Self-Development: Is Now Your Time?

Self-development. Self-reformation. Self-advancement. Self-improvement. These words have been used endlessly since the start of the pandemic – and we’re not talking about a lockdown DIY haircut! Many people have taken the opportunity to dig deep and develop themselves both professionally and mentally.

Others, however, have hesitated, and that’s understandable. After all, investing in yourself is a big, time-consuming, and in some cases costly, commitment. That’s why we’re taking a look at the reasons for self-development, along with the potential barriers and how to work through them.

The importance of self-development

There are endless advantages that link to the significance of self-improvement. For example:


Many people’s education stops at a degree, A Levels or perhaps even GCSEs/O Levels, as that might be the requirement for a first job. But to be competitive in your chosen vocation, you need to continuously develop, otherwise you risk getting left behind. Every industry has standards, it’s up to you to keep up to date with them.


You should have specific skills and expertise that are applicable to what’s happening in the present. Think about digital capabilities – these are forever advancing, and the employees who succeed in this area are the ones who keep pace with the changing landscape. Stay updated with trends too – that knowledge will get you far.


Self-development enables you to make a greater contribution. It can lead to new opportunities and career progression, potentially allowing you to climb the ladder into leadership or coaching positions. Plus, it’ll help keep you intrigued and motivated in your role. You’ll feel more confident and perhaps perform better.

Barriers to self-improvement

It’s clear that there are a lot of reasons for self-improvement. Yet, even with this strong rationale, people struggle to take action. Barriers sometimes include:


For many, a certain amount of time may have passed since your previous education, so you might not feel confident enough to develop yourself. It’s quite easy to believe you can’t do something.

To climb over this hurdle, we’ll use the words of Vincent Van Gogh: “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” Essentially, you need to bite the bullet and just do it.

Academic mindset

A lack of confidence can stem from the amount of time you’ve spent in the working world. Maybe you now see yourself as just a practical person. But in reality, you can be both. 

Whilst it takes time to adapt back into education, it’s by no means impossible. To quote Kakuzo Okakura: “The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.” Think back to other things you’ve adapted to. You flex all the time; learning is no different.


When you were last in education, you might not have had a full-time job and various other responsibilities. So the idea of adding something else to your plate could put you off. 

Borrowing the words of Winston Churchill: “Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.” It’s all about time management – you may have to delegate and talk to others to ensure you have the time you need.

Employer fear

Perhaps the biggest barrier to professional development is asking your employer if you can do it, regardless of whether or not the programme costs. For this, it’s all about great communication. 

As John Powell said: “Communication works for those who work at it.” We’ll be talking more about how to approach your employer for investment in training over on our blog

Support from The Manufacturing Institute

In the meantime, if you’ve decided you’re ready to begin your self-development journey, take a look at our courses. We offer programmes on an Accelerated Route to Lean Manufacturing and an MSc in Manufacturing Leadership.

And if you have any questions or would like further information, just speak to our team today.

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