In order to do effective personal development, it is necessary to do several steps. First step is assessment of your personal qualities. Personal development plan that contains concrete steps with built time frame and milestones is the next step. Finally, developments should be tracked, recorded and assessed. But first let's do the assessment.
Who you are and what you are? What do you have and what do you need? What others think about you? What are your strengths and what are your opportunities? What will you need to have in the future? These are some of the questions that need to be answered in order to have assessment of personal development needs. Answers to these questions should be provided from different perspectives. Assessment from different angles can help you to map your PD needs in more accurate manner.
Multi Dimensional Self Assessment
In order to fully understand your development needs, you need to scan your attributes from different perspectives:
Assessment Internal ( by you )
Assessment external ( by others )
Assessment from current perspective
Assessment of today's attributes from future perspective
Assessment of future attributes from today's perspective
It is good to start from your own perspective by observing and asking questions about all of your personal attributes. Go through different areas and ask your self every question that comes to your mind. You need to write down every question and every answer. If you can not make up the question, or if you do not now the answer at the moment, than leave it for now and try later. The most important thing is honesty and openness. Do not bias answers or skip difficult questions, since you are lying yourself.
Personal success – Am I satisfied with my personal life? What I am satisfied with? What is that I am not satisfied with? Am I having sufficient knowledge and education? If no, what is my gap? What are my virtues and what are my drawbacks? Write down every one that you come across. How do I accept changes? How do I accept winning and failure? Do I learn from my experience? Do I learn from other’s experience? Do I learn enough? What are my strengths and weaknesses? What could I do better? What could I benefit from?
Professional success – Am I satisfied with my carrier? What I am satisfied / dissatisfied with? What would I like to change? What are my professional competences? What competences should I develop? What professional competences should I leverage more to create professional success? What do I prefer - more money, or more free time? Are my actions in line with that preference? What is my relationship with other colleagues at work? What is my relationship with my superiors? Am I a team player? Am I contributing to the company? What is my future in current company? Do I have a clear professional path? What is my attitude at work? Do I have leadership and entrepreneurship traits?
Financial Stability – Do I control my personal finances? Am I spending too much? Am I stingy? Do I have a saving? Do I have debts? Do I depend on single or multiple income streams? Do I invest? Do I have a long term personal financial plan?
Maintaining health – Do I care about health enough? Do I exercise? Do I have a proper nutrition? What can I do to be healthier?
Mental stability – Am I mentally stabile? Am I nervous? Do I have a different phases and why? Is there anything that really ruining my mental health? I am a nervous person? Do I rest enough? Do I have a safety valve?
Helping Others & Contribution to society – Where I am in my community? Am I respected? What is my future in the community?
Another way for of taking self assessment is doing different types of tests. These tests are targeting different areas: intellect, knowledge, psychology, social, etc. Try to find them on internet or in specialized books and do self assessment. These tests can help you a lot in self assessment, since they may guide you to the area or question that you didn't pay a conscious attention.
Another way of assessment of your personal development needs is having the second opinion. You can never see yourself from the outside the way the other people can. No matter how realistic you try to be and how much you develop your conscious self assessment skills, there will always be something that you didn't see, or it is seen differently by somebody else. You may receive feedback from your friends, work counterparts, or from your boss.
In many companies Individual Development Plans are executed. These plans start with assessment of the development needs in professional areas. If you are subject of such program you could leverage personal and professional assessment and development plan one from another, since they are related. If case you have gap in some of your personal attribute, than it is highly likely that it is reflected to your professional career too. Therefore, every effort you give to cover this gap will bring you benefit in both field. For example, if you consider that your knowledge of primary foreign language is insufficient, than any training and improvement can give you benefit at both professional and private life.
Multi Temporal Assessment
Many people like to express the wish of returning 10 or 20 years in the past from now, but with the knowledge and experience that they have now. This hypothetical wish is not to be surprise. It is logical that most of the people would like to be more experienced and knowledgeable, since that could strengthen their position and success in private and professional life. Returning back in time with this knowledge and experience is a great idea. But, this is only hypothetical wish that can not be achieved. But what about simulating such situation?
Probably you could benefit from assessing your environment and your personal attributes from different temporal perspectives. First try to assess your personal attributes that you have today from future perspective, say 10 from now. In order to be able to easier visualize and assess now from the future, try first to assess past from today. What do you think about yourself when you were 10 years back in time? What was good, what was not? What could you have been done better? What would you change? Take time and ask as many questions as you can. Write down answers. With experience and knowledge you posses today you will be in position to critically assess your past attributes. Now, try to do assessment of attributes you have today but from perspective from the future. Try to imagine yourself 10 years older, more experienced and knowledgeable as you assessing you from today. Ask similar questions from previous exercise. Get as many inputs as you can and write them down.
Now, return back to the present and assess the future you. What attributes you will need to develop to be ready for the future10 years from now. Try to anticipate situations, technology and trends that you can asses from now and check are you ready for them? If not, what should you build and what are the priorities.
If you do complete multidimensional personal development needs assessment you will be full of impressions and records. Try to summarize everything that you explored and have written. Some things are clear, but some ideas may require additional time to be adopted. You can try to repeat self assessment again. With all inputs that you got from self assessment you will be ready to commence with building the Personal Development Plan.