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What is a Personal Development Plan?

What is a personal development planIf you want to create a personal development plan that helps you to actually achieve your goals, solid preparation is the answer.

Preparation already starts with your interest in reading this article, so you are already a good step ahead! However, there is a bit more to it.

So, what if I showed you how to use some great preparation techniques to create a powerful personal development plan that guides you along the way to your goals?

A personal development plan – in simple terms

The official Wikipedia answer on the process around the personal development plan is the following: “Personal development planning is 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.” (source).

In my simple terms: “A personal development plan is an action plan that gets you from where you are right now to where you want to be in future. This can incorporate learning hard skills (like project management skills) as well as soft skills (like active listening).”

Is this a bit clearer now?

Is it complicated to create a personal development plan? It can be. Everything can be complicated. For me, it is also a matter of mindset.

…why do we need a personal development plan?

Think of two benefits right now. Ready?

There can be huge benefits, both for you as well as your employer, if everything works out as planned. In case you finish this course as a project management professional, for instance, you can be referred to as the project management expert within your company and be engaged in different interesting projects. Added values for both parties.

In general, there are three types of motivation to create a personal development plan:

  1. A business related formal personal development plan: This can be an action plan linked with an annual interview or an action plan following a training. In terms of motivation, it is important to resonate with the goals, even those suggested by your superior.
  2. A private related motivation, this can be a formal or informal plan. If you intend to become a professional writer within the next ten years, it can be beneficial to do a formal planning.
  3. A combination of the above.

But the question remains, how can you do it?

How to create a powerful personal development plan

When I create a personal development plan, I use the following questions as a guideline to prepare myself best and to make this plan as useful as possible. Otherwise, I risk to lose the red thread. No matter how much motivation I have, without a logic plan, I am not getting very far.

Why do I want to create this personal development plan?

Refer to the top of this article, if you need some tips.

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7 What occurs if the objectives within the personal development plan are not achieved within the agreed period of time due to unforeseeable circumstances?

This will partly depend on the year in question and also the nature of the unforeseeable circumstances. A general rule is that Personal Development Plans (PDPs) should be realistic and focus on the development that can take place in a year but also taking into account that the required development might take a number of years. The non-completion of a PDP should be seen as an exception rather than the norm.

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