If you’re anything like me, you will love sitting down with a good book, however the books I read are not your average book club type book. I love self-development books, digging deep into the thoughts and insights of some of the world’s greatest minds. The problem is, I can spend so much time reading, I might never actually get an “work” done.
My dilemma of personal development; how much is too much? Where and how do I get it and it is right for me?
Since I left my corporate job over 16 years ago, there have been plenty of things I've missed. The camaraderie of well-formed teams, having a shared vision and purpose with thousands of other people and getting to wear great shoes every day! But the one thing that has been most challenging is losing the corporate drive for career and self-development. Being employed by a large organisation like DHL meant that staff development was a top priority and working within the Training and Development function meant I was living and breathing that development every day, not just for my internal customer base but also for myself.
Once I became independent, I no longer had those opportunities provided as a matter of course (excuse the pun) and I had to become much more aware of how I could continue to remain current and educated in areas of my business.
There are plenty of training companies covering a range of programmes on a variety of topics, and having my own business requires budgeting for all development, personal and business. I have to make choices about which would be most useful and appropriate.
There are also many options for learning. My preference is to jump in and get some practical hands on experience, but this is not always accessible when you’re a sole trader. Fortunately, with the plethora of on-line training available, there are endless possible workshops and training programmes to attend.
But, how do you know which is the right activity for you, your style and budget? I find myself relentlessly reading books and cleverly written articles, listening to pod-casts and attending networking events with a theme on development. The problem is there is so much out there, and with FOMO tapping at my heels, I could literally spend my whole working day learning something new, I’m a bit of a magpie about new shiny theories, ideas and people and want to collect them all.
I try to ask myself the following questions;
Why am I drawn to this idea/concept?
How will I use this new learning/theory?
How does it build on something I already know?
What is the possible Return on Investment?
Even though I love learning, there still has to be a purpose. There’s only so much capacity in my brain to retain information and I want to make sure is going to be useful to me and/or someone I’m interacting with. That's why I love the question about “how does it build…” I believe knowledge is a building block and the best way to grow is to construct on the foundation of something solid. Many of the new theories I read about are an adaptation of something that has come before, it’s just a new or alternative way of looking at it. That’s my favourite learning, taking an idea and making it grow.
That’s not to say I don’t do anything completely new. I just signed up for a Hoola Hoop class. I’ve never learnt how to do that before but I’m hoping it’s going to build on my other fitness classes activities, with a bit of extra hip movement!
I’d love to know how you plan your personal development, and how personal you get with it. Do you currently use a Coach to help you plan and action your development? Would you like to know more about how you can manage your personal development?