When people think of personal development vs professional development, they usually start comparing these two areas. The main question usually is, which is one is more important?

To answer this truthfully, both facets are equally important. For the healthy development of a person, it’s a good idea to look at it in this light. While you should note the differences between these two areas, don’t become hinged on them only.

By understanding both areas, you can apply them effectively to your goals especially if you’re looking to grow in either area.

A Brief Overview of Personal and Professional Development

To help you understand both of these areas, we are going to take a closer look at both of them here. A brief definition of both these areas will also help you understand them more:

  • Professional Development – This relates to your soft skills. You need these to meet your targets and achieve your goals. However, these are largely meant to help you improve your performance in the workplace.
  • Personal Development – These relate to your skills which improve and boost your life skills. You need them to meet your goals in life. These goals can be outside the workplace and relate to different facets of a person’s life.

Knowing the differences between the two will allow you to focus on the qualities you want. You should also know that personal development encompasses professional development and vice versa.

This means that one cannot exist without the other. By looking at them from a personal development versus professional development point of view, you are limiting your viewpoint.

This can make it extremely challenging to make progress towards your goals. It will also mean that you are unable to focus on the proper rewards that they have to offer.

Let’s take a closer look at professional development and personal development here:

Knowing what personal development is will go a long way to ensuring that you have no issues with this area

What is Personal Development?

As mentioned earlier, personal development relates to your life skills. These are what you need in order to achieve your life goals. It focuses on helping you improve your talents, whether they’re related to your work or not.

Personal development is also something that we focus on early in life. Your interpersonal, emotional and socializing skills are all affected by your personal development skills. Even your drive, motivation, and ambition are affected by this area.

Personal and professional development courses can improve your motivation and help you excel in your domain

So, it can be easy to say that any activity which improves the quality of your life can also be considered to be a personal development activity.

Benefits of Personal Development

Personal development offers plenty of different benefits. The following are some of the major benefits you can get:

  • Boosting self-awareness,
  • Increasing self-knowledge,
  • Developing your existing skills or learning new ones
  • Renewing or building your self-esteem or identity
  • Developing pre-existing talents or strengths
  • Enhancing your employability
  • Improve the quality of your life
  • Positively affecting your social status and wealth

All these activities can help you make a major difference in your life. Even if you feel helpless, these are skill sets which can help you turn the odds in your favor. By focusing on your personal development, you are able to effectively ensure that you have the right skill-sets for you.

Professional development is different from personal development and once you understand it, it is worth investing in

What is Professional Development?

Now, professional development is like personal development but it is more limiting. It’s largely related to your work in the office or your career path. These skills are meant to add more value to the services that you provide.

This is also necessary to ensure that you’re able to understand your job and improve yourself. Work-life stress and job-related challenges can be met head-on through your professional development skills.

Activities Which Improve Professional Development

Developing your professional skill sets also means that you’re staying relevant to market demand. Many times, certain jobs can be phased out or certain professional skills can net you a higher paying job.

In this scenario, you need to work on your professional development skills to make you a valuable employee, according to the market.

Activities which help to improve professional development skills are the following:

  • IT Training
  • Health and Safety Training
  • Certificate-based Training
  • Legal Expertise or Knowledge
  • Work Practices In Adherence With Industry Standards
  • Coaching And Mentoring Programs
  • Leadership Training

It’s clear to see that any action or activity which positively affects your working ability is a part of your professional development.

Personal Development versus Professional Development – Which One is More Important for You?

Whether it’s personal development or professional development, you don’t need to pick between the two. You should view them in this light:

  • Professional development continues throughout your work life. Once you retire, you don’t need to be as focused on your work life and how hirable you are anymore.
  • Personal development makes a difference in your life on a daily basis. At almost every stage of your life, you will learn something new which will help you blossom as a person.

Given this factor, you don’t have to specifically pick one over the other. Your personal development plans might have many aspects of professional development too. Sometimes, the issues can be interlinked too.

For example: suppose you want to boost your communication skills to give better presentations. Improving this area will also affect your personal communications skills. In this case, you will become a better communicator overall.

The overlap in these areas makes them vital for all areas for our lives. Plus, it is easier to pick training plans and programs that are a combination of both.

Activities That Combine Professional and Personal Development

We’ve already discussed how some areas of personal and professional development overlap. To give you more clarity, we’re going to list down some activities where you can receive the maximum amount of benefits in both areas.

You can develop both your personal development and professional development skills by focusing on certain areas or activities

These activities target common areas that are both personal and professional skills. The following are the ones that you should consider when you are just starting out:

1. IT Training

Good for: Personal and professional development

If computers and tech is a hobby of yours, you will love the IT training courses you take. These can help you develop your skills which improve your eligibility for various jobs. The IT industry is also the fastest growing professional industry with high-paying jobs.

If you’re looking for growth on a professional level and want to turn your hobby into something lucrative, you can’t go wrong with this area.

2. Communication

Good for: Personal and professional development

Effective communication can boost both your personal and professional skill sets. Good communication can make a huge difference and prevent misunderstandings. Professionally, your communication skills help you to build meaningful relationships with your clients.

Communication courses can help you get your message across articulately and effectively

Similarly, effective communication can ensure that you’re vocal about your wants and needs with others. Building lasting relationships and friendships isn’t difficult once you master communication.

3. Conflict Management

Good for: Personal and professional development

Conflict can arise because of personal or professional reasons and you need to know how to handle it. Learning how to handle difficult clients and resolving issues appropriately is necessary. This is not just a skill that you can apply to your professional life either.

Good conflict management skills can improve your home life and personal relationships. Tempers can flare and an unlikely situation can pop up at any time. So, with good conflict management skills, you can get a peaceful resolution.

4. Management Training

Good for: Personal and professional development

Management training is an essential skill that all team managers need to have. They need to know how to use their team, available resources, keep an eye on deadlines and get results. This might seem very easy but, it is a very difficult thing to do.

Most people consider management training to be a part of professional development but that is not true. It is also very useful for when you’re looking after a household. You need to know how to delegate work, use resources carefully and meet the life goals you have planned out.

5. Journaling and Note Keeping

Good for: Personal and professional development

Journaling is a part of personal development as it helps one organize their thoughts and calm down after a tough day. Plus, it offers the same benefits for your workplace. Journaling or note-keeping at work boosts memory retention of important details.

Journaling at work also ties in with proper planning and is a great way to brainstorm and explore ideas alone. It’s a very useful skill that has plenty of personal and professional benefits to offer!

6. Accountancy and Money Management

Good for: Personal and professional development

Knowing how to manage your budget is necessary on a personal and professional level. It is a part of financial education and allows you to make more financially sound decisions. From deciding to invest in stock to paying off your loans, your money management skills will make a difference here.

Additionally, for professional development skills, effective money management is a must. Poor management of money has led to many startups closing down or having to get creative about their cash flow.

As you can see, there are many shared areas. So, instead of seeing it as personal development versus professional development, you should consider them to be two sides of the same coin. You need to carry them both with you.