What is professional development?
Professional development is the process of improving and increasing professional capabilities, by developing professional knowledge, skills, competence and effectiveness.
What is personal fulfillment?
The best definition is the shortest. Personal fulfillment means achieving your own goals versus doing what you think others expect you to do (externally set goals).
It means exploring your inner and outer space to understand what you are capable of. Personal fulfillment is an ongoing process of improvement.
I truly believe there is a correlation between PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (performance) and personal fulfillment, between passion and performance.
Our guest today who has founded SD Consulting, a training, coaching and enterprise development consultancy, shows us why it is important to mix passion with pragmatism when it comes to the way we approach work and life.
Skander is passionate about his work, and has a very structured approach when it comes to personal fulfillment and professional development.
He shares a very interesting and somewhat counter intuitive advice to navigate a busy life and be successful with a sense of fulfillment.
Professional Development, Personal Fulfillment, and Passion
What can you tell us about yourself? What are the most interesting events or maybe career changes that you can link back to what you are doing now?
I am Skander DAHANE, I’m 40 years old and I live in Marseille, France.
7 years ago I’ve founded SD Consulting, a Training, Coaching and Enterprise Development Consultancy company working with a team of consultants located abroad.
After a career in various sectors such as Pharmaceutical Industry & Advertising which lead me to live in 4 different countries, I’ve decided to come back to France to create my own company in the Car Rental sector.
As a young entrepreneur, succeeding but also learning from ones mistakes, this adventure has enabled me to gain sufficient experience to decide to work as a Manager for a well-reputed Car Rental Company in Nice Airport as a Branch Manager. This experience can be now qualified as a real turning point in my career and what triggered the awareness of the importance of personal fulfillment and personal development.
Indeed, I found out that I was much more interested in developing humans (making them aware of the importance of self fulfillment, helping them get a sense of purpose and guiding them on the way to personal and professional development, amongst other things) rather than figures. I’ve always believed that the real objectives of a company are qualitative. Once the qualitative objectives are reached, the rest will follow naturally. From my perspective, humans and their self fulfillment, self development and well-being should be in the heart of that qualitative approach of the business.
I then became a Learning & Development Specialist in 2010, working on my own, delivering soft-skills trainings, Sales & Leadership programs throughout the world.
Recently, I’ve started working as an Associate Lecturer, Consultant & Coach at Kedge Business School Career Centre where I’m enabling students, via individual coaching sessions, to identify what motivates and inspires them, where their strengths lie, what skills they need to develop, how to create the career that best suits them and their ambitions, what creates personal fulfillment.
Last but not least, as a certified International Coach Federation Coach, I’ve opened last September, a Coaching firm in Marseille where I’m coaching individuals and professionals in the daily challenges they are facing either at work or in their private life.
That’s a good example of what being busy means. What is your motivation to keep going when the going gets tough? What gives you a sense of personal fulfillment?
I became a Learning & Development Specialist and Coach because I simply don’t see anything more grateful than helping others to use their full potential and to achieve personal and professional development.
A smile, a feeling of pride that can be expressed by someone you’ve coached or developed is the most rewarding experience for me.
I truly believe that there is a correlation between performance and personal fulfillment, between performance and passion.
And why personal fulfillment is important?
I would simply not be able to do what I do without being fulfilled by my job.
Achieving work-life balance might be a myth but finding some balance is important in the long run if you aim for sustainable success.
What are your challenges as a busy entrepreneur and how you overcome them?
As a busy entrepreneur, my main challenge is to switch from busyness to business.
There is no point in being busy if one is not productive. Being productive means revaluating things throughout the day and assessing accurately what is important and differentiate it from what is urgent. Knowing what I want, what I value, helps me in the process.
I’ve learnt how to use my energy at the right time, meaning compartmentalize my time, doing another tasks after 90 min, as I start getting less productive after that amount of time.
I also make sure to use my chronobiology at its best and do concentration tasks in the morning only, admin & appointments in the afternoon, etc.
My other challenge is to combine my thirst for new challenges with a tight schedule, meaning being able to say “no” sometimes to new projects that will be time consuming and/or risky.
I’ve learnt that balance that leads to stability is equal to the sum of intentional imbalances, which means one needs to get off-balance on purpose to reach the next level.
Being off-balance on a daily basis is something I cannot compromise with, however this should not be done at the expense of productivity.
Also, I sort of try to overcome this by planning my work and work my planning on a daily basis.
Related reading: They say, stress is like garbage, it creates problems when it accumulates. As an entrepreneur, you need to deal with stress on a daily basis, but also need to keep your energy levels high and your focus razor sharp. Good relaxation (stress relief) techniques are a must.
Basically, I always use the last 20 min of the day, and the last hour of the week to revaluate tasks I would do the very next day or week, taking into consideration the occurrence percentage of unexpected events, I succeeded in assessing.
I’ve also discovered that it is impossible to manage time. We can optimize it but not manage it.
However, there is room for maneuver when managing my energy. I therefore do pay attention to my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy by doing sports, reading, increasing my self-awareness and practicing mindfulness and success visualization. This helps me achieve a sense of fulfillment even with an extremely hectic schedule.
We talked a bit about why you consider personal fulfillment an important aspect of your life. What would you advise other busy people to do to help them live better and develop this sense of fulfillment?
As an entrepreneur, we can all learn from each other.
I don’t think I have the legitimacy and the right advice to give to busy professionals, since each situation depends on the context the busy professionals who are reading this are working.
Having said that, and what is known for sure, If I had to give only one kind advice to my fellow entrepreneurs reading this, I would say the following: if you are that busy, just do what you like to do and avoid anything you don’t enjoy doing even though money is at stake.
I know this may seem easier said than done and somehow unrealistic for some people. It took me several years to understand this myself.
Here are the lessons that I’ve learned: the more time you spare not doing unpleasant things, the more time you save working on projects you really care for, the more you will be able to work on your self development and the stronger your sense of fulfillment and purpose will be.
And here is where the magic happens. This ability to say no to projects you don’t enjoy is for me the true definition of success, not the money you make by doing things you dislike, because it reinforces your raison d’être, and make yourself aligned with who you are, your values and motivations.
Being aligned with yourself is undoubtedly one of the most pleasant feeling you can have.
To read more about Skander’s work: