How Personal Development Plays A Role In Professional Development

I recently went on a working trip and I got to chat with one of our clients for most of the weekend. She fascinated me with all her passions. After talking about what she loves the most, she turned to me and said, what about you Morgane, what are you passionate about? What makes you, you?

I was caught off guard by her question and mumbled an answer of what I thought could be what makes me, me but instantly I realised I had some introspection to do; it occurred to me that I had never really paid that much attention to the things that I am passionate about.

Do we need a passion, a hobby? Would not having one make us a bad person? An uninteresting person? But most importantly, would not having a passion mean that we are not learning new interests or experiencing new things.

This bothered me enough to do a little bit of research and check out how personal development could play a role in professional development.


Personal development covers activities that improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, build human capital and facilitate employability, enhance the quality of life and contribute to the realisation of dreams and aspirations.

This was a good enough start to get me going and wanting more. Once I was reminded of Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs, I realised that I was definitely on the right track: improving one’s potential (“self-actualization”) is, in fact, the highest need of all!

It also made me realise that I wasn’t the only one in pursuit of personal growth and purpose.

But what really is the difference between personal and professional development?

Professional development

Professional development involves developing yourself in your role to entirely understand the job you do and how you can improve. It involves enhancing the necessary skills to carry out your role as effectively as possible and is something that will continue throughout your working life.

Whereas personal development is about what skills you need to accomplish the results required, both in your role and for life in general. It is about improving your talents and potential, both in and out of the workplace. I don’t know about you, but I get the feeling that getting better as a person will result in getting better at what I do for a living.

Here are some benefits I discovered about personal development that will translate into meaningful gains in your working life. I encourage you to look for more that apply to you and your lifestyle.


Personal development begins with self-awareness. You get to know who you are; your values, beliefs and the purpose you wish to pursue. True fulfilment can never come from chasing other people’s dreams. If you want to achieve lasting happiness, you need to design your life based on who you are. Then you can chase your own goals and objectives.

A sense of direction

Once you have raised your self-awareness, you have a clearer idea of the things you wish to achieve from life. Decision-making becomes a lot easier. Focus on what is worthy and don’t waste your time with those that aren’t and take up a lot of your time unnecessarily.

More motivation

When you know what you want to achieve, it is easier for you to see the benefits of taking action. Even when the task ahead is not enjoyable; if you can see a clear benefit, you are more motivated to take the necessary action.

Here are a few steps to follow to manage your personal development:

  1. 1. Develop a personal vision with a clear idea of where you want to be in a few months or years, and “why” is a crucial part of developing this purpose.
  2. Plan your personal development, create a personal SWOT analysis and map out a clear plan.
  3. Start implementing.
  4. Record your personal growth. It is important to keep track of where you started and where you are now. Seeing the growth will keep you motivated throughout your personal development, making you into the person you want to become.

Being the best person you can be in your personal life will inspire you to be the best person you can be in your professional life which will naturally add value to your place of work, making you an indispensable asset to your company and colleagues, or indispensable to the people around you in your personal life.

All in all, living a more balanced life and seeking opportunities to self-improve makes for a far more enjoyable and successful time on earth… And why wouldn’t you want that?

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