Personal development: Creating your path to success

I am a huge fan of GPS, and before that I was constantly using websites like MapQuest and Google Maps. But before technology, I was an owner of a 50-state road atlas and State of Michigan map.

Early on in my career, I was driving to a conference in Atlanta, Georgia, comparing all the routes and expressways on my atlas. While doing this type of planning seems tedious or pointless, planning trips can save an enormous amount of time, keep you out of trouble areas and allows you to remain focused on your long-range destination.

Planning Your Life

I was reflecting upon the importance of having purpose in life and came up with a statement that I often use frequently … “You will never drift into purposefulness.”

I have yet to meet anyone with the mindset of going on a trip, especially for business, where they do not know where they are going. There are a lot of people who treat their lives this way; each new day is unplanned, unfocused and very accidental with respect to direction.

People don’t fall into success; they plan, make decisions and work toward it.

How to Create a Personal Development Plan

A friend of mine always tells people that his favorite leadership quote is, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there,” from the movie, Alice in Wonderland.

This might be an odd movie to find leadership principles, but a quality statement nonetheless. It’s similar to getting in the car and saying, “Let’s drive south for vacation!”

To keep yourself from falling into the trap that you can drift into something purposeful, I am proposing something different – a Personal Development Plan.

The Benefit to You

Having a Personal Development Plan sets you apart from your peers and creates options for you personally and professionally. You begin to be the one people go to for additional opportunities, answers to questions and input on strategic decisions. All of this will help you reach for intended destination that you targeted in your five-year plan.

Here are three ideas to get started:

  • Create a timeline of what you want your life to look like five years from now. Keep in mind, having a short time frame can make the progress seem minimal and having a long timeframe can seem unrealistic.
  • Identify what has to happen in order to reach your goal within the timeframe in each of these categories: professional, education, financial, personal, physical, etc.
  • Create change and make decisions. Start doing things differently to reach the goals you have. If you want to be somewhere different in five years, change is necessary.

Daniel Rundhaug is the executive director at Davenport University’s Institute for Professional Excellence. He excels in both leadership and management skill sets, being able to create and communicate visionary direction as well as implementing the necessary strategies to see the vision become a reality.

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