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Personal Development - What does it mean to you?

What I have discovered is that it is the angle from how it is being looked at, which will alter how personal development is actually defined.

For instance if you are employed, your personal development, regardless if it should be, always seems to be focussed on or around your job, or your potential next position within that company e.g. improving your time management, spreadsheet skills, etc.  Then, is it fair to say that if you are self employed you cannot really have any personal development goals? or do your goals evolve around making yourself better at what you do?

I recently read an article on the train that stated "Personal development is our conscious self-improvement and self-transcendence. It is the aspiration to realise our higher self".  Forgive me, I cannot remember where I found the article as I was skipping from one tube station to the next.  From this aspect it is about making yourself a better person and nothing to do with improving your career skills.

So what does personal development mean to me?

Well, I figure that it encompasses improving myself on a number of levels.   So I have my own goals for example, I thrive on knowledge, I love to learn and from that perspective I have my own personal development goal of improving that knowledge but that is not just to do with my job that is also to do with how I live my life.  All in all it's about aiming to be better in my personal and professional life.

Many years ago I decided I was going to learn how to swim, I took the lessons and I learnt, unfortunately something happened and I've never gone back in the water.  This ultimately is a personal development goal for me but one I am well aware will take me time to achieve, but personal development doesn't have to be about the big things it can also be about the little things.  A few years ago I was unable to poach eggs or make omelettes, I decided that I was going to learn how and bought a book, now they are superb, even if I do say so myself.

So how do you achieve those goals, what keeps you motivated and why bother?

Ultimately how you do it depends on the type of person you are, after all there are no hard and fast rules to say you must do this, unless its driven by your employer.    If you really want to develop personally without outside influence then you will, but I am a firm believer that it doesn't hurt to take a little outside look on what you can achieve. 

If you were asked what personal development goals you had, would you be able to say what they were?  most people struggle to think what they would be, however if you were to look at things you would like to be able to do and they are realistically achievable then why not use them?