Individual Personal Development Plan: Your Key to Success

Do you have an ?

individual personal development planI listened to Dr. John C. Maxwell, leadership guru, in a recent leadership podcast.

He’s published hundreds of best seller books and has influenced thousands of leaders worldwide.

In the interview, he stated that the key success factor in everything he has accomplished to date is due to his personal growth plan.

Growth is does not happen by chance. If you want to be sure to grow, you need a plan—something strategic, specific, and scheduled.


Here’s Dr. Maxwell powerfully sharing the Why and How of Personal Growth.  (Hint: You’ll want to watch the 3 minute clip for the powerful How tip at the end)

Write Your Individual Personal Development Plan

Heal From Your Past

Many people scorn Sigmund Freud today because he was so focused on one’s childhood.  I agree that the present and future are important, especially when thinking about growth and hope.  But too many of us live shackled by anger, hurt, trauma, and bitterness from the past.

Consider professional counseling to address any pains from your past that are holding you prisoner in the present.

Develop Your Character

Benjamin Franklin identified key virtues to strive for in his daily life.  He had a notebook in which he would keep track daily of how he was progressing in a particular virtue.

Here’s a list of virtues you can use to form your own personal character growth plan.

Examine Your Key Life Areas

Zig Ziglar’s Wheel of Life likens our life to a wheel.  We each have Career, Financial, Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Family, and Social areas of our lives.

When one of those spokes gets weak, we’re in danger of getting a flat tire.

Examine each of these areas and rate it on a scale of 1-10, with 10 signifying your highest satisfaction with your results in that area.

We’ll usually struggle with one or two areas.

For example, I need to focus more on my family relationships.  So I need to make an individual personal development plan to grow deeper relationships with my son, my daughter, and my wife.

How about you?  Can you find one area that needs special attention?

Develop Your Roles

Your Roles are another way to think about Zig Ziglar’s Wheel of Life.  For example, I am a therapist, a blogger, a father, a husband, a friend, a clinical specialist (my full-time job), a Sunday School teacher.

Ask yourself whether you’re growing in each of those roles.  If not, think about some small actions you can take to improve that role.

Develop Your Strengths

Have you identified your strengths?  If not, buy Strengths Finder 2.0 (affiliate link), and take the online quiz.  That’s how I identified my top five strengths.  Even better, the Strengths Finder website [you’ll need to buy the book to log in to the website]  gives you specific suggestions for your personal growth plan for each strength.

Develop Your Limiting Factors

It’s become unpopular to talk about weaknesses.  But we all have them!

Are you familiar with your weaknesses?

Are you aware of vices, habits, or character flaws you need to address?

Or areas you struggle with as an entrepreneur?

Don’t be like me.  In the past (and sometimes in the present), I am either too proud or too ashamed, or too lazy, to do something about it.

Admit your weaknesses.  List them.  Then develop your plan to go to work on them.

Putting It All Together: Your Individual Personal Development Plan

Keep It Simple

Start off with one character flaw, one character trait, one life area, one role.  Just pick one thing.

Like a snowball rolling downhill, momentum in one area of your life will turn into an avalanche of positive personal growth when you set specific goals for growth in one area of your life.

If you don’t believe me, just ask the tortoise!

Use This Individual Personal Development Plan Template

I found this personal development plan template here.  Before you click on the link, realize that I don’t know how safe the download file is, which is why I’m giving credit to the link and posting the template here for you.

What are my development objectives? Priority What activities do I need to undertake to achieve my objectives? What support/resources do I need to achieve my objectives?

I didn’t have enough room in this post, but you can add a target date for achieving your goals, and an actual date for achieving your goals.

Transfer Your Individual Development Plan To Your Daily Agenda

John Maxwell gives us this hint in the video I posted above.

If you and I take one action daily to grow in our key areas or areas, we’ll have a lot of growth over the course of one month, one quarter, one year, and beyond.

I suggest using irunurun to make this happen (not an affiliate link, although I did buy the app for $1.99).

Read This Individual Development Plan Sample

I searched and found this individual development plan sample so that you can get a feel for what it might look like.

Please join me with being intentional about personal growth and development.  Write your individual personal development plan today! (or soon).   :-)

Image Credit: kbuntu / 123RF Stock Photo


  1. says

    Terrific post Stephen – and I love the video. I’ve followed John Maxwell for years, and his book Today Matters is sitting in a place of honor (by virtue of the freqency in which I refer to it!) on my bookshelf. I truly believe in the value of having a personal plan and I work mine on a daily basis. Thanks for providing such a wealth of information and references here – and thanks for the inspiration!
    marquita herald recently posted…The Secret to Better Writing is …My Profile

    • says

      Marquita, thanks for your encouragement. It’s an honor to associate with you on both our online and offline journeys through life :)

  2. says

    Very comprehensive! Thank you for including IRUNURUN in the mix. We believe deeply that success in work and life are inextricably intertwined, and we encourage people to think big picture and long term…more vision and purpose than short-term goals. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” Hope we can help with focus, consistency, and accountability!

    Travis Dommert
    president | irunurun
    Travis Dommert recently posted…no goals: the greatness methodMy Profile

  3. says

    I really did enjoy the short film. It’s so true. I’ve always thought that today matters, but have never considered that it can influence my life and my success so heavily.

    I have a personal growth plan inside my head, but should take time to actually write it out.
    Anne @ confidence blog recently posted…Caught In A Self-Doubt TrapMy Profile

    • says

      Anne, I know the type of person you are. Once you’ve said you’ll do something, I’m certain you’ll carry it out! I’m excited to hear about your growth as I read your blog and continue to hear from you in the future!

