Some Of The Incredible Benefits Of Personal Development

Some of the Incredible Benefits of Personal Development - Samantha Leith

As humans we all have the capacity to be exceptional. We have limitless potential and there’s nothing stopping us except… us.

So many people move through life waiting for their world to change without realizing they could change it for themselves.

The answer for so many can lie in personal development and yet, it’s a topic that people often veer away from. Whether it’s the stigma of asking for help, believing self-help is wanky, cheesy or embarrassing, it is a topic that is simply not discussed enough.

We should be discussing it, because personal development opens up the opportunity to go on the journey to becoming the person you wish to be. You might not even know who that person is, but the journey leads you to someone who will be happier and more satisfied with life.

SO WHAT IS PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT?

Personal development covers activities that improve awareness and identity. It develops talents and potential, builds human capital and facilitates employability. It enhances the quality of life and contributes to the realization of dreams and aspirations. Personal development takes place over the course of a person’s entire life.

From Freud to Erikson and Kohlberg, we’ve been taught so much about the stages of personality development. The kicker is that we don’t actually have a say in it, because what builds you are the experiences and those things that happen to you when you’re younger; through childhood, education and early life lessons.

With personal development or self-help, you have the opportunity to control what you’re looking at, what you’re working on and you can begin to reframe and remould your experiences, beliefs, reactions, thought processes and so on.

These large scale changes come about by working on individual facets of your make-up; those intangible characteristics that some people seem to have in spades and others have to work on. Though they may seem in-built, these aspects of your personality can be improved, changed or moulded with personal development.

Those elements that can be improved include:

Self-awareness

This is a really great part of personal development to be working on. Self awareness is key to so many aspects of life and will make you a better communicator, better partner, better friend, business owner etc. It will help you be kinder to yourself and others. Self-awareness is everything and a hugely important aspect of personal development.

Direction and a Sense of Purpose

Without a sense of direction and purpose for life, you’ll just cruise along, ticking boxes. You then may find yourself toward the end or even half way, realizing that you haven’t done the things you wanted to, or even feeling that your life was out of your hands. We don’t want that. We don’t want any frustration or resentment to build for what could have been. Self-help will enable you to identify the things you want and will help you to get on the path to getting them.

Motivation & Willpower

Motivation tends to come alongside a sense of purpose and direction, because once you have identified what you really want, it will light a fire in your belly to get yourself there. It’s working on willpower that keeps that fire lit, which is why personal development is ongoing, to keep you from getting sidetracked or demotivated.

Focus and efficiency

Who doesn’t want to be able to focus better and be more efficient! These are great aspects of personal development and come naturally by being a bit more self-aware, having more of a direction and sense of purpose and being more motivated. By being self aware, you’ll identify your weak points (eg procrastination) and work on them. Couple this with a drive to achieve and the motivation and willpower to keep working and you’ll naturally find yourself to be more focused on your tasks and your efficiency will improve.

I hope you can start to see how making a small change in one area can snowball into positive changes across many other aspects in your life.

Resilience

This is a hugely valuable aspect of personal development work. You can all the motivation, focus and drive in the world, but if you don’t have the ability to get back up after being knocked off your feet then you won’t get anywhere. It’s not only the major setbacks that you’ll bounce back from either. You’ll no longer be sidetracked by someone challenging your idea, a friend not calling you back or even, losing your job. You can’t put a price on resilience and it’s one of the best outcomes from working on personal development.

Fulfillment

When you’ve done a lot of work on personal development you’ll feed those internal needs and values that are important to you and this will lead to more fulfillment. This in turn leads to a happier and more satisfied sense of wellbeing.

Values

Speaking of values, personal development allows you to not only work on your values, but to also identify what your values are and when they change. They will change, which is why ongoing personal development is so important. You want to always be working towards something that is important to the person you are at that time.

It’s also important to acknowledge that we can become sidetracked by what we think our values should be and doing this type of work will help you discover and be comfortable with what your values actually are.

MASLOW’S HIERARCHY OF NEEDS

Samantha Leith Maslow's Hierarchy of NeedsA lot of my coaching accreditation is based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which is a motivational theory in psychology that proposes that people need to fulfill basic life requirements before moving on to the next level of needs. This is often depicted as a pyramid with the bottom being the most basic requirements for survival.

These basic requirements include physiological needs such as food, shelter, rest and warmth. These lower-level conditions have to be fulfilled before moving up the pyramid, but once they’re met, the next steps, which include safety, love and a sense of belonging, become more important.

Many of us are incredibly lucky to have the lower levels of our needs pyramid filled and personal development allows us to work on those higher levels. That being said, personal development can help us work on the lower levels. For example, those with financial instability (which can impact physiological and safety needs) can be aided with the self-awareness, goal setting, resilience and other aspects of personal development.

Learning to love and be loved alongside a sense of belonging are worked on a lot in personal development because we often have incredibly f’d up ideas of what love and belonging area.

The top of the pyramid includes self-esteem and self-actualization. Self-esteem isn’t about having a big ego and walking around like you’re the queen of the world. Self-esteem is really important and is core to confidence, charisma and courage. It needs to be well developed and nurtured like it’s your baby.

Self-actualization is at the top and it’s the top for a reason. It encompasses everything that we’ve discussed today. It’s being the best version of yourself that you can be. It’s becoming a person you’re internally proud of and fulfilling your potential. It’s everything that you can achieve with personal development.

