What is your plan for personal development?  Do you have one?  Do you think it’s necessary?

As a teacher, I was required to complete a personal development plan yearly with goals, objectives and measurable outcomes.

While this kind of personal development has it’s place, the focus on outcomes vs. processes focuses more on skill development than leadership development.

Leadership development is a process and is something that compounds over time.

There is no start and stop date.

I am a believer that leaders are those who never stop learning.  They continually look for ways to grow and improve.  One of my favorite quotes is “He who stops getting better stops being good.”

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This speaks to the idea that to grow as leaders, we should be getting a little better every day.  It is this way that personal development should be an ongoing process, not a series of events.  While events can be powerful and spur people into action, it is the daily process of growth that leads to leadership development.

Let’s set this in a metaphor of having a baby.

When you find out you are having a baby (in my case–twins!), most people go into preparation mode.  You have to buy the furniture, swing, clothes, diapers.  Everything is geared toward the “due date,” or the “event.”  Sure, new mamas read books and gather information, but until that tiny human is here, you really have NO IDEA what you are in for.

So, we count down to the event.  We celebrate the event with showers and gender reveals.  And then, the day comes and the baby is here.  We make phone calls and celebrate and bask in new baby smells.

But, once that day is gone.  It’s gone.  You look in the backseat on the way home from the hospital and realize that the tiny human back their is yours and there is no instruction book.

Every day after that begins the PROCESS of learning how to be a parent.  With each stage and each challenge, you get better because of what you learn along the way.

Over the long term, it is the process of actually parenting that teaches you the skills of HOW to parent.  No book can adequately explain the actual process of parenting because it is so uniquely different for each of us based on individual circumstances.

These kinds of processes can be difficult because growth that encourages development and change can be painful at times.  It causes us to doubt ourselves.  To wonder HOW we are going to make it.

But we do make it because there is no other choice but to learn and grow WITH your child.

Leadership is the same way.  To grow as a leader, you have to commit to a process of personal growth to every day work to be the best YOU possible.  Likewise, leaders must be willing to encourage growth in their families and organizations making sure that those opportunities for growth are there.

So again, I want to ask you, what is your plan for personal growth?

It’s ok if you can’t answer that question now.  But, if you are committed to being the best YOU possible, personal growth is something you can’t ignore.  When you are not clear about what kind of growth you want, don’t be surprised if you don’t get very far.

Need ideas on how to get started?

  • Write out a plan
  • Read a book a month (Intentional Living and The Compound Effect are great ones to start with)
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Journal
  • Find an event to attend and put steps in action to capitalize on the excitement
  • Meditate
  • Get active (yes—this CAN change your attitude)
  • Take a course 
  • Join a community organization

And just remember, as John Maxwell says, leadership doesn’t develop in a day.  It takes a lifetime.  So, be kind to yourself, and find a way to start growing TODAY.

x/o

Deanna