One of the steps in creating a personal and professional development plan is to identify the gap between where you are right now and where you wish to be instead. Closing the gap on your personal and professional development is a key component of your overall career plan. Some gaps can be closed through training, certification, and education. While other gaps may be closed through appropriate work experience and assignments. Many gaps can be closed through good coaching and mentoring.
One of the often-overlooked methods of personal and professional development is through reading good non-fiction books. Reading is easy, low-cost and can be incorporated into your regular daily, weekly, monthly routines based on time you have available. A colleague of mine, one of the smartest, most successful women I know, regularly reads 2-3 books per month. Although she doesn’t have a college degree, she can speak to anyone about almost any topic based on the wealth of knowledge she has accumulated through reading.
Here are some book ideas to get you thinking and incorporating into your personal and professional development plan:
- Be more productive with “The Now Habit” by Neil Fiore or “A Whole New Mind” by Daniel Pink or “Atomic Habits” by James Clear.
- Get Creative with “A Whack on the Side of the Head (How You Can Be More Creative)” by Roger Von Oech or “The Artist’s Way (A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity” by Julia Cameron.
- Think (or rethink?) how you live with books like “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan or “Slow Food: Collected Thoughts on Taste, Tradition, and the Honest Pleasures” by Carlo Petrini or “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America” by Barbara Ehrenreich or “Doughnut Economics” by Kate Raworth or “The Life You Were Born to Live” by Dan Millman.
- Get personally inspired with “Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts” and “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown, or “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl or “Fail Fast, Fail Often: How Losing Can Help You Win” by Ryan Babineaux.
- Up-skill yourself with “Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most” by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen or “Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depends on it” by Chris Voss or “Trust and Betrayal in the Workplace” by Dennis and Michelle Reina or “Managing Up and Across: Build Relationships, Herd Cats, Gain Influence” by Harvard Business Review.
- Learn about the human mind with “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell or “The Whole Brain Child” by Daniel J. Siegel MD and Tina Payne Bryson, PhD or “Mindset” by Carol Dweck or “Talking to Strangers: What we Should Know About the People we Don’t Know” by Malcolm Gladwell.
- Get healthier with “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams” by Matthew Walker PhD or “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay.
- Be more confident and discover your strengths with “The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know” by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman or “Now, Discover Your Strengths (How to Develop Your Talents and Those of the People You Manage)” by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton or “The Passion Test” by Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood.
- Finally, read memoirs or biographies! Choose someone you admire, get inspired and learn how other people think – and live their lives. I really enjoyed “Becoming” by Michelle Obama and “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson or “The Life of My Teacher: A Biography of Kyabje Ling Rinpoche” by H.H. the Dalai Lama.
Reading one book will expand your mind, reading several of these books is going to make you more interesting, help you learn new skills – and maybe even make you more employable too!
If you would like some coaching and mentoring to develop your personal and professional development or career plan, I’m here to help. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 416-617-0734.
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