As we progress through the beginning of 2023, it’s a good time to evaluate your career progress and think about how you can take it to the next level. An effective way to achieve this is by creating a plan for personal and professional development so you can reach your personal and career goals. Here are some steps you can take to develop a plan that will help you grow your career in the coming year:
Start with a self-assessment
Reflect on your current skills, interests, and values. Identify your strengths and areas where you need improvement. This will give you a clear understanding of what you have to offer and where you want to focus your efforts.
At Aim Higher Training we have developed a series of free online courses aimed at working through a series of self-assessment exercises. Register for our Aim Higher Training Academy and start working through our course Spotlight on Personal Growth and start to assess your strengths, skills, and areas for development.
Understand your Skills
Understand what you’re good at and what you’re not so good at. You will be able to identify areas where you need to focus your attention to help you grow your career.
When thinking about your skills and areas of strengths, it is important, to be honest with yourself and to take a holistic view of your abilities. This means considering not just your technical skills, but also your soft skills, such as communication, problem-solving, and teamwork.
One way to identify your strengths is to reflect on your past experiences and accomplishments. Think about the tasks and projects that you have excelled at and the feedback that you have received from colleagues, supervisors, and mentors. Another way is to ask someone who has worked closely with you in the past, they can be able to provide you with an objective perspective on your strengths.
Once you have identified your strengths, you can use these to inform your development plan. For example, if you have strong project management skills, you may want to seek out opportunities to lead projects or take on more responsibility in your current role. If you have strong communication skills, you may want to consider taking on a role that involves more public speaking or writing.
It’s also important to remember that there’s always room for improvement, so you should continue to identify areas where you would like to develop further. Reflect on the areas where you have struggled or received negative feedback and set goals for yourself to improve in these areas.
Finally, make notes on the information you have gathered, and make sure to track your progress and celebrate your achievements as you work towards your development plan. This will help you stay motivated and focused on your goals and will also serve as evidence of your progress when you are ready to take on new opportunities or roles.
Identify your Interests
Understand what motivates you. This will help you identify job roles that align with your interests and passions and that you would enjoy working in.
Understanding your interests and what motivates you is a key step in achieving personal and professional fulfillment. Your interests and motivations are the driving forces behind your career choices, the activities you participate in, and the goals you set for yourself.
To understand your interests, it can be helpful to reflect on the activities and hobbies that you enjoy in your free time. What do you find yourself drawn to? What activities make you lose track of time? What are your passions? Once you have a clear understanding of your interests, you can start exploring ways to incorporate them into your professional and personal life.
Another way to understand your interests is by trying new things and experimenting. This can help you to discover new passions and hobbies that you may have never considered before. You can try new activities and hobbies, attend networking events or volunteer for organisations whose missions align with your values.
Once you have a clear understanding of your interests, you can start exploring what motivates you. What drives you to take action? What are the things that get you excited and energised? Understanding your motivations can help you to set goals that align with your values and passions, and to identify the types of roles, projects, and opportunities that will be most satisfying to you.
It’s also important to remember that your interests and motivations can change over time, so it’s important to regularly check in with yourself and reassess what matters to you. Your priorities and goals may shift as you travel through your life and your friendship and peer groups change depending on where you are at any particular point in life. Keep an open mind and be willing to adapt and make changes as needed.
Understanding your interests and what motivates you is essential to achieving personal and professional fulfillment. Reflect on your interests and motivations, try new things and experiment, and set goals that align with your values and passions. Remember that your interests and motivations can change over time and be open to making changes as needed.
Assess your Values
Understanding your values is something many of us don’t take the time to truly reflect on but it’s an essential step in identifying the type of companies, teams, and roles that align with your moral compass. Your values are the principles that guide your actions and decisions, and they play a crucial role in shaping your personal and professional identity.
To understand your values, it can be helpful to reflect on the things that are most important to you. What are your core beliefs? What causes or issues do you feel passionate about? What are your non-negotiables? Consider what you are willing to stand up for and what you are not willing to compromise on.
Another way to understand your values is by seeking feedback from others. Ask friends, family, or colleagues what they think your values are. Their perspectives may be different from yours and it can give you a new insight into your values.
