In this article:
- What is Personal Development?
- Developing a Quick and Easy Personal Development Plan
- 7 tips for Personal Development
- Personal Development in Action
- Final Thoughts
I have had this topic on my content list for a while now. However, a recent encounter indicated to me that it was time to write about it. A colleague indicated, that she was thinking of passing up an opportunity offered to her to work in another department. This is a colleague who is very good at what she does in her current position and who is also extremely reliable. But she feared leaving her comfort zone and learning new things. I encouraged her to seize the opportunity, as she is being given a chance to learn something new and to grow.
Often times many of us find ourselves in a comfort zone. We are comfortable, content and may even think ourselves to be happy. Everything is familiar; we feel safe and secure. But life can become boring and mundane when lived from our comfort zone. Don’t you think? Not only that, but when we remain stuck in our comfort zone, we become stunted. We don’t try or discover new things, explore, take any risk and most importantly we don’t challenge ourselves, learn or grow.
What is Personal Development?
To grow there must be learning and learning always brings growth. Personal development/growth is essential to our human existence. It is essential to us living a satisfying and fulfilling life. It is also a lifelong process. Just think about it. Your body grew and developed, you did not stay a babe; so does every living thing around us. I like to say that, “where there is no growth there is no life.”
Personal development/growth keeps us striving to be our best selves, striving towards self-improvement, striving towards growing our capabilities and potential, striving towards becoming bigger, better and stronger.
I am of the belief that personal development has to be intentional, it is not automatic. The only part of us that grows on auto is our physical bodies. Everything else, has to be purposefully done, it has to be done with intention, and don’t forget, effort. Personal development takes work, but it is worth it.
Jim Rohn said, “The greatest gift you can give somebody is your own personal development.” I am expanding that to say, “the greatest gift you can give yourself and another person, is your personal development.” I firmly believe this. Both yourself and others, especially those you care most about, benefit from your personal development.
Personal development is not limited to any one area of your life but encompasses all areas of your life. Spiritual, emotional, mental, intellectual, professional, financial, health, family and relationships; any area of your life that you can think of. In order to not overwhelm yourself however, it is advisable to not attempt to work on everything all at once.
Developing a Quick and Easy Personal Development Plan
- Identify the areas in which you are most challenged or the areas you most want to work on or the areas that will bring you the greatest reward, fulfillment or satisfaction.
- Clearly identify where you are and where you want to be. In other words, what improvements do you want to see.
- Based on where you want to be, determine what are the options for getting there. Select the options that work best for you.
- Write down your plan of action. Be as creative as you like with this step.
- Test your plan to make sure it is SMART. Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Attainable, Realistic/Relevant, Timed (a time by which you want to accomplish this level of growth).
Remember, be patient with yourself, because learning some things may take longer than others. There is also no rush to do it all at once, personal development is a lifelong process. Take it a little at a time and draw strength and encouragement from each milestone.
Here are 7 tips for Personal Development
- Refine and develop your existing skills, talents and natural abilities.
- Learn new things. This can range from learning a new skill that would be useful on your job to learning a new language, to taking an online course. Just keep learning.
- Read! Read! Read! Through reading we expand our minds, our knowledge and our worldview. Through reading we learn and even see the world. One book I strongly recommend to you is, How Successful People Grow by John Maxwell.
- Do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, nothing interesting happens there. Most importantly you won’t grow there. Try something new. Take the leap and do something that you have been afraid to do.
- Stretch yourself. Think about a rubber band. It is only useful when it is stretched. Set goals that will stretch you, goals that will cause you to expand. Remember also that stretching will require change. When a rubber band is stretched, it never stays the same, it changes in order to rise to the challenge it has been given.
- Look for opportunities to learn and grow. Seek out new projects and opportunities. There is also a lesson to be learned from every challenge or difficulty you face. Every opportunity that comes your way, even your disappointments provide a chance to learn. Every failure is a chance to learn. One of my favorite quotes says, “failure is an event, not a person.”
- Practice self-awareness and regular self-evaluation. Know yourself. Know what you would like to do, know where you would like to go, know your passions and your purpose. Get to know yourself as you would get to know someone you have just met or even someone you have known for a long time and care deeply about. Know thy self! Do regular self-evaluations. This way you can track your progress, become aware of what is working and what isn’t. It also helps you identify areas of your life that are tougher to grow than others or that need more work.
Personal Development in Action
Nothing makes me happier or more excited than to hear about the growth and successes of others. Ordinary people working every day to do and be their best, to become their best selves, to grow and to inspire others.
As I began writing this post my phone rang. I am not sure what made me answer because I usually do not answer numbers unknown to me. I also usually don’t want to be distracted when I am writing. Nonetheless, I answered. It was an acquaintance I had not spoken to in over 3 years. As we caught up and shared what was happening in each other’s lives, I genuinely felt happy when he told me that he had taken a couple courses in landscaping.
I listened intently as he explained to me that landscaping involves more than just cutting grass. He works for a landscaping company and could have just settled for collecting his paycheck at the end of the week, being thankful that he had a job. But he decided to take a few courses, learn more about the industry, grow and improve his skill and even start his own hustle on weekends. This is an excellent example of growth.
Embarking on a new project usually also brings opportunity for growth. My decision to start this blog is an example of that. There are many things that I know now, that I did not know prior to starting a blog. There is also still a lot for me to learn.
The young entrepreneur I recently met is also an example of personal development and growth. After working for a company for 9 years this young man was laid off. While at the supermarket one day, he witnessed a woman buying bottled coconut water, but at the same time complaining that the bottled coconut water tasted nothing like the real thing.
Being from the village of coconuts, here in Trinidad, immediately an idea was sparked in his mind. From there he set out to finding a solution to the woman’s problem. Eventually his business, Johnny’s Young Coconuts, with the tag line, “From Table to Tree”, was born. I listened with keen interest, bubbling on the inside with as much excitement as this young man who was excitedly and energetically telling me his story.
In starting up his business he had to do lots of research and learn many new things, which stretched him and caused him to grow. Please check him out on Facebook and Instagram and if you are in Trinidad or ever plan to visit Trinidad, support him if you should see him.
My prayer for you today is that you will make the choice to intentionally work on your personal development. I believe that growth has been ordained for us, it is to be part of who we are, but we must make that choice.
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon.” Psalm 92:12 NIV. The Amplified Bible describes the palm tree as, long-lived, stately, upright, useful and fruitful. It describes the cedar as majestic, stable durable and incorruptible.
May you truly flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar in Lebanon.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Don’t enjoy it alone, share with a friend.😊 Till next time!