Who wouldn’t want to be the best possible version of themselves! So let me know if you have questions, if you need a place to start because there’s no time like the present to begin being your best self.

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How To Celebrate Your Failures In The Right Way

How to Celebrate Your Failures In The Right Way

Celebrating your failures is not a new concept. In 2016 a Princeton professor, Johannes Haushofers, published a ‘CV of failures’ alongside his usual resume in which amongst others, he detailed “Degree programs I did not get into”; “Research and funding I did not get”; and “Paper rejections from academic journals”. His purpose in publishing his failures was to highlight the comparative invisibility of failure and visibility of success.

In his introduction Haushofers wrote: “Successes are visible…this gives others the impression that most things work out for me. As a result, they are more likely to attribute their own failures to themselves, rather than the fact that the world is stochastic, applications are crapshoots, and selection committees and referees have bad days”.

His point is clear, he has as least as many failures as wins on the board (probably more) and the “CV of failures” is a visual representation of that balance. He is using his failures as a way to help others, a tangible demonstration that you will fall many times as you climb the mountain of success.

The likelihood is that he used these failures as inspiration to work harder, to try again and this is evidenced in his successes. It must, after all, be a brave and successful man who is confident enough to allow his failures to be public in order to serve others.

THE RIGHT WAY TO CELEBRATE FAILURE

Celebrate failure, it means successes are around the corner

You may not have to go so far as to publish your failures, but sharing your missteps is one way to celebrate your failures in a way that is constructive, positive and helpful to yourself and others.

You might think that failing at something is pretty bloody depressing, but I believe in my bones that every single one of my setbacks has gotten me somewhere and have accumulatively contributed to where I am now. Celebrating my failures in the right way is a big part of that though.

We do not want to celebrate failure for the sake of it. Instead we want to understand that success is a process that failure is usually a part of. Rarely do we succeed wildly when we try something big the first time. I’m not talking about board games or making a ragout here (though these can be tricky!). I’m talking about big life challenges; starting a new business; buying a house; getting a good exercise routine etc.

Failure is a part of success and so we can’t shame it or hide it, because without it we can’t succeed. Instead we need to learn from it and celebrate it in a constructive way.

HOW DO I CELEBRATE FAILURE?

Check your attitude

First of all, check your attitude. Remember that you are the one who is entirely in control of how you feel. If you fail and find yourself going down the path of self-doubt, beating yourself up or throwing in the towel, stop and take a breath.

Remind yourself that you’re still breathing and you get to get up again and try something else tomorrow. Or maybe tomorrow you’ll try the same thing again with a different methodology, a different attitude or a different team. Tomorrow will be a bloody good day because you get to try again.

You are in control of making it a good day. You can shift your emotions and decide to be positive about your next attempt.

Celebrate that you took the chance and did something

How many people go to their graves wishing they had taken a chance and done the thing they dreamed of, whether it be writing a book, finding their first love, starting a business, changing careers etc.

Before you do anything else, give yourself a pat on the back for taking a chance and trying something. You did the thing that so many are afraid to do and that is worthy of celebration. You were brave and put yourself out into the world and can say you tried.

See failure as a stepping-stone and choose to let it inspire you

Thomas Edison famously said, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps”. This is the attitude you must take to your failure.

It doesn’t mean blindly continuing along the same path you were already on though. Instead be honest with yourself. When you’re facing failure, even if you think you did every possible thing to make you goals come to fruition, sit down and really look at what happened.

If you are being truly honest with yourself, you will see areas where you can do better next time. Maybe you weren’t 100% committed. Maybe you could have hustled harder, improved your communication, inspired your team better etc.

Once you’ve done this, let that failure feed a fire in your belly. Let that fire invigorate you and help you to make the changes you’ve identified, to try something else or work that little bit harder.

This last part is a choice. Similar to checking your attitude, you can choose to let failure inspire you to do better or to get you down.

Write your failures down

Once you’ve been through your process of assessing what you could do better, write it down. Write down what you were trying, what went wrong, what you plan to do better next time and what you did well in this attempt.

This type of documentation will not only solidify the celebration of your attempt and what you plan to do better next time, but also can ensure your memory of your failure is positive, constructive and helpful.

This means that when you succeed, you can remind yourself of all the chances you took along the way. If you keep a daily journal, this is the perfect place to write down a little celebration of the chance you took, even though it didn’t work out and all the different ways you tried to make it work.

Share your failures

There is shame around failure and so we keep our failures bottled up, like they need to be protected. The truth is that telling someone about them often releases the shame and takes away the power that failure could be holding over you. This can allow you the freedom to have another go or try something different.

Demonstrating vulnerability is well documented as a great strategy of effective leaders. It takes great courage to be vulnerable and to share your failures and this shows strength. It will also help you to connect better with those that you share with.

Sharing your failures can also help the people that you tell about them. If you tell someone the story of something going disastrously wrong and they see you, standing, breathing, unharmed and willing to try again, it will inspire them and could help them to see their own failures differently. They also may offer an idea that could help you or be the missing link in achieving your goals.

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Failure is a very normal part of life. We all see how babies stumble and fall on their path to walking and yet in adulthood, we see it as unacceptable. There trick is that babies always get up and try again and as long as you do the same, there is no need to feel shame around your failures. Celebrate them in the right way and you’ll be on your path to success in no time.

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