5 Ways Personal Development Catapults Your Remote Career (+ How to Start)

Remote Job HuntingWorking Remotely

Want to reach your professional goals? Don’t underestimate the power of personal development for your remote career. Learn what it is, why it works, and how to begin:

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How does spending time on personal development improve your career as a remote worker?

Personal development is the lifelong process of one-upping your skills to grow and achieve your goals.

These practices range from self-help tips to tap-into-your-potential techniques that may catapult your professional and personal life to great heights.

However, many remote workers sadly backburner personal development, assuming it costs too much or takes too much time. 

But author Suzanne Glover counters that this time spent working on yourself is time well-spent. According to a study she shared, people who took personal development seriously:
  • Became healthier and fitter (33%)
  • Gained more self-confidence (52%)
  • Significantly lowered their stress levels (57%)
  • Had better relationships with their family (33%)
  • Improved their overall quality of life (47%)

Perks like those helped 25% of participants earn more money. And that’s not the only impact personal development can have on your career.

5 Ways Personal Development Improves Your Remote Career

If your employer doesn’t offer personal development opportunities, it’s still in your best interest to pursue them off the clock -- this is especially true as a remote worker. That’s because personal development helps you:

1. Figure Out Who You Are and What You Want

Many people feel unsatisfied in their careers because they never took the time to figure out what they actually want to do or what they’d enjoy doing. 

Instead, they end up taking jobs just for the sake of earning an income or other employment benefits. But after a few weeks, months, or years, they find themselves bored, unfulfilled, and stuck.

So a major focus during personal development is learning how to identify your goals, strengths/weaknesses, and likes/dislikes. Gaining greater awareness about yourself and your needs will help point you in the right direction.

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You may find that what you went to school for isn’t what you truly enjoy doing. Or you may learn that your skills don’t really mesh with the roles you’re chasing or currently in.

Personal development will help uncover what excites you and makes you feel alive. Once in this sweet spot, you’ll finally understand when people say, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Plus, the more you know about yourself, the more you can carve out your ideal lifestyle and thrive as remote worker.

2. Set Achievable Career Goals

As you start learning more about your life goals, you’ll be able to plot milestones you want to reach in your professional life. These transcend simply climbing the corporate ladder until you’re at the top.

The vision you have of your career should represent everything you hope to accomplish before you hit retirement. 

Yes, they may include a fancy C-level title and a cushy corner office. But they should also encompass wishes like working abroad, volunteering for a nonprofit, getting a startup off the ground, mentoring underserved communities, etc.

Setting these expectations -- and achieving them -- helps you grow both personally and professionally. And each win builds motivation to launch you toward the next career milestone.

3. Sharpen Your Skills to Land a Job or Advance In Your Career Faster

Skilled, multi-talented individuals are always the first to get snatched up during hiring, especially when it comes to remote work. And employees contributing to areas outside of their regular job responsibilities tend to land promotions quickly and earn more money. 

So do you rely on the skills you learned ten years ago, or do you make an active effort to upgrade your knowledge and expand your expertise?

The answer is clear: having fresh, up-to-date skills ensures that you’re adapting with the changing times, which is something every remote worker should focus on. This will enable you to progress in your career and land remote jobs that are more competitive. 

In doing this, you’ll also discover which new skills you’ll need to learn and which existing ones need sharpening during personal development. The more in-demand skills you can add to your tool belt, the more attractive you’ll become to employers hiring remote workers, which will help you move up in your career and earn a higher salary.

Pro tip: If you don't have remote experience, including any sort of remote learning in your CV will give you a leg up.

4. Improve Time Management for a Better Work-Life Balance

Finding time to work on personal development may seem impossible with your already busy schedule. But in that study mentioned earlier, 60% of people achieved a better work-life balance as a result of personal development[*].
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When you carve out dedicated time to improve yourself, you may stop wasting time constantly checking emails and social media, for example. Eliminating these distractions will help you better manage your time and focus so you can accomplish much more. 

This discipline becomes a skill you can use throughout your professional life and it’s one every remote worker needs to master since distractions are all over the place when you don’t work in a traditional office setting. You’ll notice higher productivity rates and better engagement, which may leave more time for personal activities each day.

5. Boost Self-Esteem and Mental Health

Ever suffer from imposter syndrome? If you do, it may be hard to shake the feeling of not being “good enough” without the help of personal development.

During this process, you can dive into what’s making you feel inadequate. Then you’ll be able to address and tackle these issues to become an unstoppable force that can’t be messed with.

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As mentioned earlier, learning new skills or beefing up the ones you already have builds self-esteem, confidence, and motivation, all of which are amazing for your mental health.

No matter where you need help, there are plenty of excellent resources to learn from. The even better news? Many personal development tools are totally free.

How to Start Your Personal Development Journey Today

You don’t need to spend a fortune on career coaching or expensive classes to tackle personal development the right way. There are a ton of affordable options that can help you improve your life right now, such as:

Pick Up a Book or Ebook from the Library

Did you know you can borrow ebooks from your library without ever leaving the house? Pass your COVID-19 isolation time learning from experts in self-help, professional progress, or your specific area of expertise. 

Challenge yourself to read at least one book per week, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the skills you quickly amass. 

Need a few recommendations? Check out the 20 best personal development books in this roundup from Book Riot.

Sign Up for Free Webinars

Webinars or affordable online classes are usually cheaper and less time-consuming than meeting one-on-one with a career coach. A quick online search for free personal development courses should supply a steady stream of classes you can take risk-free.

If you want to focus on your career specifically, try searching for personal development webinars with your industry keywords. So, for example, “human resources webinar” or “personal development courses for programmers.”

Tune Into TED Talks, Podcasts, and Professional YouTube Videos

Did you know there are almost 250 TED Talks about personal growth? You’ll find everything from how to know when it’s time to change careers to how you personally define success and so much more.

Podcasts and YouTube are also full of actionable personal development advice. Again, all it takes to get started is a quick search to find the expert who speaks to you.

Take Online Quizzes

Online quizzes from reputable sources (i.e., not Buzzfeed’s Which Game of Thrones Character are You?) can help you identify strengths/weaknesses, career paths, and other parts of your personality you may not have connected with before.

Sites like 16 Personalities and FiveThirtyEight offer free basic quizzes to get you started.

Check Out the Skills Required for Your Dream Job

Reading descriptions for remote jobs currently out of your league is one of the best ways to assess your skill set. When you know the skills employers are looking for, you’ll know which areas to tackle first. 

Get in the habit of checking out jobs on We Work Remotely with a notebook. Write down the skills or expertise requirements you need, and make those your first priority.

As you can see, personal development has the power to improve your remote career in so many ways. And now that you know how to begin, it’s up to you to get started. Commit today, and you’ll be amazed at where you are in the next few weeks, months, or years.

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