building a personal development plan

Success never just happens. It may show up in a moment but it takes a series of moments to cultivate. It’s like the marriage that falls apart. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say, “My marriage fell apart last night.” My response? No it didn’t. It may have shown up last night but you’ve been working at wrecking that marriage for a long time. In light of that principle, this is a time of year that I try to do some reflection and evaluation on what I’m cultivating in my life, how it’s affecting people around me, and where what I’m cultivating is leading me. Some of this stuff comes natural to me, some of it has been formed into me through painful experiences, and some has come through coaches speaking into my life. It’s not exhaustive or infallible, and I hope that it improves over time, but it’s a process that works for me. Here is a list of categories that I use to evaluate…

1. Spiritual Disciplines:

I have a tendency to view life as seasons and moments as opposed to striving for equilibrium and balance. So in light of that, what is needed in my life right now and in this next season? Prayer, Bible reading, Scripture memory, fasting, solitude, writing, personal evangelism, etc.

2. Bible Content:

What do I need to dig into? Do I have a Bible reading plan for this next year? Is there a topic that I need to hit, a word study or character study I need, or a particular book of the Bible I need to live in?

3. Marriage:

Am I dating my wife? What is our level of relational intimacy? Am I investing in and leading her well? Am I continuing to discover who she is and love her well?

4. Family:

Are we having fun? Are we staying on course with our family mission statement and values?

5. Physical Habits:

Am I physically healthy? Am I taking care of my body? How are my eating habits, am I exercising on a regular basis? Am I happy or content with this area of my life and how is it affecting everything else?

6. Leadership:

Am I growing as a leader? Where am I going, and who is going with me? Am I leveraging my influence well? Am I making good decisions? Am I serving the needs of the organization and the people in the organization well?

There are four areas that I like to use to address these areas of evaluation in a concrete planned out manner. Remember if you don’t write it down, schedule it into your calendar, and evaluate it periodically then it probably isn’t going to happen.

1. Resources:

What books, articles, blogs, and talks do I need to plan on reading and listening to in order to wrestle with new ideas, challenge my thinking, or sure up weak areas?

2. Time:

How do I need to spend my time this year to be most effective? What drains me, wastes my time, and would be best if I simply stop doing?

3. People:

What people do I need to spend time with? Who do I need to allow the right to speak into my life on a regular basis? Who do I need to visit with face to face to learn from?

4. Experiences:

What experiences do I need to have this next year to push me to grow? What do I need to schedule, where do I need to go, and how do I need to set the table for these experiences to happen?

Posted in Leadership

One Response to “building a personal development plan”

  1. Zach LaValley December 12, 2010 at 8:46 am #

    Great, great content.

    I’m working on my own development plan right now. I try to do one every year, and then often lose track of it at about the 6-month mark.

    I like what you said about growing in shifts and seasons instead of trying to find perfect balance all the time. It makes sense. Maybe I’m going to read Genesis all year round. It doesn’t mean I’m unbalanced for not reading Exodus-Revelation. It’s a season. Yeah… I like that.

    I would also add the importance of being specific and measurable in your development plan. If you want to grow in your marriage you might write it like, “Go on a creative date every other Wednesday at 6 PM with budget of 25 dollars per week.” Being concrete and measurable is paramount, wouldn’t you say?

    Anyway, good stuff. I recently blogged about this topic too. Check it out if you’d like. http://bit.ly/dEe1Gx

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