growth; it’s about crafting possibilities, the imagined dream.
- Explore and discover
This is a process of self-exploration in terms of your current reality and these are some of the questions/areas you need to explore and discover in terms of where you are versus where you want to be (vision):
- Who am I? This is your personality and one can use independent assessment to compliment this part like psychometrics
- Explore your interests
- Review your strengths & areas for development
- Values – what is important to you
- Your motivation levels
- Career path that you want to explore – Management or Specialist?
- Current personal lifestyle
- Self Image – this is about how you see/view yourself.
Analyse the gap between where you are and where you want to be for planning.
Develop a SMART plan and that means it must be:
- Action orientated
- Results driven
- Time bound
The importance of having a smart plan is that it cultivates accountability and it clarifies the picture of success. Your action plan must incorporate the following areas:
- Competence development strategy – this is how you are going to develop your future skills gap or expand on your current strengths. Define behaviours, skills and the mindset required for your future self to the realised. Include opportunities for practical application like secondment assignments, volunteering, projects, etc.
- Engagement platforms – it includes maximising multimedia to connect with like-minded individuals or possible collaborations. They include being a member of professional organisations, Linkedin profile, slideshare participation, etc.
- Council of advisors – this is a group of carefully selected individuals due to strengths they can bring to amplify your career/life expansion and it includes mentors, sponsors, coaches. Recruit your council of advisors based on the competencies you want to build and your inspired future.
This is turning all the above points into practical magic. The action plan needs to be detailed and that means you break it down. For example, if it’s a 5-year plan, have a plan for each year. The yearly plan must be broken down into sizeable chunks by having quarterly milestones.
Reviewing progress against plan ensures you keep track of your progress and review some of the deliverables. Plan for four or two reviews in a year. I prefer quarterly as it keeps one engaged and align to the strategy. Your review session should include or seek to answer the following:
- Progress against the plan
- Key challenges
- Way forward
- Lessons learnt
Celebrate your mini successes, celebrating fuels us to push for more, it inspires and ignites courage.
We develop ourselves because we want to grow, we want to be better, we want to stretch ourselves, we yearn for progress and we are excited about imagining a different or new possibility. We develop because we want to contribute to the communities we practice and serve in, like companies, organisations and NGO’s. The highest level of human development lies in yearning to make a difference, so when you are developing your self, understand the meaning of your role and the impact it will make in the world. The more you know your place in society, the better you understand your purpose and what drives you.
I would like to encourage you to go back to our old blogs as I find that the lessons and advice shared on those posts is still powerful and relevant. I would like to challenge you to always share a post after you’ve read it. The idea is to touch and help as many people as possible.