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CPD...lets get Personal

CPD...lets get Personal

CPD…lets get Personal

The whole idea of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is primarily work-focused: aimed at developing role competencies, experience and skills, obtaining a promotion, etc.  We set SMART objectives for our CPD and then deliberately pursue them. Many enjoy it, yet for others it can often be a chore, something to be ticked off at the annual appraisal or simply to retain accreditation.


Looking at our personal lives, all of us are life-long learners, continually developing. We may desire to: improve our confidence and self-esteem, be a more loving parent/husband/wife, improve our resilience to bounce back when hard times hit, increase our ability to step beyond our comfort zones, to try something new - the list goes on. Yet, why are we not more deliberate in our desire to develop ourselves personally, as people? We so often just expect these life-skills to happen automatically. There is a sense that we will, as people, mature and develop automatically with age and experience to gain those personal traits necessary for life. To a degree this is true of course, age and experience do bring maturity in many areas, but what if we were more active in this process, rather than passive?


Until recently, my understanding of CPD had been that it primarily brings benefit for the company or to help me do my job better. However, I have now come to realize that it should be as much about personal development, as about professional development.


Instead of confining our understanding of CPD to a work focus, it is more holistic to widen the definition of ‘P’ to stand for ‘Professional and Personal’. In today’s modern world, companies are ever more flexible in what can be classed as CPD, and I therefore wonder if the definition challenge lies within our own mindsets, and the way in which we approach our own CPD goals?


The challenge is to view the words ‘CPD’ in a new, positive and holistic way. Not simply as a work requirement, but as an opportunity to develop ourselves both professionally and personally. It is an opportunity to ‘seize the day’, to identify areas in our personal lives that we know need work, and to integrate these into our CPD goals. It is to deliberately look for ways that will develop us most certainly as professionals, but also as well rounded people of character and integrity, both inside and out of work.


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  • Hi Jason, I really enjoyed this post thanks for sharing your thoughts around CPD and totally agree with your message here.

    The biggest light bulb moment for me was realising that everything I do is about learning - learning makes us who we and we learn from doing. In a professional context you can fall in to the trap of thinking that your only learning in a formal / training environment but there are opportunities to learn and reflect in everything we do. It's what makes us who we are.

    Once I'd got my head round that I have never looked at CPD the same way - I do CPD every day....it is in everything I do and I capture this in my work through blogs, curating content, reading things, talking to people, doing new things, taking on new tasks, watching a video - whatever I do it's learning in someway and just accepting this makes CPD far less daunting and scary.

    Critical reflection is key as well - thinking about what you've done and what you enjoyed, found difficult or challenging - would you do it again in the same way or would you do it differently?

    It doesn't have to be a big thing or 5 mins thinking about your day or an event or something you've done. 

    There are a couple of resources from the community that link to this and would be a great read / watch for anyone interesting in learning more about CPD.

    Pain-Free CPD

    Here is a video on the topic of CPD that we gathered from some L&D / HR professionals at a conference.

    • Thanks Mike for sharing your thoughts on this. I am working through a really good book at the moment on developing personal resilience and how our resilience levels impact all areas of our lives (both work and personal). It is very practical and challenges us to reflect, not so much on the completed task, rather on our personal responses (both internal and external) to difficult situations. This really challenged me, firstly, on the importance of our own personal development -understanding ourselves and how we react to situations. Secondly, that we need to work at this, be deliberate about it, and work to develop a personal slant into our CPD. If we are able to better develop ourselves as people, then through that many of the work-related skills will follow.



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