7 Tips To Guide You Through Personal Development
In my 20s, I went through a dark period of my life. I suffered a massive injury that caused permanent damage to a nerve in my left leg. A long-time relationship ended abruptly. My career was stagnant as I was close to $100,000 in debt. Overall my headspace was not in a good place. Life seemed grim. I don’t often share this part of my life, but I recall standing on a bridge overlooking the heavy Toronto traffic. A thought passed through my mind, “If I jumped down in front of traffic would it feel anything, or would I die instantly.” I get tearful sometimes when I think about it, as I know I was just a poor decision away from ending it all. That day a friend invited me to an Anthony Robbins 4-Day Immersion seminar. I knew nothing about motivation or personal self-development; however, I know one thing. It saved my life.
That evening I agreed to attend the 4-day seminar to listen to this giant man jumping up and down, screaming profanities yet dropping truth bombs on achieving our goals. From that weekend onwards, I have been committed to personal self-development.
For those who have never delved into this world, on the surface, it can seem hokey, corny or even cultish. I felt the same way until I saw the value of thinking positively and committing to improving yourself every day.
This topic of self-development can encompass anything that involves your transformation as a person. It means becoming the best you can be and reaching your potential. Your life and circumstances improve when you become a ‘better’ person than you were yesterday (this does not mean better than another person). Becoming better than yesterday is usually achieved by looking internally and changing how you act externally. Before this mindset, I would compare myself to others with curiosity, admiration and sometimes envy. However, personal self-development is about becoming a better person, not becoming better than another person.
When it comes to pursuing your dreams and going after your goals, planning what you intend to do is essential. Writing down what you want is the first step. It’s no different when it comes to your self-development. Everything must be intentional. Nothing great is accomplished by accident. Plan for it. Keep it brief and monitor what happens. Write down the results in a diary. Writing down what you want and what you get clarifies your thought process and cements your intention. You are allowed to change or adjust your plan whenever you wish. If there is no success despite following your plan, that’s your signal to review what you have done or to change your strategy.
Here are seven tips to consider for your self-development plan:
1. Start Now
Commit and do something about your development plan today. It will take some time to achieve lasting change, so you must start now. You can build on what you do today and tomorrow. Don’t become a pro at procrastination! These actions can be small incremental steps toward a goal. Often we feel progress must be a grand gesture. However, the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”– Abraham Lincoln.
2. Seek the wisdom of others
I can’t recall who said it, but I once read a quote that stated, “A fool learns nothing. A smart man learns from his mistakes. A wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” You gain from other people’s success, and you can learn from their mistakes. You can accelerate your development by seeking mentorship. Finding mentors can come from paid mentorship programs, peers, books, courses and videos. There is valuable wisdom from the greats condensed between the pages of some fantastic books or documented on film. Your own experiences are harsh teachers, so learn from the mistakes of others to ease the struggle. Life can be a humble and honest teacher. Combine your own experience with the wisdom of others, and your learning curve will be steep. I never had the money to afford mentorship, so I dove deep into books. Go to any bookstore and see the massive section on personal self-development. This movement is growing, so there’s no excuse not to access the wisdom at your fingertips.
3. Learn to Pivot and embrace change.
Aside from death and taxes, the other constant in the world is changing. Our world constantly evolves, whether in technology, societal trends, economic conditions or spiritual awakenings. Even if you do nothing, you will change by default as the world turns. There is no escape from this. If people and ideas hadn’t changed, we would still live in caves. Your self-development plan must include how you will change and what action you will take. Why do you need to change? What areas do you need to improve on to adapt to change? Who are the people I need to meet to help me grow? Where will the most significant growth in my life come from? How will I feel once my transformation is complete? Only thoughts lead to action, which in turn leads to results.
“The secret of change is to focus your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new.” -Socrates.
4. Own it and Be Accountable
There are two key numbers to remember in life. 0 and 100. In life, you have zero excuses and are 100% responsible for your results. You are responsible for your progress. You are responsible for what you are today and where you are today. No IFs, ANDs and or BUTs. We are all given the same 24 hours a day. How you use it is entirely up to you. The most successful people in the world maximize their time and are accountable for their actions. That means it’s your job to initiate the steps involved in your development plan. If you don’t bother, no one else will. It also means you own the result, and no one else is to blame.
Own it. Every action and reaction is entirely up to you.
5. Be Intentional
“You do not decide your future.
You decide your habits. Your habits decide your future.” Whatever you intend becomes your reality. Whatever you repeatedly think becomes a habit. Find your true intention before you resolve to do something, and make sure you want what you say you want. If your goal and purpose are not aligned, you’ll think up lots of excuses and situations to prevent your progress. Ask yourself, “Is what I am doing advancing me forward and adding to my goals, or is it taking away from my goals.” “Are my actions in alignment with who I want to become?”
Be mindful of what you do, or you may end up somewhere you didn’t intend to be.
6. Embrace discomfort and Challenge Yourself
“The human body can withstand and accomplish much more than most of us think possible, and it all begins and ends with the mind.”
David Goggins said this quote. Arguably one of the toughest men in the world. His motto is to embrace pain and call the mind through pain and suffering. Your goals need to be just out of reach. You’re setting yourself up for failure if you reach an impossible target. If you stick to what’s easy, you’re denying yourself the satisfaction of achievement, and only minimal change will occur. Find that middle ground with a stretch goal in your self-development. Seek discomfort as growth happens just at the end of your comfort zone.
7. Be relentless in pursuing your passion
If you are passionate about something, it’s almost obsessive. Spending day and night thinking, doing and acting upon it isn’t a chore. It may not be easy, but it is enjoyable. It’s no good doing things that you don’t like. Choose actions that appeal to you and align with your values, belief and vision of who you want to be. Be stubborn and determined in the pursuit of your passion.
Pick people that you will enjoy being on your journey. Make sure you’re following your heart while not running from the challenging issues. Become a Master in the Art of Living where people can’t tell if you’re working or playing because, to you, you’re always doing both!
There’s no such thing as finished personal self-development. You can continue learning, changing and renewing for all of your life. The journey of personal self-development is becoming the best version of yourself. It’s not necessarily about an end goal but becoming someone who can accomplish whatever they want. So take this journey seriously. Take it personally. Allow yourself to be uncompromised and unwavering. Ultimately, the person you become will thank you for starting and never giving up on this fantastic journey.