Small Steps to a Big Future: A Personal Development Framework

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Ambitious Millennials are always looking for ways to excel in their careers. I am no different. Reflecting upon my accelerated eight-year career in the High Tech industry, along with assistance from a number coaches and advisors, the following framework defines the steps I am taking to build a big future. Essentially, the ‘Small Steps to a Big Future’:

Foundation: Personal Development

The foundations are based upon aspects of work and personal life which have become evidently important in building a solid career upon. Not only from my own experience but justified by science. These foundations are essentially the building blocks of future development:

Health and Wellness

Our health presents us with the potential to deliver exceptional results. Ensuring we live healthily means we will live longer and be generally more energetic. Living a more healthy oriented life can mean a number of things. Exercising andEating Healthily is key to success in this area. What this does not mean is eating salad and running a marathon every day. A balance healthy is key.

Work-Life Balance

A balance between work and life presents us with a healthy view of been able to enjoy our work whilst also been able to switch off to live our personal lives. The last thing we should be doing is working 18 hours a day and sleeping for 6 hours. We need to ensure Family and Friend time. Live life a little. What this does notmean is working to a rigid schedule. Be flexible in both work and life.

Emotional Intelligence

EQ is playing a more important role in the business world as a means of understanding, interpreting and acting according to situations. Interactions are often more than 80% non-verbal whilst been around 20% of spoken word. So why are we not paying more attention to peoples Body Language, Tone of Voice orSignals? What this does not mean is that you need to give up all educational venture and become all emotional… just pay attention to others.


Meditation is becoming a massive industry throughout the whole World. People are beginning to realise that taking time out by been Mindful, Listening Intently and focusing on Empathy create much better results. Both personally and professional. What this does not mean is that you need to resign and move to a Buddhist colony.

Excellence: Professional Career

Building a house without solid foundations is not ideal. The same with propelling towards Excellence. Living a healthy life will bring the best out of us all. As scientific evidence is suggesting, so will a strong Emotional Intelligence. Yet the phases to build on the foundations are equally important. These are essentially the ‘what I want to achieve’ aspect of my career:


There is a historic debate of whether leaders are born or made. A question never really answered. Yet key skills of leaders can be taught through a variety of mediums. The key is to understanding you leadership Capabilitiesand Opportunities. What this does not mean is that you suddenly need to think about becoming the next CEO, but just be mindful of where you can be leading from the front.

Industry / Capability Innovator

People careers follow a specialist or generalist pathway. My view is generalists creates the best results. The opportunity to expertly know about specific verticals but be able to draw upon an array of external Expertise, Services andKnowledge to innovate and disrupt industries. Take Uber for example… Travis Kalinic knew very little about the Taxi industry before massively disrupting it! What this does not mean is that you must become the next Steve Wosniak, but just think about things differently across a broad industry spectrum. Chances are there are ways to innovate in what you do today.

Public Speaking

A demonstration of a level of knowledge is an ability to publically advise and educate others in a specific area. This can be an interest rather than expertise. Generally, Public Speaking creates new Opportunities to deliver your message whilst developing New Skills. What this does not mean is that you must become a master public speaker and vie to speak at every high profile event. Selective propositions are key.

Self-Realisation: The Future

The tip of the framework is essentially the pursuit of a true passion. Naturally, you need to both have a high interest and competence of your target to make it feasible. Yet we also often have no idea what our ‘calling’ is in life. Sometimes it comes from a young age and built upon years of experience. Other times it is built upon a chance opportunity:

Industry / Capability Best in Class

Expanding upon the ‘Innovator’ tag, the ‘Best in Class’ becomes a natural progression from all second tier developments. This is essentially where you become a World beater by Key Skills Development, Applying Experiencesand Expanding Presence. Think Steve Wozniak again… he was a ‘best-in-class’ innovator albeit a developer too. Elon Musk is a ‘best-in-class’ visionary but also a profound business leader and professional. What this does not mean is that you must become a specialist in a specific area but compliment your interests and expertise to deliver ‘best in class’ benefits to other areas.

Start-Up Progression

Exciting start-up ventures often arise out of frustration within current industries. Or even industries which may be seen as widely disruptable. Moving into the start-up space presents risks but also a vast opportunity. The key questions are to understand what Value-Add you have and what Disruption Opportunityexists. What this does not mean is that you need to quit your job tomorrow and follow an unknown path to unlikely happiness. Take your time, validate and move forward when appropriate

About The Author

Stephen Baines is a Senior Management Consultant and MBA currently working for Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and pursuing a number of external entrepreneurial ventures. The views within this post are explicitly those of Stephen and have no representation of any organisation Stephen represents. If you wish to contact Stephen, please contact him via LinkedIn or his Twitter handle (@baines1986).

Read more about Stephen at Stephen’s personal website

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#Mentoring #CareerManagement #FutureTrends #Innovation #Leadership

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