Personal Development Plan

Working out a plan of attack

If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you’re there?

If you don’t know what steps it’ll take to get there, how will you know whether you’re making progress?

Working out a plan of attack for our career is something that many of us simply don’t do. In fact, arguably some women are so busy being brilliant at their day job, performing it to the best of their ability, that they forget to look at the bigger picture.

This situation is an example of putting your job ahead of your career. Yes, by all means fulfil your current role effectively – but what’s the game plan? What’s the bigger picture? What’s the long term goal?

Often, talking about the upwards steps on the corporate ladder may be too simplistic – rather than straightforward rungs, your professional career may take twists and turns, especially if career breaks or periods of stepping off the hamster wheel are factored in somewhere along the line.

Personal Development Plan


'I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.'

I read a great piece in Forbes online recently proposing 4 phases of women’s careers:

  • 20s – Ambition: A decade of learning, exploring, growth, independence, and no dependents
  • 30s – Culture Shock: Where career potential and parenting crash into today’s corporate cultures and systems
  • 40s – (Re) Acceleration: Refocusing on career priorities on the foundations built
  • 50+ – Self-Actualization: When empty nesters discover (often to their surprise) their peak career years – and decades

Personal developmentAccording to the article, women’s careers are often a case of balancing the priorities of different life periods  – ambition, desire to be challenged and learn, single and dual career parenting, maximising potential, life milestones, meaningfulness of work, career breaks and re-entering the workplace, flexible working, exploring pastures new, caring responsibilities, fulfilling your own potential.

Often within the prism of corporate culture.

Perhaps the era of Covid-19 will normalise many of the challenges that women already face throughout their careers – flexible working, which has traditionally often negatively impacted on career trajectories, may become the new norm…

Either way, having a Personal Development Plan (PDP), with some strategic thinking involved to stretch the timeframes over which we plan our development, can only be a positive thing. It’s sometimes easier to see the impact of events on our career in the rear view mirror – but having a PDP at least gives you a chance to take control of some of the challenges, steps and actions needed to keep you on your own personal journey.