“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.” – Karen Kaiser Clark
How do you push yourself to grow every day? How do you identify what’s working for you and what you need to improve? How do you plan for the future if you have no idea what you want to do in five years? Follow these simple tips to identify your opportunities to grow.
We are never who we were before, and we are never who we will be. Life is a series of changes and, throughout it all, we continue to grow and change whether we like it or not – at least on a physical level. What about our mental growth? Or our spiritual growth? It can be all too easy to forget about taking the time out to plan what you are going to consciously do in order to continue growing.
A technique that works well for me is one that I used to use in the corporate world to coach people about their performance and their professional development – creating a development plan. You can go into a lot of detail on one of these, however today I’m recommending a simple (and quick!) approach to creating your own which will allow you to focus more time on investing in your growth. Follow these four simple steps:
- Identify where you need to/want to grow over the next month, quarter or year – think about strengths you want to build on, new skills you want to acquire, things that have held you back that you wish to overcome, weaknesses you want to confront, dreams you hope to turn into reality… make a list of your development opportunities, being specific, honest and constructive
- Make a development plan – look at each item you have identified on your development opportunities list, then brainstorm specific things that you could do to address this development opportunity; once you have at least five possible actions for each development opportunity, pick one action per development opportunity that you will do and write it down to create a Personal Growth Plan, specifying what you will do, how you will do it and when you will do it (and, ideally, how you will know you have done it!)
- Follow through on your plan – plans are great, however until they are executed they are just plans, so get yourself moving and deliver on the commitments you have made to yourself! It is only through action that you will see the growth you are specifically looking for.
- Repeat monthly, quarterly or yearly – growth is a never-ending process, so become accustomed to spending regular, structured time assessing your development opportunities and then undertaking activities to address them. You’ll be a completely new and improved person before you know it!
A final tip – if you’re concerned that you may struggle to get through your personal development plan, you might find it useful to have a friend or loved one pair up with you. If you each are working on your own development plans and are keeping one another motivated, you’re more likely to achieve success.