Personal development can have a massive positive impact on your life. I know it has with me, but it is not always easy to understand what areas to work on and sometimes it only becomes clear looking back over a longer period with greater perspective. Good coaches have this perspective, it’s called professional distance. They know the benefits of pursuing personal development on a daily basis and can pinpoint what the points of greatest leverage are. Here are some of the key areas where Personal Development has the most impact.
Note to readers: I will build links with additional tips under each section, so if you are struggling with a particular area, just leave a comment and I’ll prioritize that – there is a lot on UR already too and I’d love either challenges or ideas.
Remove Old Baggage and Energy Drains
If there is one area in your life where personal development is likely to have the most impact and get you the fastest results, it is in eliminating old baggage and energy drains. There are a host of areas where personal development can help including:
- eliminate bad habits
- fix phobias
- address personal emotional history and baggage
- remove limiting beliefs
- correct negative self talk
My favorite approaches are NLP, habit breaking/habit forming as well as taking on challenges to remove limiting beliefs. All well worthwhile.
Find Passion and Set Vision
Finding your passion and setting the vision, may seem obvious and even second nature to some people, but it is an area where many people struggle. It is a chicken and egg thing which can see years go by with people believing they are developing personally and emotionally, only to find that really, they never clarified their vision so they got nowhere. Personal development really helps with this. There are lots of techniques and exercises:
- Ask yourself “what really matters to me” 50 times to get clarity around yourself
- Make a list of your passions
- Work with a coach
- Make a vision board or write a vision statement
Stay Focused On Progress
Focus is really tough, but focus alone is not enough. Focused action is what’s required because non-focused action put you in danger of simply spinning your wheels and expending lots of energy. It is called self-delusion where you feel you are making progress, but you are not actually getting where you want to go. Of course, not every focused action will result in progress, and while taking massive action is one way to improve this, taking focused action is the real way to get results. Techniques include:
- Keep a diary
- Find ways to increase your accountability
- Continually work on clarity across all areas
- Check out these focus exercises
Maintaining Energy is also important and there are lots of techniques that help build and maintain energy. It is well worth understanding what activities give you energy as well as how to conserve your internal energy. Focus in itself helps maintain energy because you tend to make faster progress.
Life happens on the edge, and this is why I see balance as being part of my life every day. Note, I’m not perfect, but continual focus on supporting and developing areas of weakness make a dramatic difference because often a little effort can have a dramatic impact. The reason is that it is always easier and takes less effort to move from 45%(fail) to 55%(pass) on the test of life than from 90% to 100% (100% may be unachievable). Developing skills which keep your life in balance as well as the tools that help track balance are great to leverage, and are particularly important during tough times.
A few important areas to balance
- Life Balance = Following Passion vs Earning Income vs Achieving Lifestyle
- Many, if not most people unintentionally sacrifice one of these areas. Even though they recognize each as important, the eventual consequence is collapse of the other areas and the need to rebuild.
- Profit Balance = Income vs Expenses
- Often there is only a few percent that can swing a profitable enterprise into making a loss.
- Body Balance = Enough good vs too much, too little or poor sleep/exercise/food/etc.
- Our whole bodies are on a very careful balance – think of how we maintain our body temperature, the small amounts of trace vitamins/minerals which the body needs to function properly, the tiny amount of radiation or poisons which is deadly.
- Optimal Progress Balance = Confidence vs Competence
- The ideal is to have confidence just more than competence. This means that you are confident enough to take on new challenges without undue risk of suffering a crushing blow that completely stops you in your tracks due to lack of knowledge.
Remember, each of the above are just like a set of scales, so you can add to or remove from either side, but it sometimes takes some thought (or a coach) to work out how.
Confidence vs Competence
- Boost Confidence – eg. Confidence exercises and training like Diggy’s Confidence Black Book
- Lower Confidence – eg. Take small continual steps or exercises and coaching to avoid over confidence and failure
- Boost Competence – eg. Study, take action, learn
- Lower Competence – eg. This seems counter intuitive, Out-task or Outsource it . I usedJames Wedmore’s Outsourcing Course to get my head around this.
Credibility is actually an easy area of personal development which can usually be knocked over with a few regular steps and practice. Getting it right can is one of the things that has most impact your own development because it accelerates progress scale.
- Believe in yourself – There is nothing embarrassing about good skills and successes.
- Record your successes – make a note, keep a dairy, take photos, etc.
- Ask for references and testimonials
- Proudly display your successes, references and testimonials
Getting good at these steps supports your progress and momentum because you get to hear more positive messages about yourself and so do the people around you (think colleagues, friends, people who you can help, potential customers, etc…)
Manage Risk – Avoid Crushing Blows
Most people decide to pursue personal development because they want to achieve something bigger than they have achieved to date. This means taking on new challenges which means doing things they have never done before. Risk management is difficult anyway because crushing blows usually come from areas which you don’t expect, and because experience is missing there are lots of areas where nasty surprises can come form. Typically, this is either your known unknowns or more dangerously, your unknown unknowns (the areas where you thought you knew enough, but didn’t). Personal development can dramatically reduce risk through several methods including:
- Mentors with skills to help navigate the way providing you with targeted knowledge and guidance.
- Direct skills (risk reduction, risk management/mitigation and diversification).
- Emotional and mental resilience for when things do go wrong.
Personal self-development can massively assist in achieving clarity, and clarity is critical because it is the way we demonstrate the value we bring to the world. Clarity is about people and our message, so there are two areas to develop namely
- Clarity for ourselves
- Clarity for others
There are many personal and self-development exercises which help with clarity for yourself. Life is the ultimate personal developer, but question exercises speed progress. I love great questions like What am I trying to achieve? and the URQs in the Ask Yourself, Improve Yourself Section on UR.
As for achieving clarity for others, personal development in sales technique Will impact your life and finances the most. A former boss taught me to read a sales book, but read it look for the core principals because they apply to all aspects of life. Every one is in sales in some way, so the lessons are valuable. Any book on sales will do, here on UR, we’ve written about lots of great books, many have sales elements. Otherwise, check out Amazon’s Best Selling Sales Books. You might as well read something which other people recommend and like because it is proof that it is well written, easy to read and clear. Get one today and read it.
Any good Sales Book, will train you to focus on becoming a better communicator, problem solver and matcher.
Everyone in the world recognizes the value of someone who
- clearly understands problems,
- matches them with clear and simple solutions and
- can explain the match clearly and succinctly.
Money then just becomes the measure of the value you bring and the clarity with which you bring it
These are the areas where personal development has the most impact, but at any one point in time, you should aim to identify your own points of highest leverage that is the maximum impact for you, and focus on developing yourself in that area. You may need a coach or you may already be taking massive action, either way, get going and keep going and work out how you can have the most impact on the world.