In terms of contribution to the planet, there are three grand obsessions I have. I want to be able to help people lead with more influence, speak with more confidence and grow with astonishing effectiveness.
Bennie and Nanus, the Stamford Leadership Experts said, “The thing that separates good leaders from great ones is the ability to develop new skills. New skills are things you don’t know how to do. Things you aren’t yet. Things you must become in the future.”
Intentional personal development is critical to your journey as a leader. It’s central to the creation of your future and foundational in both how you will experience AND contribute the relationships around you.
Mark Twain throws down the personal development gauntlet when he says, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Each and every one of us has the privilege of making the most of our next year. I’d even suggest each of us must make the most of next year; for the sake of what’s on the other side for you. For your key relationships, for your professional life and the future you’d like to create.
I believe you can have your best year ever. I believe you can learn new things. I believe you can internalise and become something you aren’t yet. That defines the beauty of personal development.
This week is the launch of my Personal Development Program Making The Most Of A Year – I’d love you to check it out and get as much value from it as possible. Share it with your friends and look for the launch later this week!
I believe in the power, potential and beauty of personal growth. When you flip the switch in you that says, “I can and I will learn new skills.” You enter a world of curiosity, adventure, change, growth and increase. It’s an amazing place to be.
Here are five reasons I believe in personal development.
Everybody can change and grow. Everybody. I’m a true believer in transformation. If you want to, you can. The number of times I hear the phrase, “It’s just the way I am.” While inside I want to scream, “Maybe, it’s not the way you have to be.”
I choose to believe that everyone can change. You can change. You can learn a new skill, develop a new part of your character, and leverage an opportunity that is ahead of you. Being ready isn’t your concern. Getting ready must be your priority.
Over the years, I have refined this belief to block almost any other option. I simply choose to believe it’s possible. I choose to believe that even if I don’t understand it all, agree to hit all or immediately see the potential; I can move forward with clear and intentional development plans. The future looks different when you approach it with the mindset of possibility rather than limitation.
You HAVE to believe you can learn new skills. You HAVE to believe you can stop unresourceful behaviours and replace them with more useful ones. When you believe you can change, you begin to walk down the path of personal development and you set yourself up to be empowered about your future.
I believe everybody can change. I believe YOU can change and grow.
The key to ANY development is personal responsibility. Building on the conviction that everyone changes, grows and develops is the obvious next question of how. Without question, the doorway to begin the process of personal development is responsibility. Personal responsibility blames no one else for the place you are in life. Personal responsibility views no one else as the reason for what you have and don’t have. Personal responsibility looks inside for reasons before they look outside for excuses.
Personal responsibility looks in the mirror when things don’t go well.
Personal responsibility doesn’t make others wrong in order to be right.
Personal responsibility believes ‘things change when I change.’
Here’s a truth. You reap what you sow. Be careful whom you catch yourself complaining about, what you are reaping but haven’t evaluated what you’ve sown.
Don’t like what you’ve got. It’s not someone’s fault. It’s your responsibility.
Personal development is never just for you. John Maxwell says, “One is too small a number for greatness.” Personal growth is never to be done in the context of one. It’s too small a number. There was a small boy who had five loaves and two fish in his lunchbox as he arrived at the family picnic looking forward to a day ahead of him. He had an encounter that led him to offering over his lunch to a need that was presented to him. We don’t know for sure how he offered it; we do know that even a small boy worked out that what little he had could be used for much greater good in the hands of the right people and the right environment.
My conclusion? What you have is NOT for you. Personal development is best done in the context of stewardship. The more I improve, the more skilled, useful and effective I become the better I can help others. THAT’S the true spirit of personal development.
At that picnic, the young boy saw his lunch make a difference to thousands of people. For two reasons, what he gave AND who he gave it too.
Development multiplies, and so does neglect. My wife Megan Dredge consistently encourages me with the phrase “motivation follows the action.” I experience this to be true over and over again AFTER I have taken the first step. Exercise once and your body rewards you with endorphins that remind you physical activity has significant value for you. Eat well for 28 days and you’ll wonder how you ever put ‘that stuff’ if your mouth in the first place. It’s as if something magic happens. Keep doing the right things consistently over time and you start to find time, energy and focus for it.
Paradoxically it also works the other way. Neglect builds on neglect. Sugar craves sugar. Social media screams out for more social media. You are just as susceptible to unresourceful behaviours and they too multiply. Taking you down a path to a destination you don’t want, faster than ever before.
When you grow, the motivation to grow increases. When you don’t, you don’t just slow down you could go backwards.
Development happens in you for others expressed in community. In a magnificently three-sided way I begin to learn news skills, create new habits, and strengthen new mindsets. I begin to enjoy the benefits of these changes, so do others. Your newfound skills and character serve you, resource others and move you closer to the preferred future you are creating.
You grow. You benefit. You grow. Others benefit. Your growth gets expressed in a resourceful way in the most important areas of your life. That provides the internal and the external motivation to keep going.
I believe people can change and grow and move with confidence towards a preferred future. Time and time again I hear the language of excuse. The posture of blame; the reflection of ‘can’t’. And in me I repeatedly say, “I choose not to believe that. I choose to believe anyone can learn. I choose to believe personal responsibility is the doorway to transformation. I choose to believe that personal development is for others as well as me. I choose to believe I will see the multiplier effect of good development decisions. I choose to believe you will benefit from my growth.”
What do you choose to believe on the way to your best year ever?
#leadsmall – because when you do, big things can happen.