What is Personal Development?

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” ~ Carl Gustav Jung

Personal development is a powerful process that can enable deep positive and lasting change to how we see ourselves and the world. With personal development, you can realise your capabilities, unleash your potential, and achieve your goals.

The benefits of personal development include three core areas:

  • Self-awareness. The first step of personal development is self-awareness. The journey of discovery begins with realising who you really are so you can fulfil your true potential.

  • Develops Direction. The process of becoming more in tune with who you are and what you want will create a new belief that you can achieve your goals and be in a better place to make decisions about your future.

  • Motivation & action. Once a clear decision is made, personal development skills can help you stay focused and motivated on the path to achieving your goals.

The purpose of personal development or personal growth is simple to stop, think and decide to be more. The development process involves self-help books, training programmes, meditation, personal journaling, poetry, and painting.

One definition of Personal Development says:

Personal Development is the conscious pursuit of personal growth by expanding self-awareness and knowledge and improving personal skills.

Personal development includes activities that improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, build human capital and facilitate employability, enhance the quality of life and contribute to the realisation of dreams and aspirations.

Personal development is a lifelong process. It’s an essential way of getting you to stop, assess your skills and qualities, consider your aims in life, and set goals in order to realise and maximise your potential.

The concept isn’t limited to self-help but includes formal and informal activities for developing others in various roles, including teachers, guides, counsellors, managers, life coaches and mentors.

When personal development takes place in the context of institutions, it refers to the methods, programmes, tools, techniques, and assessment systems that support human development at the individual level in organisations.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” — Will Durant

At the level of the individual, personal development includes the following activities:

  • Improving self-awareness

  • Improving self-knowledge

  • Building or renewing identity/self-esteem

  • Developing strengths or talents

  • Improving wealth

  • Spiritual development

  • Identifying or improving potential

  • Building employability or human capital

  • Enhancing lifestyle or the quality of life

  • Improving health

  • Fulfilling aspirations

  • Initiating a life enterprise or personal autonomy

  • Defining and executing personal development plans

  • Improving social abilities

The concept covers a wider field than self-development or self-help: personal development also includes developing other people. This may take place through roles such as those of a teacher or mentor, either through a personal competency (such as the skill of certain managers in developing the potential of employees) or a professional service (such as providing training, assessment or coaching).

Beyond improving oneself and developing others, personal development is a field of practice and research. As a field of practice, it includes personal development methods, learning programs, assessment systems, tools, and techniques. As a field of research, personal development topics increasingly appear in scientific journals, higher education reviews, management journals, and business books.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” — George Bernard Shaw

Any sort of development, whether economic, political, biological, organisational or personal, requires a framework if one wishes to know whether a change has actually occurred. In the case of personal development, an individual often functions as the primary judge of improvement, but a validation of objective improvement requires assessment using standard criteria.

Personal development frameworks may include goals or benchmarks that define the end-points, strategies or plans for reaching goals, measurement, and assessment of progress, levels or stages that define milestones along a development path, and a feedback system to provide information on changes.

Personal development frameworks may include goals or benchmarks that define:

  • The endpoints
  • Strategies
  • Plans for reaching goals
  • Measurement
  • Assessment of progress
  • Levels or stages defining milestones along a development path
  • A feedback system to provide information on changes

If you’re ready to develop yourself, both professionally and personally, take a look at our vast range of developmental options. Click HERE to view our personal development courses, or Click HERE to view our Professional Coach Training options, or HERE for Professional NLP Training and HERE for ILM Qualifications.

If you are really new to the idea of Personal Development, then this online course and book set may be perfect for you: Kick Start Your Personal Development. An online self study course with book and journal included.

Two other options that will be of interest to you are: How to Successfully Set & Achieve Goals and NLP: An Introduction – Online Course. 

Key Questions Answered

What is personal development?

Personal development is the process of realising capabilities, unleashing potential, and achieving goals, personally and professionally. You must be willing to pursue the journey of personal growth by becoming more self-aware and learning.

Why is personal development important?

The benefits of personal development are endless. It can help you build confidence, overcome challenges, and conquer aspirations. The key to achieving personal success is to know how to set goals and implement a plan.

How to improve personal development skills?

Finding a way to understand how your behaviours, emotions and motivations work will put you on the right path towards learning the necessary personal development skills. Enlisting in one of our courses or coaching packages listed above is a sure way to begin your personal development journey.

What’s the difference between self-development and personal development?

Personal development focuses on adding new skills and ways of achieving goals in life. Self-development is focussing on improving the things that are already in your life.