December 18, 2020

Planning for Personal and Professional Growth as a Digital Entrepreneur in the New Year

Happy New Year! As we look back on the previous year and plan for the year to come, it is important to think about setting goals. Digital entrepreneurs are always looking for the next big product they can create. Being able to evaluate and prioritize the goals in your personal and professional life can save you valuable time. Throughout this article, we will discuss how to assess where you are in life today (your current state) and where you want to be next year (your desired state). We will be using the Personal & Professional Growth Matrix, which you can download for free at the bottom of the page to complete on your own! Let’s get started.

5 Tensions of Growth

To be able to evaluate growth in your personal and professional life, you must first identify 5 categories that will move you forward and hold you back.

Current State

Where are you today? If you were to take a step back and look at your life from the outside, your current state would be where you are at this moment. Emotionally, physically, professionally, all of these categories comprise your current state.

Desired State

What are your dreams? Instead of where you are now, think about where you want to be in one year, 5 years, or even 10 years. This could be a big change like you start your own business and create 2 mobile apps in 5 years or a smaller change such as receiving a business class certification in 1 year.


When you evaluate your life, think of all the things that are preventing you from accomplishing your goals. These things getting in the way are ‘constraints,’ and can range from big to small. A small constraint could be a limited schedule due to family obligations while a big constraint could be a lack of money. Things we can’t change or think we can’t change provide even more backward tension from growth.


Your resources are what help you move from your current state to your desired state, despite your constraints. Resources are what help you move forward and see change. A resource could be a gym membership, a business coach, or even clothes for a new job. Take time to evaluate the resources you have and the ones you need to accomplish your goals. This can be very beneficial in the long run.


Anchors are long-term goals you set to help you reach your desired state. You look forward to your anchors and they help keep you motivated along the way. If your desired state involves creating an app, an anchor for you could be completing a coding class. The forward tension of combining Resources with Anchors produces the maximum effect in moving from Current State to Desired State.

Evaluating Your Personal Growth

Now that we have covered the categories of growth, let’s discuss the sections you should evaluate in your personal life. Try to be as open and honest with yourself while filling this out. It will be a great guide for you to reference as you plan for the future.

Heart and Spirit

The first state to evaluate is your heart and spirit. This is your relationship with a higher spiritual being or with nature. What do you look up to at a higher level? Who do you look to for guidance and inner peace?

Body, Mind, and Self

The relationship with yourself is very important. Take time to view your physical body, your emotional state, and your mental state through the lens of the growth matrix. Your desired state could involve a fitness goal or a hobby you want to start. Don’t feel selfish for devoting time to work on you – spending time in this category will benefit all other categories!

Inner Circle and Loves

Now that you have thought about yourself, it is time to think about the people around you who support and uplift you. How are your relationships with your family and best friends? They make up your inner circle and are who you would be able to call on during hard times. If you sense a lack of meaningful relationships in your life, how can you change that?

Outer Circle and Social Life

After your inner circle comes your outer circle. These tend to be larger groups of people who still hold an important place in your life, but that doesn’t normally consist of deep relationships. For example, this could be the church you attend, your coworkers, or a group of friends from college you still keep in contact with.

Work-Life and Career

The final category to evaluate is your work-life and career. Where do you want to be in your career in the next 1, 5, or 10 years? How do those goals affect your personal life? It can be helpful to compare the goals of your career with the other 4 categories to see how you can devote ample resources and energy to each one without getting stressed or burnt out.

The 5 categories work together to shape your personal life. When one category is lacking, your personal life can suffer. Have you noticed an off-balance in your personal life because you are not providing the time and energy to a specific part?

Evaluating Your Professional Growth as an Entrepreneur

Although your personal and professional life overlap, your goals for growth tend to be different. Completing the growth matrix is a great way to start a conversation with your coworkers or supervisor about what you want to see in the future. Here are the topics to consider:

My Goals

As a professional, it is important to have a list of goals you are working towards. Because your personal and professional goals coincide, writing them out side by side can help you evaluate how attainable they are. Do you want to increase your sales numbers or earn a promotion? Add those as your goals!

My Role

Your role is where you currently are in the company. Try to go deeper than just simply stating your job title. If your title is ‘Software Engineer,’ how do you feel like you could improve? What is the natural next step your career should take?

My Team

When you think about your professional growth, you have to consider your relationship with your coworkers. Working together as a cohesive team is important and without those friendly relationships, your work (and the overall work of the office) could falter. The desired state for your relationships with your team could be to mend bridges and know more about those you work with. How could you achieve this goal with the help of those in your office?

My Leaders

If you don’t trust the leaders of your company, how will you feel secure in your career? If you are the leader, how do you want your staff to view you? Each relationship needs solid communication and visibility — two things you can strive for in the desired state of your relationship.

My Company

When you wake up each morning, are you excited for the workday? This overall feeling can come from experiencing a healthy work environment where the policies and processes uplift and encourage employees. Improvements for the overall view of the company are something the whole team should work on. Great ways to boost the morale of the company are team lunches and retreats. Surveys can also be helpful to let team members voice concerns anonymously.

My Clients

Even the best companies, with the best work environment, struggle with creating strong relationships with their clients. Evaluate the current state of your client relationships and brainstorm how you can improve those in the year to come. Keeping high standards of visibility and communication can make a big impact overall. Your desired state (better client relationships) can lead to more money coming in!

Now that we have covered each section in the matrix, you have a better understanding of what to consider when setting personal and professional goals. Download our free worksheet, fill it out, and share it with your family and coworkers. They will help keep you accountable for reaching your desired state.

Review your growth matrix at the end of the year and celebrate the progress you made, big and small. We suggest filling out the worksheets every year, even if you think it will stay the same. Your goals will change and it can be helpful to see that mapped out!

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