So you’ve written your professional development plan, kudos to you! That’s the easy part though, following through with this plan is the tricky part. Just like building a house, so much work is done after the architect designs the house. The builders come next and follow the plan provided by the architect. In this case, you are both the architect and the builder. You’ve written your plan, now it’s time to follow through and build your house.

It’s been 6 months since I wrote my professional development plan and I can confidently share everything that has worked for me so far in following through with my plan, listed below:

  1. Have an accountability partner
  2. Break down short term goals into bite-sized goals
  3. Set a mid check point
  4. Seek out opportunities to help you reach your goals
  5. Progress, not perfection

Have An Accountability Partner

To take this a step further, I would recommend that your accountability partner be someone who holds a position of leadership over you. It could be a team lead, a manager, or a mentor. The point is that you need someone to report your progress to. You need someone to give you feedback as you take steps towards reaching your goal. You need someone to nudge you to keep going forward. You need someone to tell you when you’re going off track. Keep this person involved – when you take strides towards achieving that goal, let them know. When you also need a bit of encouragement, let them know.

Break Down Short Term Goals Into Bite-sized Goals

In part 1, I had mentioned that you should set short term goals for each quarter of the year. To take this a step further, break down each short term goal into bite sized steps, this will help you to feel less overwhelmed. For example, one of my goals for this quarter is to get better at React by completing the Epic React course. Breaking this into bite-sized goals, I set aside at least 2 hours per week to complete some modules. Another bite-sized goal I set towards this main goal was to review front-end related code from peers that are more advanced in React every week. It’s much easier for me to focus on the weekly goals and not get overwhelmed by the main goal.

Set A Mid Check Point

Even though you have set a deadline for your short term goals, you need to set a mid check point – a “halfway” deadline to check on how much progress you’ve made. By setting a mid check point, you give yourself the opportunity to see if you’re on track to meet the deadline and if you’re not, you get the opportunity to re-strategize or re-evaluate the goal, see what’s working and what’s not working. Do a review with your accountability partner during this mid check point and ask for tips to help you reach your goals.

Seek out opportunities to help you reach your goals

It is not enough to say you want to head a marketing campaign by the end of the year, you also have to find opportunities, both big and small, to help you achieve this goal. In my case, whenever I want to learn a new programming language or technology, I talk to my lead and look for projects that align with my goal. I also take it a step further by asking to work on the part of the project that requires me using that programming language or technology. I believe in speaking things into existence, I also believe in asking and receiving, seeking and finding.

Progress, Not Perfection

Progress is better than perfection. That’s it, that’s the tweet! Progress means that even if you don’t achieve that goal to the fullest, you did your best. Progress means you still have an opportunity to see it through. Progress means that you don’t beat yourself up and abandon your goals. Progress means celebrating the little victories. Progress means you don’t give up. 

One thing to note: everything I’ve outlined above is what has worked for me so far. I anticipate that in “building my house”, I might need some new tools sometime in the future. Feel free to use some of these tips, but be sure to find what works for you and run with it.


Author Ebun

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