When you hear personal development, what comes to mind? An MBA? Improving your emotional intelligence?  A time-management course? It is all of the above, plus more.

 Personal development is the changes you make on the inside so you can better respond to the outside. It’s about working on yourself to become a realized, happier and balanced person in a chaotic and ever-changing world; Wisdom Times. You may be unaware that you already have a personal development plan in place when it comes to growing your business or taking care of your physical health.

Generally, there are eight areas of personal development:

  1. Business/Career
  2. Physical health
  3. Family
  4. Finances
  5. Relationships
  6. Spiritual
  7. Personal inspiration
  8. Fun/recreation

Depending on which school of thought you prefer, some personal development researchers expand these to 12 areas while others may narrow them down to as little as four.

Bear in mind, there is no right or wrong way to go about personal development, each of us has our own unique blend of focus areas. For instance, some may focus on their careers and health; others might focus on family, finances and recreation.  It all depends on our values because values drive behaviour.

According to world-renowned human behaviour specialist and researcher, Dr. John Dermartini, when we live according to our highest values we become inspired and awaken genius. When we live according to our lower values we require continuous outside motivation and we suppress our genius. Tap into the genius in you by choosing what matters to you, not what society tells you, not what your family thinks will be good for you but what you personally desire; think about what inspires and excites you the most. If you are unsure, enlist the services of a life coach to help you figure it out.

To begin the journey of personal development, set some goals for yourself. Make sure they are S.M.A.R.T goals: Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based. If your goal is “to be a leader” this is not a SMART goal. On the other hand, if your goal is to be a marketing executive in a large organisation in the next three years, this is a SMART goal.

One of the reasons we don’t set goals and commit to personal development is fear. There are many types of fear and some of the most common ones are fear of failure, fear of not knowing enough, fear of rejection, fear of breaking morals in religion, fear of loss of income, fear of losing a loved one and fear of death. The interesting part is all of these fears are learnt.

What can be done when faced with fear? A simple strategy is to take action. Our ability to act is independent of what we feel; in every-day life we take action regardless of how we feel. For example, on cold winter mornings when we don’t FEEL like going to work, we do it anyway. What drives us to take action is it’s a means to an end, in other words the action (going to work on a cold winter morning) may not be enjoyable but it will get us to what we truly want which in this case may be a salary.

It’s a never ending journey to develop and see what you can become and some of the benefits of personal development are you will become happier, focused, have increased self-awareness, be more confident and develop resilience. You’ll also manage your resources better as everything you do will be aligned to your goals.