  4. says

    I believe in writing down a plan of action and follow through. The hows always seem to come at the right time. Yes, I make adjustments through this journey and never look back. I agree to have a plan is essential and everyone should be aware of this.

    You have given us a refresher course and a great place for a solid source of good information to help run our businesses.

    You are a remarkable young man and I am honored to be called your friend.
    William Amis recently posted…The BeginningsMy Profile

    • says

      William, you make a great point. We don’t always know the How, but when we write the What and take action backed by faith, it’s amazing how the Hows show up!

  5. says

    I just started my personal growth at a very late age in life. Your post is very informative and helps me break down the tasks I need to do in order to come up with my personal development plan. And putting it in writing is definitely a must.

    • says

      Risa, I can see you are a P90X practitioner! I completed P90X one time a couple of years ago. More recently, I’m considering Insanity :) There’s nothing like going to work on our physical bodies to jump-start personal development in all other areas of our lives.

      • says

        Stephen, actually that’s how I got into the whole personal development, through p90x and coaching. Congrats on completing p90X! It’s my favorite overall workout. Shaun T will have you digging WAY deeper with insanity :) They’re supposed to have some black friday deals coming up, so maybe you can snag something at a good price :)
        Hope you have a great thanksgiving!

  6. says

    I read many blogs and when it comes with self development, I always stop more freequently since it is something that I just love to do my self and support others to do the same and or better.

    Reading this post in regard to Personal Growth and have a Plan.. wow, I heard so many times but this time, thanks to your inspiring words and sharing the video with Dr. Maxwell… for certain it imprinted in me what I need to stay on track… I like the part that it is very important to focus on the “NOW”.

    Your Personal Growth Plan sample helped immensly for me, I did not know how to get started and now I have atemplate… THANKS so much Stephen, I congratulate you for doing what you are doing and always wish you get better and better as you go along supporting others do better in life.

    All the best is everyway and thanks again.
    Nick Catricala recently posted…Heart Attack – How To Avoid ItMy Profile

    • says

      Nick, you’re so kind. I’ve been excited to hear about your own personal growth journey. Together we can touch the world around us for the better! I appreciate your thanks. And I also congratulate you on all the work you are doing for others.

  7. says


    There’s probably enough material in this post for a kick-ass day long seminar. It would certainly be something I would want to attend. The topic is broad enough to encompass every aspect of one’s life yet can be tailored to the individual’s daily agenda. Think of what could be accomplished, especially with young people. I wonder what my life may have been had I had this information and guidance as a young person. WOW!

    Rick Lelchuk recently posted…Are You A Commitment Waiting To Happen?My Profile

    • says

      Rick, the great thing is that our Creator brings along insight to us at just the right moments in our lives. We may have regrets about our past, but He has a wonderful way of restoring the lost years and bringing life into our Present and Future. Thank you for the kind encouragement.

  8. says

    Powerful post Stephen, so much covered in one sitting. I think we can really help our children by helping them deal with their emotions as they grow up and not repress them so that they need thousands of pounds worth of therapy as adults. I had 4 months of therapy for my eating disorder back in the summer, and so much stemmed from childhood – as our parents and grandparents are living longer, I can see why Freud feel out of favour!
    Sarah Arrow recently posted…#Pinterest: the small biz marketing kitMy Profile

    • says

      Sarah, you’re courageous to share your personal struggle with us. And you are the stronger for it. Just think of how many other people you will be able to help through your own struggle. I work with kids quite a bit in therapy, and emotional intelligence is really key: both to kids and adults. Our emotions can either help or hinder us. When we can accept them, learn from them, but not be overwhelmed by them, we can go a long way.

  9. says

    Enjoyed the video and your comments. Thank you Stephen it is never to late to set up a personal development plan and thanks for the template I like it better than the one I was using.
    Lydia Brown recently posted…Solo Ad AdvertisingMy Profile

  10. says

    Hi Stephen:

    This is awesome information! This has been something that I need to be more intentional at. I have found that I have started down this path in the past but then veered off. It is time to head down the path of intentional growth again. :)

    Kevin Martineau recently posted…The rhythms of work and restMy Profile

  11. says

    Hi Stephen,

    WoW, what an informative article, packed with so much useful information and links!

    You suggestion for professional counselling is in my thinking one of the most important ones.

    If we address and clear our ‘past’ then it is like clearing the weeds in the garden first before we plant anything new.

    Thank you for the ‘list of virtues’ link, I enjoyed reading them and visiting that site.

    Much appreciated!

    Love and Light!
    Yorinda recently posted…How to set up your Twitter Header PhotoMy Profile

  12. says

    I love this video…thanks for sharing Dr.Maxwell. To me success is a daily action.

    We must first clean out those past negative thoughts, ideas and actions. And if we cannot, there are so may therapeutic ways to do so. We need to examine our behavior and catch ourselves if we are limiting in any area of life.

    Tomorrow, well that’s a goal to be determined of what we do Today. When living “in the moment” or in the day we can constantly grow, if we put our minds to it.

    I like the Personal Development Template that you have put in the post. It is a great call to action!

    Donna Merrill recently posted…Overcoming OverwhelmMy Profile

  13. says

    A lot of great stuff to consume here Stephen. I especially enjoyed the section “Develop Your Limiting Factors” – I feel like improving our weaknesses improves our balance. If we just try to make strengthen our strengths and neglect our weaknesses, that gap widens and can lead to problems. Always enjoy stopping by your blog.
    Steven Hughes recently posted…SEO Basics: Keep it Simple this year BloggersMy Profile

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