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Self-Care: Developing Your Purpose

October 4, 2017

By Rachel Kuliani, MPH, CHES

When we think about our health and wellbeing, we do not always consider the impact of Personal and Professional Development. Duke Integrative Medicine’s Wheel of Health includes this as an integral part of our overall health, on par with other areas such as Nutrition, Physical Environment, and Mind-Body Connection. Personal and Professional Development refers to the activities that provide overall meaning and purpose in your life. Your personal definition of this area is unique to you, and may include your chosen profession, work colleagues, family, volunteering, and other activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.

How do you optimize your Personal and Professional Development?

Consider what brings satisfaction, joy, and purpose to your life.

In envisioning these areas, you might reflect and write about your responses to the following questions:

  • What is present in your life now that you find fulfilling?
  • How could you do more of these rewarding activities?
  • What personal or professional dreams have you let go of in the past that would add meaning to your day?
  • What deeply held values are linked to your unfulfilled dreams?
  • What alternative paths might be possible for making progress towards those dreams?

Identify areas for growth and learning.

In assessing where your current knowledge, competence, and skills are, along with where you would like them to be, you may find there are areas in which you would benefit from additional training. Continuing education can be valuable whether you are interested in changing careers, advancing in your current career, or wanting to improve your effectiveness in your current role. When thinking outside of the box, you may discover there are not only technical skills you want to develop, but also non-technical skills that provide both personal and professional value.

Partner with a mentor.

Another way to discover and advance your personal and professional goals is to receive mentoring. Partnering with someone who can relate to you and provide advice based on their own experiences is invaluable. This advice may be specific and technical related to your job role, or it could be bigger picture regarding your long-term career goals. A mentor can provide a sounding board for any challenges you encounter along the way and help to guide you through possible solutions. A supportive mentoring relationship can help to improve your job-related wellbeing, self-esteem, confidence, productivity, and preparedness to meet your future career goals (Quinn 2012).

Are you a health coach interested in mentoring to up-level your coaching skills?

Duke’s Integrative Health Coach Professional Training (IHCPT) Program supports our student health coaches with individual mentoring during the Certification Course. Just as the integrative health coaching process focuses on personal growth and making sustainable changes, our coaches in the Certification Course work with their individual mentor instructor to discover the next steps forward to improve their coaching skills and effectiveness. If you are a health coach looking to grow professionally, register now for the IHCPT Certification Course. The last day to register for the October 2017 course is Friday, October 6.


  1. University of Southampton. Professional Development: The benefits of a mentoring relationship. Accessed 10/3/2017.
  2. Quinn, J. (2012) Mentoring: progressing women’s careers in higher education. Accessed 10/3/2017.


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