Last Updated on March 31, 2024 by Lorna Barrow


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“Auntie! I’m ready to jumpstart my personal and professional development!”


This was the last thing I expected to hear when I took a call from my wayward and scatterbrained, but favorite niece.


Listen, you have no idea how many times I suggested to her now was a good time for her to to do something about her self-development. Each of them ignored.


Let’s be clear what she was now declaring herself to be ready for.


As I explained to her, personal development helps you to lead a more fulfilled, happier and higher quality life.


On the other hand, professional development ensures you continuously learn and acquire new knowledge and skills to support your career or (small) business goals.


When you choose to work on both of these together, you place yourself on an awesome path of  complete self-development.


So I knew there was a back story to this sudden declaration.


It turns out, she was called “immature” and “unprofessional” by a “little foolish boy, just out of pampers!” (her words! not mine).


Whatever her motivation, if she’s ready to begin her personal and professional development…I am ready to help her.



And I’m not stopping there…I’m helping you out with  yours. Right alongside hers.


So if you’re ready, let me tell you both how you can jumpstart your personal and professional development, in 6 easy to follow steps.


1. Get clear on who you really are

What am I talking about? Certainly you know who you are…


Not so fast…here is the problem when you believe that.


Over time, you have developed a persona which you present to the world. You depend on it to help you out in nearly every situation.


But when it comes to personal and professional development, not taking a deep dive into who you truly are will limits your success.


This is so important that I have written an entire blog post about it. Get the details on this #1 Barrier to your self-development and follow the advice.


In addition, you need to discover the top 5 self-development questions to ask yourself to begin your personal development in a big way.


2.  Set clear goals

image of female setting clear goals for her personal & professional development

Once you’re clear about who you are, you now have to get equally clear on what you want. 


Whether you want to learn new skills, boost your confidence, or simply become the best public speaker ever, you must know what you want and why it’s important to you. 


Why? Because when you set a goal with a powerful purpose, you are more likely to achieve that goal. 


Once you’ve done that, now you’re ready to set your goals. Let me warn you, there are loads of information out there on goal setting. But here’s what I know:


1. Your goal should be big enough to get your belly jumping and your heart pounding. Don’t be afraid if it does. Be motivated instead. 


2.  You have to write it down. Preferably with good old fashioned pen and paper. Writing down your goals sets them firmly in your mind and increases your chances of spotting opportunities to achieve them.


3.  Achieving you goal , if it is big enough, will change who you are. Think about (or find out) how you will behave when you achieve your goal and start behaving that way in the present. It’s a powerful message to the universe. 


4.  Asking for help does not mean you’re weak. You will achieve your goals much faster if you choose the right people to help you. Step #3 is about how to do this.


5.  Being willing to review and adjust your plans as necessary, is also a great part of your goal-setting success


So go ahead and set that goal…you know the one…where you become the small business owner of the year!


3.  Seek out mentors and build your network

One of the best ways you can develop yourself professionally and personally is to seek out mentors and build your network.


The problem is, most people attempt to do these two things in a very cavalier manner.


For example, in today’s world, networking is about having strong  interpersonal skills. It’s also about making a great first impression. And it’s certainly about building trust as you build strong business relationships.


That being the case, handing out some business cards, shaking hands and smiling at a function, will not cut it for you. You need a plan. 


Therefore, if you follow these 7 networking strategies, you will increase your confidence and fast track your professional and personal development.


Similarly, when you are looking for a mentor, especially for your professional growth, you don’t grab the first person who pushes a trolley past you in the supermarket.


If you’re going to get the best value from a Business Mentor, you have to be strategic about building successful business relationships.  In other words, you have to pay attention to the process you use to choose that person.


And just so you know, you have to be willing to be a full partner in what is a essentially a two-way partnership.


4.  Commit to continuous learning and acquiring the right skills   

image of older male acquiring new skills as part of his personal & professional development

I read somewhere that:

Learning is the process in which a person consciously takes themself farther away from ignorance.


