I think most people have more time than usual at this time. This maybe the best time to engage in personal development. Jim Rohn said work harder on yourself than on your job. He also said formal education will make you a living while self-education will make you a fortune. So, personal development can serve as a spring board to your greater success.
Here is my A – Z of personal development.
A for Acceptance: Personal development doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with who we are. So, the first step is to unconditionally accept ourselves just the way we are. Accept everything about you and that will serve as the spring board to further success. Take inventory of your entire life and let go of things that make you unhappy. This is easier said than done but if you push through the difficult phases of your life it will serve a springboard to greater growth from this moment on.
B for Blueprinting: It is like the carpenter’s motto “Measure twice cut once.” The basic point is visualizing in minute detail the person you want to become and take daily steps to be the person you visualized. The first image is the mental creation and then follow it up with action. Visualize yourself as the best version of yourself and then align all your actions to realize that vision.
C for Continuous learning: There are two types of learning maintenance learning and shock learning. Shock learning is when something happens in your industry that disrupts your world. We need both these types of learning in the current turbulent environment. Stay connected with the experts in your field, read their blogs, listen to their podcasts, read their books, document what you have learned and share what you have learned.
D for Discipline: To me discipline is a must to execute the vision you have set for the person you want to become. It is the opposite of procrastination. Here you take the action required to be the best you can possibly be. Discipline promotes freedom and enables you to live the life on your terms. Some of the ways to be disciplined are to do things that you don’t like even though that is the right thing to do. When you don’t feel like exercising that is the very time to do the exercise. These type of things are the ones that build your discipline muscles.
E for effectiveness: It is not an effort contest. It is about working smart and making the most of what you have. It is about getting more out of yourself with the available time. You can be more effective by managing your time well. Maintain a list of items to be done and focus on the most important first. Learnt to say no to the non-essentials.Your life is valuable and to get the most out of yourself you need to manage yourself well with the available time.
F for Focus: Focus is the key to your overall success. During your workday do not check social media or have few times in a day where you check it. Don’t have any notifications for your apps. In my case I don’t have any apps for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Therefore, I must go to the browser and log in every time. This ensures I check when I want to and I don’t get distracted with notifications.
G for Goals: As Tom Hopkins said “Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement.” It has been well established that you can develop yourself by setting goals for every area of your life. Set goals in your personal, business, social, health and contribution life. Goals really help us stay excited on the life journey.
H for Hours: Everyone has the same 24 hours but it is the management of the 24 hours which is the key. If you use the 24 hours to move towards your ultimate vision you will feel a lot happier and more purposeful. Hours are the change with which the achievers play the game. The hours you utilize for your best work will payoff big time.
I for Imperfection: Personal development doesn’t mean we should strive for perfection. In fact, how much ever we try we will never be perfect. No one is perfect and there are no gurus in this world in my opinion. All of us have issues but getting used to being imperfect is another key to feeling fulfilled.
J for Journal: Your life is worth recording. One of the keys for personal development is to take the time to know yourself. One of the best methods for that is recording your thoughts in a journal. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy just dumping your thoughts. You can also write your plans, goals and maintain gratitude lists. Every week you can write down what went well and what can be done better. Self-awareness is the key to personal development. 7 Ways a journal is beneficial. This is not a new tactic as Benjamin Franklin also used this method to come to many of his decisions.
K for Kool-Aid: What I mean by this is keep your input positive. Read positive books, listen to educational podcasts and keep learning. Immerse yourself in the Kool-Aid of inspiration and you will feel great.
