Personal Development Plan - Part 3

Postby Lyndsay Swinton » Thu Oct 02, 2003 6:56 pm

Phase 2 – Use the Project YOU Personal Development Planning Template.
Read through all steps in the process, have a good look at the example completed plans, and then get busy doing your own plan!

Step 1 – Focus Areas

Now you are ready to use the Project YOU personal development planning template. Fill in your focus area(s) - remember there is a maximum of 3.

Step 2 – Where are you now?
Fill in the “now” column for each focus area. This is a brief summary of where you are now, and will be a mixture of feedback you gained from other people and your own thoughts.

For example, if your focus area is presentation skills, then it may be that your “now” statements are “blush, feel faint, stumble over words”.

Step 3 – Where will you be?
If you could go to bed tonight and wake up with your problem solved, what will that be like? Write your answer down as your “will be” statement.
This is a brief summary of where you will be when you have achieved your goal. These statements need to be something concrete as it much easier to achieve something by doing it rather than not doing it.

For example, instead of “not feeling bad after presentations”, write “feel content I’ve done the best job I can”. If you are actively looking for signs of feeling bad after a presentation, you can bet that you will find them, even if it was you’re best presentation!

Step 4 – How known?
There is a close link between step 3 and step 4, so there may be some repetition between the two areas. To keep it simple, the “how known” is there to help you measure your progress.

Some things are easy to quantify, e.g. your monthly bank balance can be a measure of how you are progressing with developing your financial skills, however some things take a bit more creative thought. For example, how do you measure improvements in your confidence? A trick to use is to create your own scale.

:wink: Top Tip - If your “now” situation is that you feel 0/10 confident when presenting (0 is low, 10 is high), then your measure may be the “score” each time you present. Ultimately, you may only want to move from 0 to 3 or all the way from 0 to 8 or 9 – that is your decision, the key thing is that you have broken down the task into something that is achievable and measurable.

You are much more likely to succeed when you break down the improvements into achievable chunks. So, you may get to 1/10 after your next presentation – you’ve still got some way to go but you’re going in the right direction. We often set ourselves up to fail by having unrealistic expectations (e.g. being instantly great at presenting) and beating ourselves up when we don’t meet them.

If your focus area is presentation skills, then your “will be” or “how known” statements maybe “other people tell me I look confident, I hear my voice being calm and clear whilst answering questions”. A way to help you come up with this is to use “see”, “hear” or “feel” statements. Take some time to think this through and elaborate on the detail – this is an excellent way of increasing your success rate. This is similar to the “positive affirmations” approach, however the key difference is that you will actively be working on developing skills and building experience and not just “thinking” your way to improvement.

A personal example relates to my presenting skills, or rather lack of them! Like a lot of graduates, my business skills upon leaving university were way behind my academic ability. The corporate graduate training scheme I was on, luckily, included a communication skills course, with the main focus on presentation skills.

I was pretty bad – bright red, talking too fast, fidgeting and flapping my hands around. :oops: And to make things worse, all of this was captured on video! This felt like presentation boot camp, but the tutors wisely helped me to break up my improvement efforts and focus on one thing at a time.

At the next presentation, I had to hold my hands together and to speak very slowly. Still a grim presentation however my audience were not exhausted and more importantly I was a lot calmer after the event.

My skills and confidence were gradually built up in this way to the point 6 months later, I was able to present on behalf of the company to over 200 undergraduates about life in the company. And they even laughed at my jokes! :D

Step 5 – Activities and resources
Get creative. Imagine you were advising your friend on what things they should try. Write those down! There is a wealth of information in the Uncommon Knowledge web site.

There will be a range of activities and resources out there, ready and waiting to take you in the right direction. It may be a mix of self-study, learning from others, formal training and “on the job” experiences. You will know best what suits you, your lifestyle, and your budget!

Step 6 – When?
You have gone to great lengths to figure out what you should focus on, what your goals are and how you are going to achieve them. But when? Be realistic about your time commitments and make some adjustments to the plan (or to your life!) if necessary. Treat your personal development as a serious commitment and give it the priority it deserves.

Plan time in your diary for specific activities as you would a regular appointment. If you must make changes, re-schedule for a later date. Also, schedule some dates to review your plan and check your progress.

Step 7 – Reward?
You may like to include a series of rewards as you make progress and achieve mini-goals. It can be as simple as a special coffee and cake after you make that critical presentation. For some people, the improvement is reward enough and no extra incentives are required!

:wink: Top Tip - People who want to quit smoking are often encouraged to put the money they would have spent on cigarettes into a piggy bank, and spend the money on something great.

Well that's enough for today :shock: I don't know about you but I'm exhausted after reading all that. As ever, please post your feedback, thoughts or comments about this subject.


Personal Development Plan Part 4
Lyndsay Swinton
Posts: 285
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2003 7:08 am
Location: Oban, Scotland
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