Have you ever done something either at home or in the workplace and thought, ‘geez I could have handled that better’? Or ‘why did I act like that’? If you have then you are ready for the personal growth journey. This can be a scary place to be sitting on the precipice of. It actually takes a lot of courage to go on this journey and it’s definitely not for the faint hearted. Why? Well because it requires you to take a great big spotlight and shine it directly on yourself. Stepping out from behind the ‘victim’ or ‘poor me’ mentality and owning your role in every situation in your life.
Here is the definition of personal growth: ‘personal growth is the process of an individual becoming aware of the ‘self’ in its entirety, followed by taking steps to address the behaviour, attitudes, values, actions and habits that they wish to change’.
This means getting vulnerable, it means addressing your flaws and shortcomings and getting real about who you are and why you do the things you do. Yep, told you it was scary! But on the flip side of this journey is a new world, a much better, kinder, and open world. Where you don’t have to be perfect, have all the answers all the time and can ask for help without shame or fear of failure. You can get to know yourself, possibly for the first time in your life. It took me till my forties to shine that light on myself. It took a lot of things going wrong, falling apart, or simply not working for me to take stock of the situation. But it started with looking at myself and the role I was playing in everything. I had to go back to my childhood and take a good look at the way I was brought up, what limiting beliefs I was still holding on to that were no longer serving me well as an adult (you can take a look at a blog I wrote on Limiting Self Beliefs here), I had to stop listening to that inner mean girl (check out my blog on your Inner Critic here), find a way to regulate my overworked nervous system, that worked so hard for so long it actually gave me a serious heart condition and enlist the support of counsellors, coaches and mentors. To name just a few of the things I did to help improve my personal development. Of course, not everyone will need to go to the extremes I had to go to, finding myself, and I know that sounds so cliché. But I really was lost and going through life like a ball in a pinball machine, can anyone remember those? Bouncing off one issue after the other, going round and round in circles without any real direction, path or purpose.
10 WAYS TO START YOUR PERSONAL GROWTH JOURNEY
1. Research what you want to improve
If you want to be better at a certain skill start researching it. Do you want to get better at certain skills like leadership, patience confidence, productivity or focus? All these topic areas are covered by books upon books that you can study, and by reading about it, it’ll always stay top of mind. Get started now with as many books or Google articles that explain the areas you want to improve on in great detail.
2. Find a mentor or coach
A mentor can be anyone from a peer who knows something you don’t, and you want to learn from, all the way up to someone vastly more experienced who is willing to take you under their wing (in exchange for your working in some way for or with them). Mentorship is by far the fastest path of learning. Coaching, counseling, healing or training can also be utilised to help you on your personal growth journey.
3. Reflect at the end of each day
If you really want to take self-development seriously (and not just, you know, talk about it), you need to be constantly aware of how you can improve. And the only way to know how to improve is if you reflect and ask yourself where and how you still need some work. Start a journaling practice or even just write in your diary at the end of each day what worked, what didn’t, what you can celebrate from the day.
4. Create a strong practice regimen
It’s your habits that unfold the results, not the other way around. You can’t live one life and expect to one day have another. You have to put in place the daily habits that will allow the things you want to change to change. You can’t get more leads in your business if you don’t put the daily habits in place to win them like prospecting or cold calling. You can’t lose weight without exercising more and eating better daily. In personal growth, you can’t be a better leader without the practices and habits that will make you better.
5. Find others to push you and train with
Self-development and personal growth is not just a solo game. In fact, the best self-development is done with others in some capacity. Spend time with people who are working on similar things as you, and you’ll find yourself growing with them at a faster rate than if you had tried to do it all alone.
6. Create a reward system
This is necessary for people who need to break bad habits. Sometimes, it’s a reward (or a punishment) that makes the difference between immediate and rapid change, and ongoing fleeting promises. Celebrate at the end of 14 days doing a new habit, go out to dinner, buy yourself a new dress, whatever your currency spoil yourself for effort.
7. Stay honest with yourself
No amount of talking about it will ever instigate true change. This is the hardest part for people. It’s far easier to buy a book on self-development, carry it around, and say, ‘I’m working on being more present’, while staying constantly on your phone to text your friends about how you’re trying to be more present. You have to really be honest about it with yourself. You are your own judge.
8. Find role models you can look up to
Again, self-development is not easy, so it’s helpful to be able to look to others for inspiration, motivation, or even just daily reminders of how you can continue moving forward on your journey.
9. Measure your progress
Regardless of how big or small the thing that you want to work on is, you have to find some way to measure your progress. It’s the only way you’ll really know if you are moving in the right direction and when to pivot as you go along.
10. Consistency is the key
Personal growth doesn’t happen overnight. It happens slowly and deliberately. Consistency is what creates truly meaningful change and this is what makes the process so difficult for people. It’s not that you pop a pill and you’re done. You don’t do it once and you’re ‘fixed’. Personal growth is a lifestyle and a daily practice.
If you’d like some book recommendations to get you started you can download my list of Top Personal Growth Books from my free resources here.
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