Why is Personal and Professional Development so Important?

If you’re working in a large company, or you’re in a profession such as law or finance, the term ‘Personal and Professional Development’ (PPD) may be very familiar to you. However, this is not just corporate jargon. Everybody can benefit from personal and professional development at some point in their lives. Unless you are obligated in some way, usually, the need arises when something is lacking in your life. This could be a feeling of unfulfillment, a lack of meaning or a sense of purpose. You may not be leading the lifestyle you desire. You could be trapped in a relationship or stuck in a job that does not give you the rewards that you once hoped it would. However, sadly, most people are often unaware of the benefits of PPD and continue to lead lacklustre lives.

What do we mean by ‘Personal and Professional Development’ (PPD)?

PPD is a way for people to assess their own skills and abilities, consider their aims in life, and set goals in order to realise and maximise their true potential. PPD can be undertaken in various ways – for example, coaching, education, training and mindset changes. If you’re a professional like a solicitor, you will be expected to undertake CPD courses (Continuing Professional Development), which ensures that your knowledge base stays up to date for you to be competent and able to practise. In the workplace, a clear outcome from a PPD process would be to achieve a promotion or a career change, or the development of soft and hard skills. In your personal life, you may discover areas that have room for improvement and your PPD journey could enable you to enjoy a more fulfilling existence. Another PPD outcome could even be a radical change of identity.

Where are you right now?

Like it or not, your personal and professional lives are intrinsically linked, which is why the term ‘PPD’ exists – one directly affects the other. If you’re feeling unfulfilled in your career, this will take its toll on your relationships with family and friends. Likewise, if you’re having relationship problems, this will have a knock-on effect when you’re at work. As your stress levels rise, your frustration increases, and you become demotivated and less productive. It’s important to stop and take stock of any areas that are preventing you from achieving your full potential, whether this is in your career or your personal life.

Where do you want to be?

• Reflect on your life. How does it make you feel? Are you currently living by your values? Consider areas of your life where you feel improvements could be made.

• Think about where you would like to be in the future. Create a picture in your mind. What does it look like? Are there any key characteristics, such as a certain commitment or a specific challenge for you to achieve your desired lifestyle?

How can you get to your destination?

Goal setting is an important aspect of personal and professional development. Before you can start setting clear goals, you need to think about the ‘why’ – for example, why do you feel the need to achieve a particular goal? Your goals need to reflect your own personal values and motivations.

Here are three common areas:

• Relationships – do you need to work on your marriage, or do you need to end a toxic partnership?

• Training – do you need to upskill in your current job role to be considered for a promotion?

• Education – do you need to study at an academic institution to achieve one of your goals?

What can help you to achieve your goals?

In the working environment, regular reviews and 360 feedback are often used to help individuals progress with any personal and professional development planning (often known as PDPs). Such interactions can be instrumental in moving people up the career ladder within an organisation. However, if you don’t have a PDP process in your workplace – or you’re running your own business – you may need to access external support. As well as your working life, you may have a set of personal goals that need pulling together into a type of ‘life plan’. Once you have set down your objectives, you can start to visualise the way ahead. Consider the types of activities and time frames, which could help you to achieve your goals.

What’s holding you back?

If you are struggling to set goals due to a lack of meaning and purpose in your life, there are many ways you can access support. If you are feeling stuck in a rut, life coaching can be a useful and practical way for you to progress with your personal and professional development. However, if you believe that you are being held back by negative emotions or a past trauma, then it might be advisable to seek therapy before you start your PPD journey. At Conversations With Impact, we combine and tailor different areas of support to help you move forward in your life. Whether you are looking to change your lifestyle, career, or you need to overcome a specific problem, we will work together to create positive changes, so you can look forward to a brighter future. For more details, please get in touch.