If you do not invest in personal development, you are limiting your true potential. Personal development affects your entire life, not just your work life or your personal life.
It’s incredible how many people don’t attempt to improve themselves. And oddly, these are the same people that wonder why they are not getting anywhere with their lives.
Here are some guidelines to use that will help you:
Invest: Imagine How You Want to Shape Your Life
What exactly have you been waiting for? Is it the right opportunity? Or that perfect moment when it feels right? I know, maybe a signal from the universe?
Well, take it from someone who was waiting on those very same things, they are not coming.
And that’s a good thing because it means you can start to pursue actively, whatever you desire.
When I was younger, I would wait for good things to happen to me. I wanted a better future, but at the same time, I was afraid to take action. A lot of time got wasted, frozen in fear.
As I’ve matured, I’ve realised that life is too short and far too precious to waste. That is a wake-up call to each and every one of us to start living our life.
Without a vision, you won’t be able to determine what kind of life you want to live. You need to balance what types of changes you want professionally as well as personally, as the two will ultimately overlap.
If you imagine yourself being more helpful to others, this trait will become part of both. There may be certain aspects of your personal development that you believe are specific to personal life but may eventually carry over to your professional life.
If you have wanted to increase your skills as a community leader, this could easily be incorporated into your professional career. The key is to identify and imagine what this new skill is going to look like.
Invest: Assess Your Current Situation
Many of us have asked ourselves, “What can I do to improve myself and my life?” Many of us have asked this question as part of their personal development and to help them achieve their goals.
Before you make any changes in your life, determine where you stand with your life as it currently exists. Determine strengths and weaknesses to help you formulate a plan to make the necessary changes.
Life Is A Journey
Life is a journey, and sometimes we can get stuck in the same position for a long time or sometimes we may even get lost. We may get frustrated by our lack of progress in our personal or professional lives.
This is when we need to stop and take the time to analyse ourselves and our lives. We need to look at where we are in life, where we want to go, and how we intend to get there. One of the best ways to do this is by writing and using a strategic plan for your life.
Begin by assessing your current situation or where you are in life right now. One of the best tools for doing this is SWOC. It is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Challenges. And is a reworking of SWOT that is used in business with Threat being replaced by Challenges.
Invest: Set Goals And Make Them Happen
Once you know what your strengths and weaknesses are, create some goals to strive to complete. These should include high-level goals as well as action steps. Most important, set milestones with firm dates for these action steps.
Goals big and small can be the stepping-stones to a happier life. And the critical point is the way we set them can make all the difference to achieving them.
An essential part of being human is having goals for things we want to do and working towards them. The path towards our goals will not run smoothly, and it will not be easy, but having goals, whether big or small, is part of what makes life outstanding.
Sense Of Meaning
Working towards our goals gives us a sense of meaning and purpose, points us in the direction we want to go and gets us engaged and interested. All of which are great for our happiness.
Over 2000 years ago, Aristotle said, “Well begun is half done.” And with regards to goals, he’s right, as he has been on a lot of things. Paying attention to how we set our goals makes us more like to achieve them and achieving them makes us feel good about ourselves and our lives.
Invest: Consider Alternatives
There can be valid reasons why specific actions or goals can’t be met. Instead of abandoning the entire personal development plan, come up with alternatives steps.
Look at the challenges in different ways, find a new perspective that you haven’t thought of before. A brain dump or brainstorming alternatives no matter how silly they may appear is an excellent discovery process.
And once you have mapped or listed the alternatives, be open to their possibilities. While a suitable solution may solve the problem, it may not work if the resources aren’t available, if it causes new obstacles, or if people won’t accept it.
The Perfect Solution
When selecting the best alternative don’t consider any alternative as the “perfect solution.” If the perfect solution existed, there probably wouldn’t be a problem in the first place.
You can even consider a compromise when you have a full grasp of the alternatives and the problem. And be careful not just to fall down and stall your progress when considering alternatives.
We do that because it is easier to stay in the alternatives loop than working towards the main goals.
Invest: Evaluate How You Are Doing
It’s in your best interests to take a hard look at your performance. When you reach a milestone, see how you did against the plan of action steps. This is a crucial step, and it’s essential to be realistic and truthful.
At some point, you have to assess what you think is good and bad about your performance against what it will take for you to achieve your goals. Because that is what matters, achieving your goals.
Get in the habit of reflecting on your performance. At a minimum, every week, set goals for yourself. It is better to do it in writing because that helps to clarify your thoughts. Then at the end of the week, view your goals to see how you did.
I prefer to do it daily. Before I settle down in the evening, I think about how the day went and what I accomplished. I ask myself what went well, what didn’t go well, and what I could have done better.
Invest: Keep It Simple
When Kelly Johnson said ‘Keep It Simple Sweetheart’ she sure was right. I find that the less I have on my plate, literally and figuratively, the better I feel.
When you add a series of unobtainable goals to your plan, you are likely setting yourself up for failure. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to push yourself. It just means being realistic about your capabilities.
Complicating things that could actually be simple has become a cultural norm. Ever try to cancel a magazine subscription or changing banks? Automated systems that were designed to simplify, more often than not, don’t.
The last time I tried cancelling my double subscription to the same magazine, I was happy with the magazine but wanted to save the trees, their computer kept trying to extend my subscription.
Sometimes it feels that everything we need to do requires us to prove we are human, follow a link, wait endlessly on hold, or remember a million passwords.
No More Complaining
No more complaining, “This is way more complicated than it needs to be.” Time to take action and Keep It Simple.
Keep It Simple Sweetheart (KISS) was coined in the 1970s by Kelly Johnson, the lead engineer and creator of US government spy planes. This was about keeping plane design simple so average mechanics could repair the aircraft. She was definitely onto something.
Let’s give up on being perfect. By seeking perfection, we complicate things. If you move a task on your to-do list from today to next week, without any plan of actually getting it done, you may be suffering from perfection procrastination.
The best way to work through this is to create deadlines on your calendar for the tasks you have been avoiding. The likelihood of getting a task done increases exponentially when you schedule it with a hard stop.
Use these guidelines to help you invest effectively in your personal development. That way you can maximise your true potential. When you do you will benefit from the changes in your work and personal life.