You may already understand the importance of creating a wellbeing plan for yourself as part of your professional development. A wellbeing plan gives you the opportunity to reflect and identify your wellbeing goals and plan the activities that will help you achieve them. These plans have different aspects, which often differentiate between “physical” wellbeing and “mental” (psychological, emotional, spiritual, interpersonal) wellbeing. Unfortunately, the professional component is often neglected, when – in reality – what happens at work often impacts on our general wellbeing.
Research shows that undertaking any kind of on-going learning – from learning new recipes to taking up an old hobby or pursuing further studies – increases our sense of self-esteem and self-efficacy and helps us gain a greater sense of purpose.
Why is professional development is important in your wellbeing plan
There are many studies which show that professional development can improve your general wellbeing and ability to fulfil both professional and personal goals.
Undertaking technical – or expert – training directly related to our professional work ensures that we are up-to-date with our industry’s latest developments. This helps us to provide the best advice and service to our clients, and perform at our optimum level at work. Building your professional competency also increases your confidence and sense of accomplishment.
Participating in personal development topics which often fall outside of our “technical” expertise is also valuable, as this gives us an opportunity to develop other skills such as self-awareness, communication or managing people. Not only can these skills be directly implemented at work, but they can also be applied outside of the workplace, giving us tools to improve our interactions, build resilience and learn to better prioritise in all aspects of our lives.
As the traditional barriers between work-life and personal life get challenged, so should our understanding of our professional development. Indeed, most skills that you learn at work can be transferable and applicable in other parts of your life, and vice versa. So, when contemplating you self-care or wellbeing plan, make sure to incorporate your professional development goals as well.
How to integrate your professional development in your wellbeing plan
From conferences, to seminars, to webinars – there are many ways to integrate continuous learning and professional development into your wellbeing plan. There are so many options now that you are really able to tailor a solution that fits your career goals and life situation.
If you are lucky enough to work in a company that provides you with direct access to courses and seminars, take a look at the different events and consider the skills and topics that would really be valuable to your overall career and professional development goals. Also, make sure you take advantage of peer learning and collaboration opportunities by engaging in a mentoring program (either as a mentor or mentee), or organising lunches with colleagues in your industry to connect on current issues and development. This will enable you to build your expertise, as well as the soft skills that go with these.
Face-to-face conferences, seminars and workshops outside of your workplace can also be a great way to learn and network with others in your industry. But with the increasing number of on-demand and online options for learning, you are no longer limited to simply attending an annual conference. There are now multiple options for learning in your own time and on your own terms.
A great example is podcasts – there are a wide range of fantastic podcasts available on a range of different topics from technical, to soft skills, to general interest. Why not create a shortlist of your favourite podcasts and listen to these on your way to work or your morning walk? Podcasts can be a great way to keep learning and stay up to date whenever it suits you. Many podcasts will also have a community of subscribers on social media, where you can discuss topics more deeply and connect with other people with similar interests. For example, Managing the Juggle has an active and engaging online community where you can connect with like-minded people.
Finally, take advantage of professional development services available online for your profession. There are a lot of options available, so it is important to ensure that both the content offered and the delivery method will provide an optimal learning experience. Services that use interactive content, and have their content reviewed and designed by learning experts, will often mean that you will remember more at the end of your course! Check also that you have the option to stop and resume your courses at any time, without losing your progress in between sessions. That will help you to fit your ongoing learning in when it suits you best – whether it be on the bus to work, or whilst you wait for your kids to finish their sport training!
LawCPD offers premium online professional development courses to lawyers Australia-wide. All of their courses are available online and on-demand, and cover all the core CPD competency areas for lawyers. LawCPD’s courses also cover general business and professional development topics such as assertivenss, dealing with difficult clients or managing meeting more effectively. Learn more at www.LawCPD.com.au.