Personal Development Needs to Get Personal

Personal Development Needs to Get Personal

This week, I had the pleasure of being invited to a DEI group inside a tech business where I met some amazing ladies thinking about their personal development.

We were talking about our busy lives and all the pressures we have for our time – our partner, kids, family, work…etc.

And me time … often last on the list.

I have often told of how I started playing the piano a few years ago after a lifetime of wanting to learn. Every week, I find time to have a lesson for 45 minutes and typically practice for 15 minutes per day.

A question came up about how I find the time….

I’ll get to that later…

The Lack of Personal in a Personal Development

We all know the power of Personal Development. Most of us have a ‘Personal Development Plan’ (PDP) of sorts….

Some of us have PDPs which our company supports us with.

But how many of us have something ‘personal’ on that list?

Seriously – it’s worth considering!

Our plans are usually developed with our careers and next steps in mind. Rarely do we have PDPs which talk to developing our passions or even developing something which is not for the benefit of our career and is just for our own personal development.


When was the last time you added a personal goal such as?

  • Get Fit / Lose Weight
  • Learn to play an instrument
  • Learn a language
  • Learn how to surf
  • Learn how to buy a house in Italy

With The Great Resignation driving many to reconsider their options of employment, I wonder if the lack of personal in our development plans might be the problem.

Corporate PDPs are based on a path already walked. How to get promoted to the next role, for example.

Are we considering how to be happier, more energised, replenished, and invigorated as well as make more money for our company?

 You Own Your PDP

Let me be clear, this is not our employer’s fault or responsibility. It’s ours.

Accountability to our development is on us. The outcome also belongs to us.

So why are PDPs not personal?

I think we just haven’t got there yet. But it’s certainly coming.

There is a maturity in personal growth which is taking time to develop – and you can see the green shoots of this in what’s happened with The Great Resignation over the past couple of years:

  1.     A basic maturity of personal development is – we write a PDP (typically career-led)
  2.     A more advanced level is we actually spend time on it…!

(You’d be amazed how many people don’t spend time on their development – and yet we get upset about missed opportunities, lack of promotion, slow progress or lost time)

  1.     Finally, the most advanced level for me is a PDP that includes a focus on passions!

I’d say most people I connect with about careers are somewhere between 1 & 2. They have a plan and sometimes they work on the plan.

Rarely are people considering their passions and own development outside of work in the development plan.


Passions Boost Our Energy

Our passions get us out of bed in the morning. They drive effectiveness at work and ultimately our success.

Even if your passion is not your vocation, by spending time on your passion, you will be topping up your energy levels for other times. 

Just like how extraverts need to get into the office every now and then, the trip to the office boosts them for the times working from home.

So, why wouldn’t we include our passions and development of personal items in our PDPs – they are called Personal Development Plans aren’t they?

I think we have just forgotten what these plans are for, which is easily corrected.

Our PDPs are there to help us make progress. Any progress. In whatever we desire as human beings.

Progress fosters success, happiness and motivation.


Make It Personal - Everyday

Great companies are starting to support passions outside of work. But don’t wait for your company.

When you reflect on your achievements, the only judge and jury should be you. You are the key to making things happen.

Take 2 urgent actions from this article:

1)    Make It Personal

Add something to your PDP which is about you. Your passions. Something which gives you energy. Whether at work or not (ideally).

Fill your cup.

2)    Prioritise the Personal – Weekly

Make this personal development your priority. 

As they say, apply your oxygen mask first. Without your motivation and energy, everything will be hard.

Take time for you.

So, how do I make time for me and my piano?…I make time. The piano takes priority. And in my last exam, I achieved a distinction.

Be invested in your development. Your Personal Development. Make time. Fill your cup. 


Investment in yourself is always well spent.


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