L for Legacy: Sustained happiness can come when you align your actions to your legacy. This term has been talked about by the great philosophers of all time and a lot of authors have popularized the concept of leaving a legacy. Think about what you want to be remembered for and write it down. Look at this written paragraph or document daily. Once you connect with that deeper purpose of your life you will feel happier. You can check out my article on how to live your legacy. 9 Ways to Live your Legacy
M for Mastery: One of the keys for personal development is to master whatever subject you have decided to learn. Mastery is painful and it does take a lot of effort. The good thing is since not everyone will take the journey towards mastery if we decide to take it we will be more fulfilled. You may never reach mastery and it is more a process than a result. With the leveling of the playing field all of us have access to the same information now that was only available to a few in bygone eras. We can learn anything we want with the abundance of information available. At the same time, this also means ignoring the subjects we don’t have an interest in.
N for Negotiate: Learning how to negotiate is one the keys to a successful career. Negotiation skills are a primary requirement as you move upward in your field. Never split the difference is one book I liked on this subject.
O for Overlook: We all have areas that we need to improve on. Additionally, we also have certain areas which may not change. I would suggest we need to overlook some of our flaws if we want to rise to our best. We need to focus on our strengths and work on some of the weakness areas. Overlook other areas where you are not making progress and complement your team with diverse skills.
P for Persistence: Persistence is the holy grail of all achievers. It seems like how much ever we try sometimes things don’t go as fast as we wanted. We might be doing everything right and sometimes we still don’t get the results. It is now that we really need to keep the ultimate end prize in mind. Never lose sight of your ultimate victory.
Q for Quit: In personal development, the problem is we try to change too many things at the same time. This is surely not going to work. Even starting an exercise program, it is better to do something that will work for our situation than trying to do everything. If learning a piano is painstaking and quitting it will give you joy then go ahead and quit it. However, if you must do something at work persist there. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.
R for Responsibility: Take personal responsibility for your personal development. This is totally within our control and only we can make the decision on what to focus on. Taking complete responsibility for the way you are leading your life will give a greater sense of control which promotes self-motivation.
S for Service: Only by providing greater service than required will we feel completely fulfilled. Servant leadership is the name of the game. The only way we will be truly fulfilled is in the service of others through our work and contribution to the larger humanity.
T for Teachable: Having a beginner’s mindset will serve us well as we enter an era of disruption. Learning how to learn is probably the main skill we need as we navigate through turbulent waters. Keep your mind open to innovative ideas and take in idea from various sources. You may not like the messenger but learn to the listen to the message instead.
U for Unique: You are unique and there is no one else like you in this world. This uniqueness enables you to provide services that enable you to stand out and show case your talent. Keep developing your talents and understand where your strengths lie. If you understand your uniqueness and go forward in developing the required skills success will follow.
V for Vision: Defining the vision for your life is the starting point of personal development. What would you like to do with your life? This is a question only each of us can answer in our lives. Creating an exciting vision for our lives will ensure we stay excited on this journey.
W for Work hard: While working smart is essential it is also vitally important that anything of significance was never achieved without challenging work. Hard work simply means giving your best every time and trying to do it better next time. If we learn to get more out of ourselves with what we have we can do better.
X for Excellence: Commit to being excellent in the work you do. It can also come from being good in a hobby that you like. Being excellent in any activity makes you fulfilled. So, choose something that you want to master and your happiness will be taken care of. I think Thomas Watson from IBM said “If you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today. As of this second, quit doing less-than-excellent work.”
Y for Yearn: Yearn to have a great life. Have a powerful desire to do something significant with your life. Yearning to create a great life can keep you excited. Begin with the end in mind and enjoy the journey.
Z for Zeal: You need to have great zeal for your life. It is bringing that great energy and enthusiasm to everything you do. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Every great triumph in the annals of this world was due to enthusiasm.” Having high energy will keep your relationships energized as well. Ultimately the real gain is how you will feel about yourself when you are at your best all the time.
There you have it 26 keys to get you to your absolute best. Remember there is no perfection hence wherever we are in our journey we can be happy with who we are and what we have. I hope you enjoyed reading this post.
The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization. I have written earlier on A to Z of Management, A to Z of Life, A to Z of Leadership, A to Z of Love, A to Z of Time Management, A to Z of Happiness and A – Z of Success.