Your personal development and wellbeing definitely does matter!

01 September 2014 | Magazine | Guest Author
Hasn’t time flown - It was just a few months earlier that we were looking at your plans for 2016, and here we are now in May! How has your year been so far? How have you progressed towards achieving your goals? Perhaps they haven’t progressed as you were expecting them to?
Well the great news is you’re by no means alone in this - so firstly before anything, give yourself a moment to breathe. Life is often referred to as a journey, and that’s so true when you think about many aspects of it. What can happen on a journey? Well, sometimes the outlook is bright and sunny, other times it rains heavily. Some days your path ahead will be clear, on other days things beyond control will stall your progress.
Most importantly we are all at different stages! Just as your journey through life is unique, so is your development in terms of education and career progression. It’s undoubtedly personal – that’s why it’s called ‘Personal Development’. Both your personal development and wellbeing are majorly important to you in life, and both are important whatever stage of life you are at.

1. Personal Development

So let’s get the record straight first on what personal development is. Aside from the talents and skills you choose to focus on and build upon, it can also include your aspirations, lifestyle and even your health. Underlining all this is the fact that your personal development is just for you. It isn’t about keeping up with the Jones' - it’s about helping you to identify and develop what you want to achieve and what you need to do to reach those goals.
You may have heard the term ‘PDP’ which businesses use when speaking about employee HR programmes. So what does it mean? Well, it’s a ’Personal Development Plan’ outlining key objectives and a plan of appropriate routes to take in order to help you meet them. The fact that businesses themselves are proactive in this highlights how important personal development is to all of us. Do note that businesses will generally only provide PDP for permanent employees, so if you’re thinking of becoming a temporary employee or contractor (e.g. self-employed) you might want to create your own PDP instead.
A book that I recently came across, which very much highlights not only the importance of developing but also the particular circumstances and timing in each personal case, is the fantastic book called ‘Getting There’ by Gillian Zoe Segal. Some of the key points included in this fantastic book include ‘understanding your strengths and weaknesses can take a long time, but it’s one of the most important things to do in life’ and ‘you don’t have to be good at everything to be successful’ (Segal, 2015). Segal uses case studies from significant public figures including Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffett, and Craig Newmark to illustrate her points. The book gives the reader a brilliant insight into the many challenges that these figures have faced and how they have overcome them to become some of the most successful individuals globally. 
One of the most well-known composers throughout the film industry is Hans Zimmer, whose life has taken him on a remarkable journey. He was just 6 years old when his father died, and his mother was not only devastated by it - but worried as to how they'd get by. He just wanted to make his Mum smile again - after such a distressing time in life so he decided to take up the piano. As they lived far away from others and didn’t have a television; Hans carried on playing the piano and took great refuge in it. He has since become a globally renowned composer, producing music for over 150 films.
David Boies is another inspiring example. He was initially described as being ‘slow in reading’ before being diagnosed with dyslexia. However, at age 13 he developed public speaking skills and became a better listener. As a result he has become a highly successful lawyer benefitting from the fact that he rarely has to refer to his notes while in court.
For many of you who are just about to graduate or are searching for your first graduate level role, there will be many challenges ahead. Creating a plan to help you expand the skills you want to build upon will undoubtedly help you progress.


2. Wellbeing does matter

Mental HealthWhichever stage you are at, your wellbeing is of major importance throughout your life. Before you start saying “But I go to the gym already!” wellbeing isn’t just our physical health, but also mental health. Your university may have given you information on mental health and wellbeing; if so it will be just as relevant once you graduate. The Mental Health Awareness Week is during this month on 16th – 22nd May, and the Mental Health Foundation have fantastic info on this at their website . Maybe you’re currently at a brilliant time of achievement in your life and you could be a great inspiration and support to others needing support to help lift them up from a challenge that has occurred on their journey in life? Often just by sharing inspiration and motivation with others, this can be so invaluable to encourage many people from something that has been causing them a traffic jam on their journey in life. Alongside personal development, taking care of wellbeing is also of paramount importance – and how ironic to think that the word ‘care’ is at the start of the word ‘career’.
We are individual, and we are also inspired by others...keep progressing forward into opportunities and also keep care of your wellbeing too - it could be that others are inspired by your story!

For reviews and to order ‘Getting There’ by Gillian Zoe Segal
click here


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