From Heather Driscoll, Spark Cofounder:
In the business world where the opportunities for growth are unlimited, it’s important to remember that personal growth is just as crucial. I spend a good amount of time searching for opportunities to challenge the way I think and expose myself to new ideas. I thought I would take a moment to share with you a simplified approach I picked up from Trent Shelton.
With all sorts of conflicting articles and research that suggest certain personal development strategies are better than others, it’s hard to narrow down something that works best for you. Thankfully, Trent has some advice to simplify the process.
The Three A’s of Personal Development:
“Appreciation is the first step to elevation.” Without being able to look at your surroundings and find gratitude in all the good and bad, it’s hard to give yourself a space that promotes growth. It’s important to remember that without bad, there would be no good. As Trent Shelton says, “If you can find appreciation in your sunshine and your storm, then you got it.” Appreciation will allow you to recognize what is excellent in other things, people, etc. belongs to you as well.
Accountability is a big factor in any personal development journey. It’s the step before personal drive. Without accountability, we wouldn’t hold ourselves to a standard or have any motivation to go after the things we want. Personal growth requires change, and if we aren’t holding ourselves accountable to create change in our lives, there is little room to grow.
Holding yourself accountable to yourself is the most crucial step in personal development. You are the factor that determines success or failure, triumph or defeat. Why settle for less when you can push for more? Mastering the skill of accountability leaves you with no limits.
In order to achieve the highest levels of personal development, you must pay attention to yourself. In this era, we spend a lot of time on our phones watching other people. “It's like we are in the stands watching other people play the game.” Find yourself before you look for others. Figure out what you love to do and pay attention to what your body needs. With the ability to listen to ourselves and to find what makes us happiest, we’re able to transfer that energy into our work lives and personal lives. Focus on yourself. You are the one who will be making all of your hard work pay off.
I’ve spent a good part of my adult life committed to my own personal development. This has come in the form of reading books and articles, watching TED talks, reading blogs, taking courses, and attending seminars. I’ve participated in mastermind groups and I’ve had coaches. I’ve also had the privilege of teaching and coaching others. There are days that I’m more motivated than others and there are times my efforts have a higher return than others. But ultimately, it doesn’t matter what you do or how you do it, putting time and energy into personal development is an investment that will pay dividends forever.
We all have busy lives, with day-to-day responsibilities that may leave little time for you. I was given great advice early on from a wonderful coach and mentor, Vince Zirpoli. He told me, “Do just enough each day that you learn something new. Read just enough, listen just enough, walk just enough to feel as though you’ve changed.” It was great advice. If I was tired, I no longer felt the pressure to read the whole chapter of a book, just enough to learn a new concept or to advance the way I think. Instead of feeling like I had to walk 60 minutes, I could simply do 15. If I felt my mind clear and my energy increase, that was enough.
Personal development is a commitment, a journey, an evolution. When I read about these 3 A’s in Success Magazine, I was reminded of the advice Vince gave and felt a sense of ease. Personal development is about YOU, designed by YOU, to fit the lifestyle YOU want to have. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, simply enjoy the ride.