What is Personal Development?

Personal development is making conscience changes in order to improve your emotional, physical, intellectual, or financial state.

Maslow believed that there are 6 needs that one must cover in order to achieve self-actualization. Physiological, safety, love, esteem, cognitive, and aesthetic needs, all play a vital role when seeking to achieve our full potential.

Personal Reflection

Everyone has at least one thing they would like to focus on that they believe will help contribute to their self-development. Just thinking about personal development seems easy, but incorporating it into your everyday life consistently can be quite challenging.

That’s why you start small and manageable, taking small steps instead of giant leaps. I’ve had so many clients lose heart and focus because the goals they were shooting for were so lofty that there was no way in hell they’d reach them. If they even managed to start down their new path they didn’t last long.

So here’s something for you to do. In a minute (i.e. after you read the next part) I want you to find a small new habit to start – something that if you did it every day you’d be healthier, happier or more fulfilled. This could include working out, increasing knowledge about a certain topic, developing a skill, or even giving you more time to rest. Make it reasonable, attainable and infinitely repeatable.

Now read this next section to help you narrow down the new habit you choose.

How do you want to grow?

Personal Development can be broken up into about 6 general groups. This can change depending on your goals, and what you feel requires your utmost attention, so choose ONE from this list and think about a new habit that fits into that section.

  1. Physical Development – The first grouping of personal development opportunities considers the state of your health, mentally and physically. Many people believe they are fairly healthy and tend to skip over this aspect of personal development. And it’s not just about exercise. It also refers to eating better, developing a better skin care routine, or making sure you are getting the optimal amount of rest. By assessing the physical state of your body, you can ensure optimal health.
  2. Career Development – This one is all about personal security. Is your career something you find fulfilling? How has is developed? Where do you see yourself in 1 year, or 5? Is your career offering you security and safety in the financial world? By asking yourself these few questions you can identify where you career development requires most of your attention.An exercise I like to put my clients through is “My Best Year.” I first heard of this from Dean Graziosi in his book Millionaire Success Habits. You picture yourself one year from now. If everything in your life and business/career went perfectly over the next 12 months, what is your life like? Having a clear picture of what that is will guarantee that you make the right choices in your professional and persona lives, and can guide you to the new habits you need to form to get there.
  3. Mental Development – Focusing on your mental health leads to a higher capacity for learning and retaining information. It also leads to better communication skills, and can even generate positive reactions in stressful situations. Mental development can range from improving math skills to practicing patience. Our minds are infinitely powerful and just changing the way we think can bring about monumental results. Here’s a simple one. I struggle sometimes to sleep. So instead of worrying endlessly about my day, or my kids, I say to myself, “I am sleeping.” To some of you, that sounds absolutely insane. But try it the next time you’re tossing and turning. Say it over and over – and you’ll go to sleep.What we think trains our brains to act in certain ways. Want more confidence? Tell yourself that you’re amazing. Want better relationships? Tell your brain that you’re acting as your best self. I guarantee you it works.
  4. Emotional Development – Probably the most difficult area to work on, emotional development monitors your reactions. This pertains to things you cannot easily change, or situations that are out of your control.Like Charles Swindoll said, “Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.” If you can control your emotions, the actions that follow will most likely have a more positive and stress-light outcome. The best tool to use to monitor your thoughts is journaling. If you find yourself in a stress ridden situation, it could be best to remain calm and focus on your breathing, if possible separate yourself while you search for a better solution.
  5. Social Development – This one relates to your social tendencies. If you can effectively communicate, you can increase your chances of success in whatever goal you have set out to achieve. Whether it’s conveying value to your prospects and clients, or just going out to a bar and meeting new people, you can learn a new language to improve your social development skills, or even meet new people with opinions outside of your level of comfort. This can help you practice expanding your mind, and explore different modes of communication.
  6. Spiritual Development – Being spiritual is not being religious, though they often go together. I used to belong to a strict religious group, but in the 10 years since I left, I’ve found greater peace in thinking differently about spirituality and our inter-connectivity as humans. To me, that’s a level of spiritual thinking that gives me peace.Essentially, it refers to creating a deeper connection with your internal world. It’s about self-awareness and self-love.  This could be identifying a chaotic mind, or anxiety, and taking 2 minuets to gather your thoughts and calming your body. Meditating and sitting in your own stillness can be incredibly powerful when practiced daily. It forces to you be more aware of negative and debilitating thoughts that may wreak havoc in your day-to-day mind. Even just closing your eyes and breathing during your lunch break can offer rest from your daily tasks, and help you go into the next half of your day with mental clarity.

    I read an amazing blog about it recently from Tim Ferriss, one of my heroes. I struggle with stillness, but this article had so many ideas it literally blew my mind (and then I sat down and meditated for a while…something that I find hard but it so critical to my wellbeing and success).

Practice facing your fears. 

Fear is what causes analysis paralysis which is the state of overthinking. Overthinking causes loss of confidence and anxiety. In order to fight this state of mind, you need to practice what you fear daily. I know that doesn’t exactly sound like fun, but it’s the one of the key ways to depersonalize it, manage it and eventually eliminate it altogether.

Maybe you want to work on social development. Are you afraid of speaking in front of others? Try speaking in front of a mirror, and then challenge yourself to swap the mirror with a camera, and then with a person. Before you know it, public speaking will feel like second nature. So, avoid decision overload by practicing what you fear.

Your turn!

Take some time to identify what parts of your personal development journey need the most amount of attention. Then, narrow in on a goal. Create a mission statement if necessary and put it somewhere you can see it daily! An official reminder is a great way to stay motivated through your personal development journey, and creates positive conscience awareness, so you’re always working towards your goals! To find out how we help our clients identify their personal development goals please click here.