Personal development is an awareness of oneself with the intention to grow, to change or to become a better version of ourselves. It is not achieved with a one-time class or a self help book, it is not a quick-fix. This is a continuous, lifelong process that moves us forward. It has the role of taking us from where we are to where we want or need to be. As my Realtor friend Lorena Prado puts it: “growth is a sign of life and if we are not growing we are dying”. Something that is alive is never static or indifferent.
When we are not seeking to grow purposefully we are just going through the motions and letting life happen to us; or passively watching how other people live their lives instead of actively making things happen for ourselves.
Jay Abrams, the worlds business strategy expert categorizes people as victims, spectators, or players in life. And that resonates with me, so in that sense, anyone who wants to be a player is purposefully and continuously seeking personal development.
We can focus our need for growth in 2 main areas of our life: Professional Growth which is the skill set needed to perform our trade or work and stay competitive in the marketplace. This growth is by necessity and driven by external factors. And our Personal Growth which is our spirit, our soul and our body; individually or as a group; at home or at work; in our different roles in life; our relationships, communication, our parenting skills, our productivity and so on… Looking forward to positive change keeps us motivated and fuels our dreams. Very often our personal growth is neglected until a need to fix or correct course in our life arises it is mostly driven by internal factors.
Anything that we can learn is a positive thing. There is an ocean of knowledge where we can actually get lost, so why not make the best of it and design a learning plan based on our goals and aspirations both personal and professional. Choosing to learn about specific topics in an organized manner will get us to our destination faster and this is what I call purposeful personal development.
There is a saying in Colombia: “If you don’t know where you are going, any bus will do! But once you know where you are headed you can chose what tool or resource will get you there. Narrow the options and get specific by deciding what is most important to you according to your current priorities in life and not just your work requirements. Keep it fun and interesting. Staying ahead and constantly learning gives you an advantage allowing you options about the topic and controlling the pace.
Here are some key steps to Purposeful Personal Development:
- Make a list of new skills you need or want to learn: To advance in your work life, to improve an area of your personal life. A skills that if you mastered, it would make your tasks so much easier (like leadership, conflict resolution, social media marketing, parenting, healthy cooking, techniques etc…)
- Choose your tools and resources: What books you will buy, download? What authors most resonate with you? What writing style you prefer? etc…
- Chose a mentor, expert in the subject that you can follow or someone on YouTube or if you can someone that you can get close to and ask questions. A mentor can give you information worth years of experience and it is the fastest route to a destination.
- Set a dead line: A goal without a deadline is just a wish and a wish is something that most likely will never come true by definition. Since purposeful personal development is a choice it is likely to be set aside as an non urgent activity and it will turn into one of those “things” you know you should do but you never really get to.
- Schedule it. Incorporate learning into your daily schedule. If you don’t schedule it, it doesn’t exist. Make it a priority and don’t cheat. Keep your promises to yourself. Those are the hardest to keep but are often the most important.
If your goals are not clear I have learnt from my Pastor –Pastor Ana Sweet– to ask myself these questions: What do you dream about? What do you most think about? How do you see yourself in the future? What would you like to become? Who do you admire? What is your difference? What are you good at? What do you like and dislike? What kind of atmosphere would you like to be around? All these questions are keys to determining what areas of personal development you need to focus on. What books should you read? What kind of people will you need to learn from? Who will be allowed to speak into your life? Based on the answers to these questions you can choose your mentors; you have a lighthouse in the horizon. Now you can move in that direction and get closer and closer to reaching your life’s goals.
Thank you for reading. I am a learner first and foremost! Success to me is not reaching everyone but making a difference in someone life and business, so If anything I mentioned resonated with you, please leave a comment below and tell me about it. Your insights are so valuable to me and they may also inspire others beyond my simple words.