I believe this is especially true when you set out on a path to develop yourself in all areas of your life.


In reality, I can’t see a clear path to your self-development without some plan for your continuous learning and development in key areas.


But where do you start?


You start by learning how to learn. Yeah…


Knowing how to learn is the most critical of all skills. You can call it a form of meta learning. With this skill you can more easily acquire other skills.


Learning to learn is really your capacity to collect, analyse, organise and apply information. It’s learning techniques, attitudes and knowledge which make processing information easy. It’s also your ability to use appropriate technology as well as your capacity to apply it in a new context.  


When you learn how to learn, here’s how you supercharge your personal and professional development. You:  

1.  Acquire “transferable” skills

2.  Update the range of your professional knowledge

3.  Increase career opportunities and flexibility

4.  Increase personal effectiveness and productivity

5.  Build self-confidence and self-esteem

6.  Increase income

7.  Experience life in a whole new way!


Your other “starter skill” is public speaking.  “Why public speaking?” Similar to learning to learn, it is what I call “a gateway skill.”  


When I learnt public speaking my entire life exploded in incredible ways. Even today, many years later, it’s still my #1 success skill. It’s still how I make most of my revenue.


You can discover how important public speaking is in this post and check out a Top Level Speaker Program here.


5.  Practice self-care and priotize your well-being

However great your goal-setting is, you stand a better chance of achieving your goals if you make your well-being a priority along with practicing self-care.


Why is that?


Well, self-care means taking the time to do things that help you live well and improve your physical, mental and emotional health.


When you do, you have more energy, you are more focused and your productivity is decidedly high.


However, I must warn you of the the things that could prevent you from practicing self-care.


These include guilt about putting yourself first, difficulty creating new habits and having unrealistic expectations.


So here are a few tips to help you out, whether you’re female or male:

1.  Engage in daily physical activity – choose one that you are comfortable with (at first) 

2.  Get adequate sleep and take care of your body

3.  Become aware of your circadian rhythms and make them work for you

4.  Eat healthy meals regularly

5.  Set boundaries and learn to say “no”. In this way, you won’t make commitments that do not align with your values

6.  Practice gratitude and some form of spirituality

7.  Learn to share your feelings with a few trusted friends


Remember that taking care of yourself is not selfish. Actually, it’s a necessary step towards achieving your personal and professional development. 


6.  Embrace challenges and learn from failures

If Winston Churchill is remembered for nothing else, he will be remembered for his famous quote:

Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.


I think these words are especially important to remember when you are about to engage in some type of personal development. 


First of all is the way how we perceive failure. If you think that failure is “fatal” then if you believe you have failed at something, you will be inclined to give up on everything. 


On the other hand, if you think of failure as a tool to help you determine what works and what doesn’t, you will gain the confidence to keep trying.


Accepting that “success isn’t final” is the motivation you need to help you to reach for the next level.


However, the secret is to be very clear what success looks like for you. For example, when I’m about to set any goal, the first thing I do is determine what I call “completion criteria”. It’s that thing or set of things that let me know when I have reached my goal.


So let’s pull these two together.


When you know what success looks like and you regard failure as a learning tool, you now have the means to take on any challenge. And expect to win.


And if that’s not enough,  you can lean into the stories of famous, successful people who never let failure prevent them from achieving success.


Your next “personal and professional development” steps

So! I have given you a starter 6-pack of steps you can take to jumpstart your personal and professional development.


I have also taken away your excuses for not taking that first step to a much better life. 


So take these 6 steps and step boldly out of your comfort zone and if you feel you can’t do it alone, then contact me.


If my niece can do it…so can you!


6 Easy Steps to Begin Your Personal & Professional Development

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Lorna Barrow

Lorna Barrow is a Business Breakthrough Specialist, an unfiltered Transformational Speaker, a Writer, a Coach and a self-confessed Small Business Junkie. She recognises that small businesses are unique and when it comes to helping you and your business make that BIG breakthrough, she's all in for you!

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