If you read my previous post on what personal development is, you’re probably thinking that this is very nice but it doesn’t really give you a starting point. That is why I have a put together the step-by-step guide below to get you started and set the wheels in motion.

Remember that developing yourself is not something you start and finish in an hour, it’s a lifetime process. You might complete the following tasks in one day but you will most likely come back to what you wrote later to update, add or remove things, and adjust your plan. Use it as a reference point.

Start by answering these questions in writing

  • What do you love the most about your current role? The least?
  • What do you do well?
  • What could you improve in your day-to-day?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What could you be better at?
  • What are your core values?
  • What is important to you in life?
  • Why do you work every day?
  • Who is your role model and why?

Highlight the main words of each answer

What are the most important words you used? Is there a common thread? Recurring topics or actions?

Create a summary

Use the words and verbs you highlighted to create a summary of what’s the most important for you.

Now answer another set of questions, this time on your goals

  • What are your medium-term goals (2 to 5 years)?
  • What are you short-term goals (6 months to 1.5 year)?
  • What does success look like for you?
  • How will you know when you are successful?

Transfer all the information into one sheet

The piece of paper should have three columns:
  • Where you are now (what you answered in #1, #2 and #3)
  • The areas of development (leave blank for now)
  • Where you want to be (what you answered in #4)
  1. Start by adding your goals and aspirations in the third column.
  2. In the first column, add where you are now in relation to each goal.
  3. In the second column, add what you will need to do to create a bridge between today and the future you: skills, competencies, experiences, mentoring.

Decide 3 follow-up actions and who you will be accountable to

Being aware of where you are and where you want to go is a great first step. Now take it to the next level by committing to three follow-up actions. What are you going to do about what you wrote in the middle column of #5?

For the three actions, write a description, the time frame you give yourself to complete it and the name of someone you will talk to about it and to whom you will be accountable.

Once you have create the first draft of this plan, give yourself a few days or weeks to adjust it if needed. Remember that this is a long process and not something to rush.