Grow or Die :Self Development 101

Grow or Die.

While this saying is typically applied to the business world, and may in fact have little basis in reality, it actually has more relevance for us as individuals.

Our capacity for growth is one of the key things that make us amazing individuals and as a species. We just aren’t stagnant creatures. We are explorers, builders, thinkers, and creators. We are constantly changing, remaking, testing and learning as we adjust our environments striving for improvement.

We have the capacity as individuals to grow and improve. While that individual capacity exists in each of us, we have to be willing to consciously tap into it and make the most of what we were given. Your talents were gifts handed to you. How you grow them, expand them, and put them to use is up to you. 

Own Your Growth and Achievement

Self development should really be seen as a life-long process. We should always be setting goals, learning, striving, and achieving goals as we grow. Celebrate that success and then rinse and repeat. There is more to do and the doing can be a lot of fun.

Personal growth is a two sided coin : self awareness of who you are on the one side and growing into who you need to be to meet the challenges and goals you have, on the other. Working through this process of both clearly understanding yourself and challenging yourself to reach your maximum potential is what development is all about.

On this journey, you will open up opportunities for:

  • Increased Motivation
  • Enhance Focus
  • Renewed Purpose and Direction
  • Improved Resilience
  • Increase Awareness
  • Boost Effectiveness
  • Rewarding Relationships

Taking steps to improve yourself is a process. It doesn’t look exactly the same for everyone and depends on where you are and what you are trying to accomplish.

The time it takes to even make movement in one area or to meet a goal looks different for everyone. The important part is that you are committed to improvement, open to learning, and stick with it.

4 Key Steps to Successful Personal Development

There are 4 overall steps to having a successful personal development journey. Vision, Awareness, Plan, Sustain and Renew.

Vision – This is where are you going? You’ll never get where you want to be if you don’t know where you want to be. Pick your destination.

What do you want? Who do you want to be? When you think of your future life what do you envision? Do you know what it looks like 5 years from now or 10 years from now? If you don’t know what you want, then it is very difficult to develop in a specific area since you don’t know what your purpose is.

Awareness – What is in your pack? This is what you have to work with and what you are taking with you on your journey.

How aware are you of your individual talents and opportunity areas? What are your Strengths? What are your weaknesses or opportunity areas? It’s important not to focus in on weaknesses, but at this stage it is important to be self aware and know yourself. Do you have a good gauge of these things?  Have you checked your picture against how others around you view you? Do you know where to go to get feedback and a more accurate picture? 

Plan – This is your map to where you are going. 

Having a personal development plan is critical. Knowing what you are working on, the act of building a plan and keeping track of progress is the only way to know where you are going and if you are getting there. The plan should be specific. What are you working on? What will you do? How much? When? What is the measure? Think SMART goals.

Sustain and Renew – Take your bearings and check your surroundings. You made it to the x on the map, but are you really where you want to be. 

After completing the steps on your plan are you where you want to be. You can complete all the steps and possibly be off target still. That’s okay. Take stock of where you are, how far you’ve come, and what do you need to still do to hit the target you have. Adapt to what you have learned this far in the journey. Once you are sure you made it, then you need to ensure that this new behavior is sustainable. How will you keep this skill alive and not allow it to atrophy once you take your attention off it?

Final Thoughts

A word to the wise because I’ve been there.

Don’t get lost in forms and processes. A blank piece of paper can be daunting.

There are some techniques we will cover later for questions you can ask yourself to make this process easier. It should challenge you but not be a burden of monumental proportions.

Afterall, you know yourself better than anyone else. And if you are having difficulty with the plan, there are lots of resources out there, contact your HR department, a mentor in your professional world, or a developmental coach.

Now, go forth and enjoy the journey to a better and happier you. 

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