Biggest reality-check when I finished school: no more standards to define my development.
Whether it’s grade school or grad school, most of our developing years are measured within a clear and measurable system. Meeting even the lowest academic requirements moves you from grade to graduation. Then what?
After school, those standards are gone. This possibly explains why so many people plateau. One stat says that for the majority of men, the last book they read was in high school. Unbelievable! The point is that as an adult, no one is forcing you to read, learn, or grow. Worse, growth isn’t measurable. There is no 21st grade.
You are solely responsible for your own personal growth.
The artist side of me: “Man, just live and go with the flow. Yeah, man!” The cerebral side of me: “Even a dead fish can go with the flow. Put a self-development plan in place and grow. Mr. Artist didn’t pay for the car, I DID.”
I built my personal growth plan around Zig Ziglar’s Wheel of Life. The premise is to have a growth plan for all 7 areas. I’m a big believer in building strengths, but I work on weaknesses so they don’t become a detriment to other areas. If one gets too weak, you end up with a flat tire. For example, I’m not so great at physical discipline. If I let that one slip, I won’t be healthy enough to work on the other six. Here’s a quick breakdown (these are my personal notes):
1. Spiritual: Serve and participate in a growing community of Christians. Ministry can suck the life out of my relationship with God. Don’t let God become a job. Daily Bible reading plan. Listen to preachers that are better and different than me once a week.
2. Physical: It’s for my own good. I can definitely do this. C’mon, I was a star basketball player in high school!…kind of. Lifting is fine, I hate cardio and lower body. I look and feel like crap though, so drop 12 lbs. before vacation and do P90X 5 times a week this month.
3. Intellectual: Read 4 books a month in a various topics (business, ministry, fiction, bios). This makes my brain process information in different ways. Blog 2x a week. Reading is input, writing is output. Watch lots of Korean films so I’m exposed to the language regularly. Never dress like the guys in the dramas though. Wtfreak, these guys use more foo-foo skin and hair product than Iris. I wonder if they even know what to do with a hammer and nails.
4. Family: Block out weekly time to date the wife. Don’t bring work home when possible. Support her horticultural and Pinterest obsessions. See immediate family once a quarter.
5. Social: I have many friends reflecting a wide array of people. Spend more time with local friends in person. Weekly if possible, though work schedule makes that hard. Also, fight to spend time with other married couples.
6. Career: My ministry, marketing and consulting can help lots of people. In 2 years I want to work for myself, speak, and write to help businesses and minister at no cost to churches with less resources. For now, build platform, network, and always be generous and add value. Avoid small-minded, judgmental, and cheap people. Be around those that inspire me with their generosity, hunger, and work ethic.
7. Financial: Surpassed annual income goals and free of consumer debt and loans. Pay off house completely in half the mortgage time. Save, tithe, donate. Minimize risk, maximize investments.
Clear goals and deadlines are non-negotiable in a personal growth plan. I write out a measurable result confined by time and work it into my daily routine. I don’t hit all of them all the time, but I’m growing at a much faster rate than I would otherwise. 2 books a month and 3 days of exercise a week are better than none, and better than most.
Take 30 minutes this week and write out goals in these 7 areas. Set something measurable with a deadline. You won’t step into your full potential by accident. Growth as an adult must be intentional. This really works!
What intentional steps do you take towards personal development?
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