I have been a Personal Development Junkie since I first started work, avidly reading the latest books on the subject. When the internet came along, I was in heaven, and could quite easily have spent my life on there.
I seemed to spend my early years constantly reinventing myself, then chastising myself for not living up to the “new me.”
I’d like to share a few thoughts and tips, based on what I’ve learned on this long, and sometimes rocky road.
Don’t forget you’re different!
When you read what you perceive to be some brilliant advice, the temptation is to dive into it straight away. But pause for a moment and check that the great advice is right for you, for your nature.
Let me give you an example of how this can go wrong. When I started as a blogger, I read somewhere that the best way to write posts was to “batch” them, or write a number in one sitting, then schedule them to go out over the following week. Good advice! So I tried it for a few weeks, and yes, I did enjoy the feeling of being “ahead of the game.”
But there was a problem. Nobody liked the posts, and when I looked at them again, I agreed that they were lifeless and limp. I had discovered that my writing style is about having an idea, RIGHT NOW, and blitzing a post out while the idea is fresh and still fascinating to me. I actually thrive on rushing to meet a deadline. That gives my posts an edge and some passion, so I reverted back to my previous posting method, and learned something about myself in the process. Not every piece of great advice will suit you, so analyse each against your own core values and style.
It takes 30 days for something to become a habit.
I’m not naturally disciplined, and I have learned that I need to do something consistently for a month before it becomes part of my routine.
Have you ever started, with the best intentions, something new, and then seen it slowly disappear from your schedule? If so, next time, promise yourself you’ll give it 30 days, you’ll be amazed at the effect!
You are already pretty damn good!
It can be depressing when you’re reading the blog of a personal development guru. Their lives seem so serene, so organised, they are so “in control.” You can end up feeling hugely inadequate, and that feeling can have a negative effect on what you want to achieve.
When you’ve read this post, sit down, and write down five things you are really good at – stuff related to your work. Post that piece of paper on the wall near your desk. Next time you have that sinking feeling, check out the piece of paper and remind yourself how good you are.
It’s OK to take “bits”.
When I start every training or coaching session, I open with the following words: “Training is not about changing the whole way you do something, it’s about putting a series of ideas, which may help, in front of you. And it’s about you selecting the ideas that are right for you, then acting on them and making them a habit. If, as a result of this session, you start to do one or two things differently, then it’s been a success.”
So how does that translate to you? Feel free to pick out a small idea every now and then, start doing it, and then incorporate it into your life. Don’t try to eat the elephant in one sitting, do it one chunk at a time.
Maintain a balance.
I’ve been the greatest Dad in the world; I’ve been the best husband a woman could ever wish for; I’ve been the hardest working, most successful employee in my company. The trouble is, I couldn’t ever be more than one of those things at the same time, and each time I became the best at one of them, I became a waste of space at the others. If you’re a PD junkie too, you’ll recognise this symptom all too well.
Unless you’re training for the Olympics, settle for being as good as you can in each of your life areas.
Being extraordinary is about doing the simple things extraordinarily well.
I’m not even going to explain that to you – I’d like you to ponder that one for yourself!