6 Areas of Whole Person Development: Professional


Whole Person Development is the concept that individuals are complex beings who are heavily influenced by a variety of internal factors both in and outside of the workplace. The six aspects of Whole Person Development are emotional intelligence, physical, spiritual, social, psychological, and professional. To achieve our goals and attain a level of personal fulfillment, we must cultivate each of the six areas of ourselves and ensure we are living in congruence with our dreams and aspirations. This article will explore the components of the professional aspect of Whole Person Development.


What is the Professional Aspect?

On the surface, the professional aspect of Whole Person Development is as simple as thinking about your career path, and where you see yourself in the future. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. To adequately assess your professional aspect, you must explore the real meaning behind what you do and how you do it. You must ask yourself: How do I define my success?


Your Definition of Success

Success is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “favorable or desired outcome,” which is subjective at best. What you perceive as a favorable outcome for yourself may be different than that of your friends and colleagues. Your definition of success is personal based on your goals and what brings you joy and satisfaction. The differences between your definition of success, and what it means to other people is just a small part of what makes our society interesting. Variety is the spice of life, after all.

Not only will your definition of success vary from that of your peers, but it will also change to reflect different stages of your life. What was success for you at 22 will likely be different at 32, 42, and so on. For example, at 22 success may be defined as landing a job in your chosen field and scurrying up the career-ladder through long hours and hard work. At 42 you may define success as spending less time at the office and finding a positive balance between work and home life.


Performing Versus Improving

In Change Your Lens, Change Your Perspective, photographer DeWitt Jones reminisces about his first day of work with National Geographic. Upon meeting the CEO, he was told “I don’t care how you perform; I’m not going to put expectations on you.  But, I do want you to improve. If you’re not improving you won’t be working here for long.” This guidance is a great lesson for everyone.

When you take a moment to consider your definition of success, you should also evaluate what actions you are taking to focus on improving versus performing. Remember, performance will always be about impressing other people. Improving will always focus on your inner self and will challenge you to evaluate how you are making yourself better. Focusing on improving will result in better performance and recognition for your efforts.


Challenge Yourself

Many of these questions— How am I improving? How do I define my success? — are conceptual and high-level approaches to growing your professional aspect. A more substantial question with which you should begin this process is: Where do I want to be in my career? Asking these questions allows us to create a foundation for writing goals, a practice which most people neglect. When you write down your goals, you make a commitment. You commit to your career, your vitality, your impact, and yourself.

When it comes to goal setting, it’s best to start small. Take some time to write down a couple goals on which you will direct your focus until they are achieved. Remember to practice SMART goal setting: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.  When you accomplish these goals, set new ones and shift your focus to their completion. In time, goal setting will become routine.

The professional aspect of Whole Person Development starts and ends with you, so why not take that first step today and set yourself up for a better tomorrow?



Meredith Wailes is the President of Bloom Leadership, a cutting-edge platform for business growth with a focus on Whole Person Development. Meredith is a founding member and Chair of Membership for the Private Directors Association and creator of “SeeD”, a scholarship fund dedicated to female leaders who manage, operate, and/or own for-profit businesses in Charlotte, NC. For more information visit Meredith on LinkedIn and Twitter.