PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT


Personal development is a lifelong process. It is a way for people to assess their skills and qualities, consider their aims in life and set goals in order to realise and maximise their potential.

So better you to identify the skills you need to set life goals which can enhance your employability prospects, raise your confidence, and lead to a more fulfilling, higher quality life. Plan to make relevant, positive and effective life choices and decisions for your future to enable personal empowerment.

Although early life development and early formative experiences within the family, at school, etc. can help to shape us as adults, personal development should not stop later in life.

This page contains information and advice that is designed to help you to think about your personal development and ways in which you can work towards goals and your full potential.

‘Personal Development’ and ‘Personal Empowerment’ are two areas that overlap and interweave, so it is recommended that you may CLICK HERE to read our writting about PERSONAL EMPOWERMENT!

Why is Personal Development Important?

There are many ideas surrounding personal development, one of which is Abraham Maslow’s process of self-actualisation.

Self-Actualisation

Maslow (1970) suggests that all individuals have an in-built need for personal development which occurs through a process called self-actualisation.

The extent to which people are able to develop depends on certain needs being met and these needs form a hierarchy.  Only when one level of need is satisfied can a higher one be developed.  As change occurs throughout life, however, the level of need motivating someone’s behaviour at any one time will also change.

  • At the bottom of the hierarchy are the basic physiological needs for food, drink, sex and sleep, i.e., the basics for survival.
  • Second are the needs for safety and security in both the physical and economic sense.
  • Thirdly, progression can be made to satisfying the need for love and belonging.
  • The fourth level refers to meeting the need for self-esteem and self-worth. This is the level most closely related to ‘self-empowerment’.
  • The fifth level relates to the need to understand. This level includes more abstract ideas such as curiosity and the search for meaning or purpose and a deeper understanding.
  • The sixth relates to aesthetic needs of beauty, symmetry and order.
  • Finally, at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy is the need for self-actualisation.

Maslow (1970, p.383) says: “….all individuals have the need to see themselves as competent and autonomous, also that every person has limitless room for growth….”

Self-actualisation refers to the desire that everybody has ‘to become everything that they are capable of becoming’. In other words, it refers to self-fulfilment and the need to reach full potential as a unique human being.

For Maslow, the path to self-actualisation involves being in touch with your feelings, experiencing life fully and with total concentration.

Managing Your Personal Development

There are a number of steps to take in managing your personal development.

1. Developing a Personal Vision

Personal development can simply be for fun. Most of us, however, find it easier to motivate ourselves to learn and improve if we have a purpose in doing so. Developing your personal vision – a clear idea of where you want to be in a few months or years, and why – is a crucial part of developing this purpose.

2. Planning Your Personal Development

Once you are clear about where you want to be, you can start planning how to get there. Drawing up a personal development plan is not essential, but it does make the planning process more realistic.

3. Starting the Improvement Process

There are a number of different ways in which you can learn and develop.

4. Recording Your Personal Development

It is often a good idea to keep a record of your personal development. By writing down key developments in your learning and development as and when they occur, you will be able to reflect on your successes at a later date.

5. Reviewing and Revising Personal Development Plans

Learning is a cycle, so for more effective learning, it is important to reflect on your experience, and consider what you have learnt from it. Regularreview of your personal development plans, and your development activities, will ensure that you learn from what you have done. It will also ensure that your activities continue to move you towards your goals, and that your goals or vision remain relevant to you.

ANYWAY, kwa ufupi, when it comes to doing something, planning what you intend to do is essential. Writing down what you want is the first step. It’s no different when it comes to your personal self development. Plan for it. Keep it brief and monitor what happens. Write down the results in a diary. Writing down what you want and what you get clarifies your thought process and cements your intention.

You are allowed to change or adjust your plan whenever you wish. If there is no success as you follow the steps in your plan, that’s your signal to review what you have done or to adjust your plan.

SO, heres some ‘ujanja’ to consider for your self development plan

1. Start Now
Remember, “MAISHA ni LEO”, so do something about your personal development plan today. It’s going to take some time to achieve lasting change so you need to start now. You can build on what you do today, tomorrow. Don’t become a pro at crastination! 😉

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
– Abraham Lincoln

2. Baby Steps
To make a plan you need to include steps. Break a large goal into it’s smallest components. Keep the end result in mind as you focus on the smaller bite sized steps.

3. Learn From Other People
You can gain from the success of other people and you can learn from their mistakes. Your own experience is a harsh teacher so learn from the mistakes of others. If you can find a mentor or coach your task will be easier. Read as many books as you can. Here’s my top 20 books to help you maximize your personal self development plan.

If you can’t afford to buy books or don’t want to spend the money borrow them from the library or do what I did when I was a ‘wendawazimu’… I would hang out in the bookstore, read as much as I could from a book, remember the page number I was on and then the next day go back and finish….lakini today kila sehemu kina internet. So?

4. Embrace Change
The world is changing all the time. Even if you do nothing you will change by default as the world turns. There is no escape from this. If people and ideas didn’t change we would all still be living in caves.

Your personal self development plan needs to include how you are going to change, what action will you take? Only action leads to results.  “I see better than I hear” comes to mind here.

5. Be Accountable

You are responsible for your own progress. You are responsible for what you are today and where you are today.

That means it’s your job to initiate the steps involved in your personal development plan. If you don’t bother, no one else will. It also means you own the result and no one else is to blame. Buck stops here!

6. Be Grateful & Recognize Your Worth
Focus on what you already have.  Think about how others benefit from what you do. If you improve yourself, those benefits will increase. Your personal development is for others, as well as for you.

7. Be Intentional
Whatever you intend becomes your reality. Find your true intention before you resolve to do something and make sure you really want what you say you want. If your goal and your intention are not aligned, then you’ll think up lots of excuses and all sorts of situations to prevent your progress.

personal self development

8. Challenge Yourself
Your goals need to be just out of reach. If you reach for an impossible target, you’re setting yourself up for a failure. If you stick to what’s easy, you’re denying yourself the satisfaction of achievement and only minimal change will occur. Find that middle ground with a stretch goal in your personal self development.

9. Follow Your Passion
It’s no good doing things that you don’t like. Chose actions that appeal to you and are in line with your values. Click here for a video on values and you’ll see how to align them with your self development plan.

Pick people to help you that you like being around. Make sure you’re following your heart while not running from the hard issues.  Become a Master in the Art of Living where people can’t tell if you’re working or playing because, to you, you’re always doing both!

10. Keep Going & NEVER Give Up
Life works in cycles and moves to a rhythm. You will have up and downs. When you hit a slow point or things don’t seem to be moving, don’t give up, keep going. There is no such thing as continual rapid advancement and that means your personal development plan needs to be achievable and balanced. Find your rhythm and go with the flow. There’s no such thing as finished personal self development. You can go on learning, changing and renewing for all of your life.