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.