personal development

Have you ever felt like you were just drifting through life – you know that feeling “same sh1t different day?

Perhaps you need a Personal Development Plan?

So you might be thinking what actually is a Personal Development Plan?

Well, Wikipedia defines a Personal Development Plan as the process of creating an action plan based on awareness, values, reflection, goal-setting and planning for personal development within the context of a career, education, relationship or for self-improvement”.

Yeah – that’s what I thought….bullshit….. a load of great words strung together but what does it really mean?

And perhaps you have had a PDP before and it didn’t really work, cos you’re still stuck where you were 2 years ago…or 5…or 20!

Well, let’s have a look at what’s wrong with most Personal Development Plans.

Firstly – and the clue is in the word here – most Personal Development Plans are developed by someone else.  Perhaps you have worked for a company which used PDP’s and your boss or someone from HR sat down with you to go through your PDP – which THEY had created.  Well, they might have had the best intentions in the world, but that should really be called a job development plan, because THAT plan will have been for THEIR benefit i.e. to make you better at your job in a way that suited the needs of the business.

The clue is in the name – it’s a PERSONAL development plan, and the PERSON that should be developing that is YOU.

Another common problem I see with other PDP’s is Faking Progress, maybe you’ve heard the term “fake it till you make it”.  Especially common in the case of a plan developed by someone else as above, but can also be found when working with a rookie coach or mentor.  This is where you are kidding yourself or others that you have made progress.  You want to lose weight for example, and you have made progress by reading lots of articles about losing weight.  You are more concerned about looking good in the eyes of someone else (your coach, boss, HR) than in actually committing to and achieving your goals.  Probably in the case of my first point, because they are not actually YOUR personal goals.

Another issue I see in the world of Personal Development is, that there is a huge emphasis on “being productive”.  Now that might be the ‘be all and end all’ at work, and it is certainly important to ‘DO stuff’ however, working longer and harder or just putting more hours in is not really the answer in most cases.  Sometimes personal development means doing the opposite of that.  Sometimes it means taking more time out, sitting in quiet contemplation, meditating, spending more time with family and friends.

Because here is something I can guarantee you – when you die you won’t have “I wish I had worked harder” written on your gravestone.  Personal development does not equal ‘work harder’.  I know that anyone who knows me will now be thinking something along the lines of …hang on a minute Cheryl, you’re always on the go, constantly in action and whilst that is true to some extent because I love what I do it doesn’t feel like work and I don’t actually live my life on Facebook so you don’t see the Cheryl meditating, sleeping, having facials, reading and having “me” time, because it is just that “me” time (you know I love you and I’ll give you all my energy when we are together but this lady needs time to recharge her batteries some time!).

One fundamental problem that I don’t see other Personal Development Plans addressing is that often having a PDP can create a feeling of anxiousness.   What I mean by that is – many people come into creating their first personal development plan with a sense of low self-esteem.  And if this is not addressed properly (and it rarely is) then once they have “fixed” something, there will always be a new thing to fix.  And therefore, they are never really able to shake their sense of inadequacy.

What I also see is people giving up, because they thought there was some sort of magic formula, which would make their personal growth both linear and easy.  There isn’t and it won’t be.  Listen – you have spent years developing the beliefs and values that got you where you are today, that doesn’t all go away in 5 minutes with a second-rate PDP.

“OK – so what do I do instead Cheryl?” I hear you ask.

I’m glad you asked.

There are a lot of things – but let’s start with my top 6 :-

Firstly, stop looking for the magic bullet (unless it’s one from Ann Summers!!!!) and understand that, like anything worthwhile, your personal growth won’t always be easy and it may not be quick, there may be setbacks along the way, but you don’t have to do it alone, and it WILL be worth it.

Secondly, be careful who you listen to.  There is a lot of great info out there on the internet, but whilst something may sound good, it is not necessarily the right advice for you or given by someone who has walked the walk.  Choose your mentors wisely.

Third – understand that without self-acceptance and self-love, no personal development plan will ever be good enough.  You have to love and accept yourself – right where you are now – or you will never be happy with any improvement and will always be trying to ‘fix’ yourself.

Fourth, don’t just accept someone else’s plan for you and think that’s your PDP.  If you didn’t create it, then it ain’t.

Fifth – be honest with yourself at least.  Don’t pretend you have made progress when you really haven’t.  It is important to know and accept the truth, because if you are consistently faking your progress then it probably means you are not really committed to your goals – which probably means they are the wrong goals so instead of continuing to work on the wrong things, change the plan.

And, finally for today – remember that the key to the phrase ‘Personal Development Plan’ is in the word ‘Personal’.  It needs to be yours and it needs to address YOUR secret desires and needs.  No-one else can or should tell you what it is that you want and need in life.  The true meaning of a personal development plan, and when you will KNOW that you have the right one, is when you make yourself the priority.

Marion & I held our first retreat of 2017, 2 weeks ago and it was a pleasure to see so many women putting themselves first and investing in time for themselves. We had so many moments of realisation and with the tools provided each WHYs Woman left with a plan for them #frickinawesome

Here’s the thing – you don’t have to work this out on your own and you don’t have to do it alone.  Studies show that when you have the support of other like-minded people you are much more likely to achieve your goals, and so why not find us on FB on the FIND Your WHY page where you can learn about the Live Love Laugh Lounge and the Man Cave where our WHYS Women and Men hang out and support each other to follow their dreams.

So whatever you are up to today remember, to Live, Love and Laugh every day and continue to be you in your own unique way.



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