Intentional growth, evaluated experience, and consistency
are keys to personal development.
In this month’s issue of Success Magazine, publisher Darren Hardy conducted an interview with leadership guru John C. Maxwell. They focused on the topic of personal development—what it means and what it does not mean.
For me, the interview reaffirmed that our life’s journey has so much possibility and potential. Many, however, never see but a fraction of what they can enjoy. As I have said many times before, this is not rocket science. Maxwell, though, reminds us that personal development does take effort.
For this blog, allow me to distill (from the Maxwell interview) three potent strategies that can help any of us develop more of our potential. The key? We have to DO something with each of these.
- Intentional growth. Do you have a plan for your personal growth? We all have had (and will continue to have) those “accidental” growth experiences. You know, when we stumble on a book with a poignant message, catch something from a teacher, or just have a flash of insight. Those experiences can be powerful and we need to be open to those unexpected life lessons. However, Maxwell reminds us that true growth comes from intentional planning. That requires that we focus on the what, who and how of our journey. We need to be intentional about what we want to accomplish, with whom we need to associate, and to which books/blogs/videos/music we need to pay attention.
- Thought for the coming week. Examine one of your goals. What person could help you move closer to that goal? Whose brain would you like to pick? Write that person’s name on a piece of paper. Then pick up the phone and call him or her. Ask for a coffee or lunch date. When you meet, be a sponge! Soak up the wisdom.
- Evaluated Experience. You have no doubt heard that “experience is the best teacher.” Let’s nuance that a bit. Experience without reflection is not worth much. What you want is evaluated experience. Whether I have a great day or not so great day in the classroom or in a training workshop, I need to stop and reflect on what worked well, what worked somewhat well, and what bombed. And I do that after each class and each presentation or workshop facilitation. What could I have done better—and what worked well?
- Thought for the coming week. Identify one event you have coming up this week. For teachers, it can be a new lesson or exercise in class. For business folks, it might be a presentation to a client. Students might want to focus on a challenging class or the next study group meeting. Once the event has come and gone, dedicate ten minutes to reflect on the positive and not-so-positive aspects of what happened. Then write a goal to do one thing differently the next time a similar situation presents itself.
- Consistency. I spoke with my classes this week about consistency. I reminded them that on the first day of class each person spoke of his/her dream for the semester. I then said, “Look around the classroom. Who is still here? Who is not? Motivation gets us going and discipline will keep us going—and growing.” Consistency separates the doers from the dreamers; the workers from the talkers. My business card says “Dreams—Action—Reality.” Again—not rocket science. This week in class I spent time reviewing some of the great social media and new technology tools. One student raised her hand and asked me how I could keep up with all of this stuff. First, I said, I have so much to learn. That drives me; I can’t learn about the tools without using the tools. I commit myself to learning or becoming more proficient with at least one piece of social media each week. I am, in short, consistent. And I am disciplined. You cannot separate consistency from discipline. If you don’t have the discipline, “it” (whatever “it” is) will not get done. Go back to the point #1 above—you have to be intentional.
- Thought for the coming week. Identify one aspect of your life that would benefit from a bit more consistency and discipline. Exercise? Pushing back from the table? Paying off your credit card debt? Not building any further credit card debt? If you find yourself saying, “I have zero discipline” then find a mentor or coach who can help. But remember, no matter whom you bring on board you will have to do the work.
Video recommendation for the week:
The importance of self-discipline.
It’s your life. You make the choices. Enjoy the journey.
Enjoy your week—and H.T.R.B. as needed!
Please pass along information about my April 10 webinar, Underlying Principles of Student Success. Great for teachers, tutors, and supervisors. Click here to register now. Or go to my website for registration information.
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©2013. Steve Piscitelli.