Are you investing in You?

If you’re not investing in your personal development, you are probably limiting your true potential. Personal development affects your entire life, not just your work life or your personal life. It’s amazing how many people don’t try to improve themselves. And in many cases, these are exactly the same people that wonder why they’re not getting anywhere with their lives.

Can’t afford not to

Of course, the standard objection to any investment is “But I can’t afford it!” My answer to that is, can you afford not to? If you’re happy where you are right now in your life and your work, then that’s fine, spending money on personal development is indeed a cost that you don’t need.

But if you’d like to change something, then trying to save money by doing nothing is a false economy. It ignores the ‘opportunity cost’ of not taking action – whether that’s in lost income, or in days or weeks or months of continued frustration.

And not all personal development has a money cost. There is so much great free stuff out there (read the rest of the blogs here, for a start!) that you can make a lot of progress without once getting the credit card out. As a starter, check out the free stuff over at GeniusU (no, it’s not mine, but yes, I do get a commission if you ever buy anything).

Here are some tips for areas to invest your time into:

Imagine how you want to shape your life

Without a vision, you won’t be able to determine what kind of life you want to live. You need to balance what kinds of changes you want professionally as well as personally. The two will ultimately overlap, I don’t believe in “work-life balance”, it’s all Life. If you imagine yourself being more helpful to others, this trait will become part of both.

There may be certain aspects of your personal development that you believe are specific to personal life but may eventually carry over to your professional life. For example, if you’ve ever wanted to increase your skills as a community leader, this could easily be incorporated into your professional career. The key is to identify and imagine what this new skill is going to look like.

Assess your current situation

Before you make any changes in your life, determine where you stand with your life as it currently exists. Determine your strengths and weaknesses, and where you’re fulfilled or frustrated to help you formulate a plan to make the necessary changes.

Set goals

Once you know what you’d love to achieve, create some goals you’d love to complete. These should include high level goals as well as the action steps to get there. Most important, set milestones with firm dates for these action steps. Remember, a goal without a deadline is just a dream.

Consider alternatives

There can be valid reasons why certain actions or goals can’t be met. But don’t be put off. Instead of abandoning the entire personal development plan, come up with alternatives steps. But be careful not to simply fall back on these more easily achievable steps because they are not as hard as the main goals.

Evaluate how you are doing

This one is critical. When you reach a milestone, see how you did against the plan of action steps. It’s important to be realistic and truthful, that will help you to set more Realistic steps next time (always bearing in mind what I said in the last section about not toning things down just to make it easier.

Of course, the best way to handle this is to do your review with someone else, a friend or a coach maybe. That way you’ll be kept honest, it may not be easy to hear, but the benefits will be well worth it.

Keep it simple

If you add a whole load of unattainable goals to your plan, that’s just setting yourself up for failure. And that can reinforce any confidence issues you might have.  But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to push yourself. It just means being realistic about your abilities and about the time you need to bring your genius fully out into the world.

There’s a fine balance between being too easy on yourself, and designing a life of ease!

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About The Author

Andrew Horder

Founder of Joyful Genius Coaching, Andrew has been working with business owners for many years, helping them find and maintain their unique focus - those activities and opportunities that they love, and will produce their success, what Andrew calls your Joyful Genius! Andrew's first book, The A to Z of Loving Work is available from Amazon

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