Contact Lindsey

How To Help Others By Putting Yourself First

career leadership professional development strategy Jan 11, 2022

I want you to pause for a moment. Now, close your eyes, and imagine yourself a year from now. Where are you? What have you accomplished? How have you grown? Open your eyes. 

As business leaders, it’s easy to put ourselves last. We spend so much time in the weeds of running and growing our companies that we often shortchange our investments in ourselves. Here’s the thing—intentionally setting aside time for personal development isn’t selfish. Your clients, team and even your family benefit when you improve your skills and level up your toolset. 

Intentionally setting aside time for personal development isn’t selfish. Your clients, team and even your family benefit when you improve your skills and level up your toolset.
— Lindsey McMillion Stemann

Consider this my invitation to you—make this year different. I’m talking about more than a resolution, but an actual, rubber-meets-the-road plan. Instead of taking whatever scraps of time and energy you have leftover at the end of the month or year to focus on your own growth, factor in the resources you need from the outset. Go ahead and block a time on your calendar this week to scope out a roadmap for the year. I promise you’ll be glad you did. 

As you craft your personal development plan for the year, keep these tips in mind. 

1. Create a budget. 

Believe it or not, time is not the only expensive part of investing in yourself. Usually, the training you want and need will also come with a dollar price tag, too. In my experience, there’s no “right” amount to spend on yourself. I’ve found value in everything from free podcasts to year-long course subscriptions. 

Start with where you are today and what you can reasonably afford. Maybe this is the year you can swing a several thousand dollar commitment. Or, maybe your budget means finally taking advantage of your company’s full personal development allowance. Whether your budget is a few hundred or tens of thousands of dollars, gaining clarity around the number is often a good place to start. 

2. Be specific about outcomes. 

After you’ve decided on a budget, narrow in on what you want to accomplish. If the idea of defining outcomes overwhelms you, try this. Set a timer for 15 minutes and jot down all the (professional) hopes you have for yourself this year. I encourage you to focus more on who you want to become rather than what you want to do. 

Then, spend another five minutes tossing out the items on your list that are similar. Break down giant hopes into smaller ones. Finally, rewrite your hopes as goals in a list of no more than ten items. 

For reference here’s a glimpse into my personal development goals from years past: 

  • Be able to confidently pitch, land, and speak at an international event 

  • Acquire the skills needed to launch a digital course 

  • Establish a network of women who can provide business support and insight

Once you have defined the specific outcomes you want to achieve, it becomes much easier to identify what kind of personal development tools you might need to make them happen. 

3. Be flexible about methods. 

While the outcomes you’re aiming to achieve will likely stay constant over the course of the year, it’s okay to let the “how” take shape more organically. Give yourself the freedom to try something new—and the freedom to walk away from it, too. What works for other people might not be a great fit for you. For example, I heard great things about the Million Dollar Coach’s Black Belt program, but after giving it a try, I realized I didn’t have the right team at that time to implement the program to its fullest potential. 

It’s okay to know when something’s not quite right for what you want to accomplish. Over time, you’ll gain a sense of what works best to propel you forward toward your goals. Leave room for a little spontaneity, too. You never know where you might uncover a new perspective or the support you needed to progress. 

Looking for help with something specific? Let me know! 

Speaking of personal development, my LinkedInsider blog is a free resource to help you grow and reach your personal goals. Help me make this space as valuable as it can be! I want to hear from you. What topics related to LinkedIn or business do you want to see? Fill out our content survey to let me know.



Join our LinkedInsider newsletter to stay updated on the latest trends and news.

Plus, get a FREE checklist when you sign up!

Don't worry, we're not spam fans either. Unsubscribe at any time.

2541 N. PLEASANTBURG DR. #155, GREENVILLE, SC 29609  |  [email protected]