Personal development courses are an investment in you. They’re an education in how to be the best you can be – in your career and your personal life.
After all, one influences the other. If you’re struggling in your career, it’s bound to carry over to your personal life and vice versa.
And if you’re doing well in your career – your personal life will reap the benefits. As long as you’re not a workaholic, of course!
But there are differences between professional development and personal development courses (or self-development courses).
Professional Development V’s Personal Development
While professional development improves your skills and knowledge in your career, personal development courses aim to develop you as a whole person.
Clayton Jan, a business communication consultant, says it’s not easy to define personal versus professional development.
“You could say they’re not categories but a continuum, from personal development through to professional development.
“Some activities are evidently one or the other and some are a mix of both. What could be professional development for one will be personal development for the other.
“The question is, what is the benefit? Is it for you personally, or for economic reasons? I learned about time management and organisation, for example, as part of preparing for an office reorganisation, rather than for personal development,” says Jan.
Professional development courses build your knowledge and skills in your job. These skills generally don’t carry over to your personal life.
They do enable you to move forward in your career with confidence. A confidence that comes from knowing your skills are in demand.
An example of professional development skills include:
- IT training
- Occupational health and safety knowledge
- Legal expertise
- Health and medical terminology
Personal (Self) Development
Personal development courses concentrate on building skills that are useful in your career and your personal life.
Personal development is about investing in your greatest asset – you. It helps you improve your self-awareness and identify. It also develops your talents to find your true potential, which improves the quality of your relationships and helps you achieve your life goals.
An example of personal development courses include:
- Assertive communication
- Conflict management
- Building emotional intelligence
- Developing a growth mindset
- goal setting
- Organisation and prioritising
- Anger, time and stress management
5 Reasons to Invest in Personal Development
There are five main reasons to study personal development, according to Mr Jan.
- Confidence with others. If you find yourself uncertain of something or missing a skill, you can learn about it and be confident in it, whether that’s for purely personal, social, or work-related reasons.
- Comfortable within yourself. Learning about yourself, what makes you ‘tick’, what your weaknesses are and why, and how to address it or work around it, makes a huge difference in making life comfortable.
- It makes life easier. It gives you tools to cope—you never know when something is going to happen that forces you to deal with a situation you never thought of before. If you’re used to always trying to improve yourself, you are more likely to face those times with a positive mindset.
- It’s fun. I learned Adobe InDesign for work. I learn about astronomy for fun (an appreciation for our environment puts problems into perspective).
- Personal development is a lifetime activity. I knew someone who, in her eighties, decided she wanted to go to Rome and so learned Italian. When I studied French, it was for purely personal enjoyment (and I wanted to do something I couldn’t ‘theorise’ y way through, as a way to learn how to be comfortable being uncomfortable).
“For someone starting out, foundational understanding is useful, for example, time management, work-life balance, organisational skills, communication, and goal-setting.
“I have been doing personal development for so long, I can see that I don’t have a typical list. For example, things like time management, work-life balance, or developing goals are no longer challenges, just things to manage. I am now focussing on leadership and mentoring.”
Professional and Personal Development Are Complementary
Personal development courses and professional development go hand-in-hand, says Mr Jan.
“While professional development focuses on knowledge, skills and techniques, personal development focuses on how you can bring that professional development to bear.”
Professional development can benefit you personally. But personal development has a greater potential to overflow into your personal life, explains Mr Jan, and both should be lifetime activities.
“I was given the opportunity to undertake a 360-degree team assessment. The results were surprising. I was one of the most invested in the enterprise and yet was seen by others as the least invested.
“In response, I undertook a range of development activities in my weak areas, from learning workplace training facilitation to engaging an executive coach.”
The results were impressive, says Mr Jan, including improved relationships, the ability to influence others, network and negotiate. It also set the foundations for future personal and professional growth.
“It also gave me insight into what I can and cannot do. There are some things I am not good at, and I know why. I know myself well enough to make those calls based on information rather than fear.”
Personal Development is Ongoing
Personal development shouldn’t be considered a distinct or occasional activity, but ongoing and part of life, says Mr Jan.
“Seeing a limitation in your capabilities and taking action to either improve it or work around it becomes a normal part of life, and that’s what makes things better over time.”
In a way, it’s Socrates’ dictum, “The unexamined life is not worth living”: we examine ourselves, and improve our quality of life, through undertaking what would be personal development for us.
The Ultimate Self-Development Program
If you’ve been considering personal development courses, take a look at The Ultimate Self-Development Program.
In this comprehensive personal development course, you will enhance your communication, negotiation and organisation skills.
You will also gain the skills and knowledge to manage time, stress, anger and gain critical insight into conflict resolution to manage your relationships – both at work and in your personal life.
You will also learn about a growth mindset and be able to identify a culture that has a growth mindset, and how to develop it in yourself and others for greater personal and professional success.
Discover many professional and personal development courses online and enrolling now – be the best you can be. After all, there’s no time like the present.