Do you have a personal development plan? Do you even know what a personal development plan is, what does it consist of, and how often is it (or should it) be reviewed? And oh, and by the way – this is NOT a what do you want to be when you grow up type of discussion.
Paul encourages us in Colossians 3:23 with “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
Let’s stop for a minute to consider the implications of this scripture.
Does this mean my personal studies, prayers, family life, hobbies, education, professional career, bible talk, or even leading a bible study? “Whatever you do” certainly encompasses everything we do, not just spiritual, but practical everyday activities as well.
Then there’s the “work with all your heart?” Who sets the standard (for you) when it comes to evaluating if it was done with all your heart? Is it performance based or character based?
That’s a lot of questions and we are only half way through the scripture. But we have to ask ourselves, am I taking this seriously? Have I jotted down any notes? Have I done anything more at this point in the conversation other than just read. Consideration means just that, to stop, to think, and to reflect on how this impacts our lives and how.
Let’s move on, “as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Very few of us own our own companies. If you do, and you don’t have any other employees, your clients are your master. If you employ others, you are the human master and then the question is do you lead as working for the Lord.
Typically though, we work for someone else. We meet their agendas. We jump through all sorts of hoops, so that we can ensure that we are able to earn some money – to what purpose?
Annually, most of us face the opportunity in the way of a performance evaluation, usually created from a well-defined professional development plan. Strengths and weaknesses are identified, and discussions usually stem around areas that need improvement — with emphasis on what are we (the individual) are going to do to strengthen those areas.
But, what about your personal life. What do you want to overcome? What do you want to learn? What do you want to do, and are you willing to do it and bring glory to God?
Consider this, Winston Churchill said ““He who fails to plan is planning to fail.”
Below are several steps you can and should take when creating a personal development plan. But, before we get started let’s look at a couple of scriptures to keep things in perspective:
Get advice on your plan
Live by Principles, not by Rules.
- Psalm 119:30 – I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws.” or Luke 22:42 – “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Are the things you desire in the scope of God’s will?
- Ecclesiastes 7:18 – It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.
- Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
- Your Purpose. Try to avoid giving “just” a religious answer. It needs to be personal.
- Your Dreams. Those far reaching thoughts and hopes that inspire you to action.
- Your Short, Medium and Long Term Goals. Have some goals that can be accomplish in a few months along with multi-year goals. This lets me see measurable progress towards.
- Your Beliefs and Values. What do you stand for? And perhaps, what do you wish your actions showed you stand for? What do you want to be remembered for? Are these separate or included in your goals?
- Your Success and Milestones. As you accomplish goals and dreams, celebrate your successes.
Create a SMART Action Plan
- Specific – are you goals well-defined. Be precise as possible.
- Measurable – Be clear on how you will recognize you achieved your goal. Numbers, Dates, and Times are one way to represent clear objectives.
- Attainable – Goals should be challenging, but they should also be realistic. Get advice and if necessary break “BIG” goals into smaller tasks so you can stay focused better.
- Relevant – You want to be developing into someone you desire to be. If you have a goal that is not related to where you are wanting to go, you might want to re-evaluate your direction.
- Time-Bound – Set a time scale for completion of EACH GOAL. As you review your progress, this will help you in setting priorities and keep you motivated.
It is important that we learn how to live out the Great Commission, and while not losing focus on the first component to “Go to All Nations” – equally important is the “Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Followers of Christ, disciples, should want to have a personal development plan, giving structure, focus, purpose, and ultimately a way to identify and celebrating the hope we have in Christ as we complete and reach our individual milestones.
To God be the glory now and forevermore! – Amen