To all of my personal development lovers - this blog is dedicated to YOU.
Whether you’re a small spender on products to help you gain a new skill at a time to an investor who seeks massive mind shifts - we can ALL agree there are more books, assessments, services, events, tools, frameworks, and support structures than EVER before.
With a simple google search you can turn up hundreds of companies that created content to help you move forward if any way you can imagine. Even on social media, you can find thousands of groups dedicated to helping you master your mindset or skills in a particular arena. Seriously, I could probably go on and on with all of the offerings I come across as a coach.
It can be overwhelming, however, if you are feeling stuck in your job or in life and want to make a change for yourself. You can find yourself pouring over the mountain of personal development options like a maniac (I’ve been there myself) and it creates more frustration at times because you may not be really sure what to do first.
On the other hand, there are others who are avid personal development investors and looking to up their lives to the next level. It can be challenging to decide where to prioritize your time and energy.
I hear questions that are very similar to both situations like: “What’s worth the investment?” and “How do you narrow down to what works best for me?”
Whether you are a personal development investor or newbie, here are my top tips for narrowing your search and deciding what’s worth it and what can go on a wish list.
Whatever your need is - all personal development falls into a couple of different categories and are primarily focused on personal and professional skills.
Soft Skills- So for those of you focusing on developing your career skills right now and looking toward a promotion in your organization, some soft skills that are offered help you to learn key skills like navigating the challenges of management and other communication-based skills that are essential for keeping a team motivated and efficient.
Looking to make a jump into a new department or industry? You’re going to need direct skills necessary to be able to perform your new responsibilities. Skills in this area are step-by-step and include things like coding, financial accounting, public speaking, search engine optimization, starting a business, etc.
For those focused on their own personal growth, skills in this area would lean toward your mindset and building your “inner dialogue” skills (e.g.: personal transformation, learning to communicate with loved ones more effectively).
A number of personal courses have been designed to help us learn more than what is taught on the job. Hobbies and activities that we enjoy are vital for our development, and many of these courses help you understand the “how tos” (e.g.: Tennis, photography, personal branding).
Must vs. Nice
Many people float different ideas on where they want to focus on when it comes to making a change. Deep down when we are ready, you feel that urge that you just HAVE to start. If you’re ready to start but not sure what to focus on- grab your note pad or virtual note taking tool handy.
Split your ideas into two categories using the following steps:
- List out your personal development vision (why you’re working on yourself and what you want to see happen)
- List the skills and ideas you want to work on to get toward that vision
- Separate your list into two categories-
- Must have- these are critical skills for making your vision happen or helping you to achieve a current goal you have (changing jobs, promotion, improving yourself, getting a new hobby, etc).
- Nice to have- these are the not to critical but ideal skills you’d like to develop
- Circle the top 3 important skills (for now of course!)
For any of you who already invest in personal development but find yourself stuck with competing priorities, here is an exercise to help you focus on your next move as well:
- List your top skills to focus on over the next 6 months
- Identify the top priorities you have for choosing a program (the below list is not all inclusive!)
- Does it need to be flexible with your schedule?
- Does it need to be family friendly?
- Does it need an in-person element?
- Conduct your search and list out the programs that match your exact needs and criteria
Once you have the list of skills you really want to work on, the next question I typically hear is “How do I know if a program is worth it?”
That absolutely makes sense so let’s take a look at whether or not a program is worth the $$$.
Deciding where to invest your time and money can be boiled down to a couple of key questions:
- What is my measure of success after completing this course/program/worksheet/retreat?
- What are my expectations for this investment? What do I expect to do or experience as I am going through it?
- How reasonable are the expenses associated with the program? What does it NOT cover?
- What will it cost me (this applies more on the professional side) if I DON’T do this? How much money could I be losing?
- How will I feel if I say no to this opportunity? Will there be disappointment or elation?
In a broader context, each of these questions should challenge you both mentally and physically to understand if spending the money (especially if it’s a bit out of your current comfort zone) is really worth it.
In order to truly know if you are ready to take the plunge, make sure to keep an honest perspective with yourself. Some of us dive into personal development without truly knowing why we are doing it- and then there are others who wait a lot time to “figure it out” before they can take the next step. Whichever camp you’re in- there isn’t a “perfect” time - sometimes it’s about trying something and working it out as you go along!
Remember that a wise investor first invests in themselves before others.
Cheers to your development!