How do we arrive at the decision to explore professional development? In many cases we don’t choose it at all and in some cases, a leader’s development journey is in their own hands. So, how do you choose your development?

Firefly's Kirsty Maynor reading from an iPad during a workshop session

In this blog, we discuss some of the key considerations for choosing a path of professional and personal development that’s right for you as an individual.

How do we arrive at the decision to explore professional development? In many cases we don’t choose it at all - we’re simply told in our annual performance reviews which areas other people believe we need to develop, whether these are areas where they think we are weak and need to improve, or areas in which we show signs of strength and someone, somewhere thinks we can get even better at. In some cases, a leader’s development journey is in their own hands - they know the path they want to follow and choose a form of professional development that will help them to arrive at that destination. So, how do you choose your development?

Personally, I used to jump from one thing to another, following whichever path seemed the most novel and exciting. That approach took me from Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, through an RSA Trainer’s Award, a Master’s Degree in Organisational Behaviour and ultimately to coach training - all via cooking, patchwork, stained glass, a power-walking marathon and pottery, among other interests. 

Then I started to work with a coach, because I wanted to get really clear on my life purpose, and to understand why it is that I’m on planet Earth in this time and this place. Suddenly, things began to fall into place. I started to listen to my intuition - to my heart as well as my head - and I began to understand that I am already “good enough”. I realised that I didn’t need any more qualifications; what I actually needed was to consciously choose a path of learning to follow. 

These days, my development activity comprises a diverse range of activities, from setting an intention of “surrender” every day for 50 days in order to practise relinquishing control; learning shiatsu massage to be able to bring the gift of touch and balancing energy flow; to really deeply connecting with others who are on similar paths in their lives, so that we can have a greater collective impact. Arguably, the key difference is that I now understand and can explain the choices I’m making, and the bigger purpose they serve in my professional development and personal life.

To summarise, here are some key considerations which I hope will help you in choosing the path of your own personal and professional development. You may never look at a professional development plan in the same way again:

  • Know your bigger purpose: it’s hard to align your development activity unless you do.

  • Choose consciously and intentionally: don’t just stumble into things.

  • Believe that you are already enough: because it will help you to grow and develop as a person. 

  • Recognise that your weaknesses are not the best place to start: you may never get better at things you struggle with, so why not start with your strengths and passions instead?

  • Seek out like-minded souls to travel with: whether from within your organisation / sector, or beyond.

At Firefly, we are well placed to help you with all of the above, whether it’s expanding your horizons through professional training and development, connecting you with other like-minded souls, or helping you really get clear on your bigger purpose.  Get in touch or visit our services page to find out more about what we can do for you, or check out our blog for tips on choosing professional development for organisations.