Once you have a clear understanding of your values, you can use this information to identify the type of companies, teams, and roles that align with your moral compass. Consider what values are important to you and charitable support seek out organisations and roles that share those values. For example, if community service is an important value to you, you may want to seek out roles or companies that have a strong community outreach or volunteer program.
It’s also important to remember that values can evolve over time, and what aligns with your moral compass today may not align with it tomorrow. Keep an open mind and be willing to adapt as your values and priorities evolve.
We recommend Simon Sinek’s great TED Talk on Building your Life on Values to provide some guidance on how to think about your own set of values.
Develop a Plan
Once you have a clear understanding of your skills, interests, and values, you can start to develop a plan to help you achieve your career goals. Identifying specific steps you need to take is an important step in turning your aspirations into reality.
One of the first steps you can take is to identify the skills you need to acquire or improve to achieve your goals. For example, if you want to advance in your current field, you may need to pursue additional education or certifications to gain the necessary knowledge and skills. If you’re considering a career change, research the skills and qualifications required for your desired field.
Another step you can take is to network with people in your field. Connect with professionals in your industry and seek their advice and mentorship. Attend networking events, join professional organisations, and participate in online communities to build relationships and learn more about the industry.
You can also take on new responsibilities at work. Seek out opportunities to take on more challenging tasks, lead projects, or take on additional responsibilities. This can help you to gain new skills and experiences, and to demonstrate your ability to take on new roles and responsibilities.
Set goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) and track your progress. Review your progress regularly and adjust your plan as needed.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to people you trust and respect, whether it’s a mentor, a friend, or a career coach, for guidance and support and to help you keep on track with your actions plans and hold you to account. Remember, achieving your career goals is a journey, and you don’t have to do it alone.
Use our free online course Spotlight on Making a Plan to start drafting out your plan of action
Find a Mentor
Finding a mentor who has the experience and knowledge in the field you want to grow in can be a valuable addition to your career development journey. A mentor can provide guidance, feedback, and advice, which can help you navigate the challenges and opportunities that come with growing your career.
To find a mentor, start by identifying potential mentors in your field. Look for individuals who have the experience and knowledge you want to gain, and who have a reputation for being approachable and helpful. Consider reaching out to professionals you admire, have worked with in the past, or have connected with through networking events or online communities.
When reaching out to potential mentors, make sure to be clear about your goals and what you hope to gain from the mentorship. Be respectful of their time and be prepared to discuss your interests, goals, and current challenges.
Once you have found a mentor, be sure to communicate effectively. Set clear goals for the mentorship and schedule regular check-ins. Be open and honest about what you need and be prepared to take action on the advice and feedback your mentor provides.
It’s also important to remember that mentorship is a two-way street. Be prepared to offer value to your mentor as well. Share your own insights, experiences, and knowledge, and be willing to help your mentor with their own goals and projects when you can.
Having a plan is only the first step in achieving your career goals. It’s important to act on the plan and execute it. This means taking time to actively pursue the steps outlined in your plan and making the necessary changes in your daily habits and schedule.
One of the most important things you can do is to make your plan a priority. Set aside dedicated time each week to work on your plan, and make sure that you are taking the necessary steps to achieve your goals. This might mean taking classes, attending networking events, or taking on new responsibilities at work.
Another important step is to be proactive and take initiative. Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you, seek them out. Look for ways to get involved and make a difference in your field. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to take risks.
It’s also important to be flexible and adaptable. As you act on your plan, you may encounter unexpected challenges or opportunities. Be willing to adjust your plan as needed, and to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise.
It’s also important to keep a record of your development journey so you can reflect on the actions your take, and the new things you learn, track your progress and celebrate your achievements. This will help you stay motivated and focused on your goals and will also serve as evidence of your progress when you are ready to take on new opportunities or roles.
Remember that your career is not a one-time event, it is a journey, and this journey can take many forms. However, by following these steps and creating a plan, you will be on your way to achieving your career goals in 2023.
Check out our blog post on How to take on your own Personal Development Challenge in 2023
and if you feel you need some support with your 2023 personal and career development journey please get in touch for a free discovery call.