Personal development is a series of educational opportunities that help you become the person you’ve always wanted to be. When you start developing professionally, the focus is on becoming the best employee, entrepreneur, freelancer, or executive within your preferred career field.
Although most people use personal and professional development interchangeably, each process has a different starting point.
With personal development, the primary focus is typically on social and mental skill improvement. You might work on your emotional wellbeing, reduce negative thought patterns, or set relationship goals. These processes help you become comfortable as an individual while interacting with others.
Professional development focuses on improving the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in your preferred current or future working environment.
What Can I Expect with Personal and Professional Development?
Although personal and professional development has some crossover, you’ll find that the efforts to develop as a person have a much more significant impact professionally than the other way around.
That’s because your personal development can enhance professional activities. If you measure how good you are at a job, that skill doesn’t necessarily reflect your ability to form a social relationship.
You can break down the specific skills that personal and professional development efforts generate through the following examples.
|Examples of Personal Development Outcomes||Examples of Professional Development Outcomes|
Although personal and professional development is equally important when compared side-by-side, an individualized focus on these specific outcomes can let you know which option should be your current priority.
When Should I Focus on Personal or Professional Development?
Most people focus on personal development each day. Although it doesn’t feel like you’re training yourself with a daily routine and schedule, those efforts improve time management, motivation, and emotional wellbeing simultaneously.
When you think about your professional development opportunities, they are also available each day. The skills that you use for employment get practiced daily. Whether you type, install plumbing, drive trucks, or manage people, you undergo skill-based situations that improve how you function with each shift or assignment.
The issue that people face today is how their personal and professional development can blend into one set of tasks instead of two.
How often do you check your work email at home when you’re no longer on the clock? Are you thinking about your job responsibilities when you’re trying to relax?
What about your personal social media usage when you’re at the office? Do you run errands at home later when there is an upcoming project due?
We must find ways to separate the personal and professional development requirements to keep stress levels down and happiness up.
If you are always working, you’re neglecting the personal development you need. When you think about what happens at home or after work more than the responsibilities you’ve been hired to fulfill, the opposite problem might be in your life.
How to Set Boundaries Between Home and Work-Life
One of the unique aspects of personal and professional development is that both require a positive mental state to be successful.
When you can use these mental states to maintain focus and build awareness of the skills or outcomes desired, you can achieve the desired goal relatively quickly.
That same mental state can be used to create physical spaces that separate these two components in your life.
Each life area should have a different personality. You should feel different when you’re in a workspace compared to how you’ve designed a home.
What makes you productive at work? You should keep those items available in that specific environment to encourage productivity.
If you’re at home, those professional items should be kept to a minimum.
Have you ever noticed that service dogs wear a sign that tells people not to pet them? That warning prevents them from getting confused about what their tasks are at that time. They must be clear about the job they are doing.
We must be the same way. When we can separate personal and professional development into appropriate categories, it is much easier to accomplish long-term goals in both areas.