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Why you need a personal development plan

Uncategorized Jul 19, 2019

Claire Laughlin here, and I want to talk to you today about the amazing practice of building a personal development plan.

First, what is a personal development plan?

In this context, I’m talking about a plan that YOU generate that helps you focus on something you want to learn, WHY it’s important to you, and how you’re going to get there.

That’s it.

It doesn’t have to be formal, and it needn’t be extensive or expensive…But simply developing this plan, and then sticking to it, can be profoundly beneficial.

It will help you…

  • Stay in charge of your career
  • Contribute at a higher level
  • Create more choices for yourself
  • Make good use of your time
  • Be focused
  • And feel a sense of achievement from all of the things you are already learning


Let me tell you how I came to believe this…

I’ve always enjoyed learning new things. It’s part of my DNA. 

But For a long time, I believed that taking time for learning was NOT a crucial aspect of my job.


Somehow, I fell into the trap of believing that my job was simply to “produce”

Produce. Produce. Produce.


I was measured not necessarily by the QUALITY of my work, but by the QUANTITY. So I believed that if I wasn’t bringing in the contracts, and churning out the curriculum as fast as possible that I was somehow not doing it right. That I was failing my employer or my clients.


I’m not sure how I got this idea… no one ever told me directly that I wasn’t allowed to spend some of my time learning, but there are only so many hours in a day and I needed all those hours to hit my numbers.


So- I focused on production, and not on learning new things so I could DO better and BE better.

I didn’t have a development plan.


And, I started to feel like a cog in a machine.

Produce. Produce. Produce.


My world became about checking boxes on my to-do lists… NOT about creating and building and growing.


  • In a job, you produce.
  • In a career, you grow.
  • In a calling, you BUILD.


So- if you want to have more than just a job, you should be thinking about growing and building - yourself.



That time period (before I understood that learning was my responsibility) was frankly depressing, and I got seriously disengaged from my work. 


In fact- feeling like a cog in a machine is a recipe for burnout…

  • No meaning in your job.
  • No passion. 
  • Just production.


Can you feel this? Has this ever happened to you?


Luckily, I figured out what was wrong.


I remembered that I am a BUILDER and CREATOR! That is where I get my zest!! When I am learning and sharing, I am in my happy place!


So, I looked at my work week, and realized that I couldn’t give up anything I was doing at the time…I wasn’t going to magically have extra hours in the week to sit and read a book.

 But since it was sorely missing from my life, I decided to dedicate time on the weekends for learning.


I read a book a month and spent a few hours every weekend doing creative work…

 And life started perking up!

  • I started to get energized about my job once again.
  • I started having fresh ideas and passing those along to my clients.


And then something amazing happened!


The contracts started coming in faster. Bigger contracts. Better jobs. Clients who were excited to work with me too!

I had more to give, and I was getting that back in spades.

And, I had the luxury of making choices about my work and which jobs felt best for me to take.


Before all of this, If you had asked me if I had time for learning something new, I would have said “definitely not. I have no more time in the day.”


But now, after living the results of making this change, I realize that the benefits of being proactive about my learning, (about “sharpening the saw” as Covey would say,) are so dramatic, that NOT having a learning plan is an act of self-sabotage.


Here’s how to do it..

1) Think about something you are wanting to improve, or something you are simply interested in.

2) Think about different ways you can learn more…

  • Is it by reading books? 
  • Watching videos? 
  • Taking an online course?
  • Finding a mentor?
  • Or some combination of all of these things?

(I’ve done all of those things, and personally, I love a combination.)


3) Then set yourself a goal.

  • Maybe it’s a book a month, or one online course to get you started.
  •  Maybe it’s lunch with a mentor this quarter, or observing someone who is really good at what you are trying to learn.

4) Write it down!

5) And then write down what you think you will gain from having done it.

  •  It could be as simple as gaining the satisfaction of learning.
  •  It could be that you can share resources with others.
  • It could be that one specialized skill will save you a lot of time, or help you get an edge, or just experience more joy.

Any reason that works for you, is good enough.


6) Now- the final step. Share it with someone else. Make a public commitment to your learning plan, and follow through!!!


Now, hit reply and let me know what you’re excited to learn. I can’t wait to hear it!


See you next week!


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