When I was in college, three of my roommates were taking Landmark Education’s the Forum and often asked me go with them; I always declined. They told me it was life changing and consciousness raising yet all I saw was their almost cultish devotion and the significant ongoing expense.(If you’re not familiar with the Forum, you may know its predecessor, EST.) Finally, I said yes just to get them to stop asking. Needless to say, after my session, I didn’t enroll. However, it was my first taste of personal development training, watching how much people crave it and wondering about the long-term impact.
Personal development is still hot. Twenty-five years after I attended my evening at the Forum, I now have a greater understanding of the drive to improve your life and personal leadership – I’m firmly in that group. However, our options for personal development have exploded and, unfortunately, very little results in lasting change.
What do you do to foster your personal development and long-term growth?
- Read books
- Hire a coach
- Attend a seminar
- Listen to podcasts
- Join hangouts
- Subscribe to blogs (like Break the Frame!)
- Take a MOOC (I loved this MOOC on Positive Psychology)
And when do you sleep? See friends, family? Exercise? Go to work? We all have 24 hours in a day and it can be difficult to find the time for everything you want to do for yourself and your life. For many, personal development is the first to go yet it comes down to choice.
5 Myths of Personal Development (plus a free bonus myth):
Personal Development MYTH #1: There’s a finish line.
What? This personal development thing is forever? Like a lifetime? Yup. Not a great way to kick off the myth list, huh? However, personal development is not about attending a course or reading a book or reaching a final destination with a cool label like “happy” or “actualized” or “whole.” Truthfully, it’s about the change in you – the outcome of your investment. With every shift, there’s another place within you to explore, grow and understand that was unavailable to you yesterday.
Personal Development MYTH #2: Feeling inspired = long-term change.
Don’t get me wrong, books that inspire you to change are keepers. However, temporary motivation and inspiration aren’t the same things as making a sustainable shift. When I read the Anatomy of Peace for the first time, it led to more reading, yes, but also to nearly a year of study with the Arbinger Institute. Still, despite all the study and reading, without the daily immersion and inspiration, it began to fade. My choice was to shrug and move on or dig in again to put it back into daily practice. (I chose to double down on the work)
Personal Development MYTH #3: It’s a competition for self-actualization.
People who are into personal development often have friends who are on the same wavelength; Sharing inspiring quotes, images, constantly attending yoga retreats… Here’s the deal, your aha! may not come from the same place as your friend. Leave bandwagons, well, for the band, and focus on places that resonate with you instead of following the latest craze or guru. There is no race to the finish line to be the most, um, developed. Go at your pace and let go of the pressure.
Personal Development MYTH #4: Habits, once formed, stick around forever.
I’m embarrassed to write that I want to start exercising more regularly – again. I did it six days a week for months, months! I thought it was a stick around kind of habit, but the piece I was missing was that it was always a daily choice. Will I or won’t I? I stopped short of automatic. It boils down to this: many changes in the way you feel, think or act are temporary. You may take a class or listen to a podcast and feel a new resolve or a new way of thinking – that’s a start, not the change.
Personal Development MYTH #5: If you’re not changing you’re falling behind.
I’m all for a change having worked in the people side of change management since the early 1990’s; however, constant change can leave you spinning. Change needs time for assimilation. Some people try to make huge changes, one after another with no time for reflection, understanding or stickiness. Many of these people are moving forward, but only at a very superficial level; you deserve more.
Let’s reframe the concept of change and focus on growth. Are you deepening your understanding of yourself and the world? Are you expanding your go-to knowledge, thoughts and behaviors? If you answered, “yes,” you’re right where you need to be. If you answered, “who has time for that inner-work mumbo-jumbo?” check out the next personal development myth below.
Personal Development Bonus MYTH: Personal Development is all Woo Woo – not for us serious folks.
I know people who teach deep breathing to their clients over the phone. Do you have time for that? If you said “no way!” you’re not alone. There are a range of books, ideas and practitioners out there, and you can’t lump it all under one umbrella. Personal development lies on a spectrum ranging from solely thinking about change to taking significant bold actions.
There are executive coaches, personal leadership coaches, life coaches, books and seminars that are meant for you, right where you are in your personal development. If you’ve tried in the past and hit the wrong note, try again. Ultimately, your success depends on it.
BREAK THE FRAME ACTION:
Be a Personal Development Myth Buster – create a framework for yourself to assess the impact of your personal development investment.
Here’s a quick and easy way to break down your personal development efforts and increase your learning integration and accountability. There’s something to be said for writing it down…
What change do you want to make and need more support than a book to have it become your reality? What keeps you up at night? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below.
Is now the time for you to invest in your personal development? Let’s talk. I can help.