8 Crucial Strategies To Use In Your Self-Development (If You’re Willing)
Emerson said we choose to become the person we desire to be. Our self-development plays an incredible role in the transformation that we take in this process. We must take the proper steps to develop ourselves.
It’s hard, painful, and ugly, at times. It requires a vulnerability that we have to be willing to explore.
“You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.” ―Henry David Thoreau
Whether you are in your 20’s ready to set the world on fire, in your 30’s with more conviction on who you want to be, or just want to re-commit yourself to personal development — it doesn’t matter — these painful steps will be crucial in this process.
If you are going to work on your development, then you are willing to learn, grow, and do the work necessary for this growth.
Here are some strategies to enhance this process:
Be Willing To Let Go Of Your Ego
Yes, I know, you don’t have an ego, I must be talking about someone else, right? For the sake of this point, please assume that we all have an ego, to some extent.
It’s essential to adopt this concept first and foremost. To understand that we need to work at taming our ego, not eliminating. It’s like a weed in our garden. We will spray the weed, pull it up, and remove it the best we can, but the weed will still pop up from time to time, and we must continue the process of eliminating the weed. The ego does this, and we must prepare for this.
As Ryan Holiday said, “Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, your worst enemy already lives inside you, your ego!”
All along this process of developing ourselves, our ego will pop its ugly head up, and we will have to quiet it back down. It will tell us, “we already know this”, “that’s someone else, not me”, “I don’t need that”, and “I’ve got this mastered”.
Be on the lookout. You have to eliminate this voice and tame your ego time and time again in this process. It won’t be easy. It won’t give up. You will have to beat it into submission time and time again.
Be Willing To Adopt A Learners Mindset
I recently read an article about the late Kobe Bryant and the actions he was taking in his new career as a venture capitalist. Even before he retired from the NBA, he was cold calling companies to ask them how they did certain things. In later years, he would reach out to CEO’s and pick their brains on questions he had. He used the same strategy years earlier in his basketball career with veterans like Eddie Jones, Byron Scott, and NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. It wasn’t enough to know how to play the game; he wanted to ask the questions that would help him understand the nuances to the game, as well.
It wasn’t enough for him to just be good. He wanted to get better and better and better. We must adopt this same mindset, throughout our process of developing ourselves. There will always be room for improvement, and we must continue that process through the learner’s mindset.
Be Willing To Fail
Every day coaches, athletes, entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and writers put their talent out into the world with the hope that there will be a success on the other end of that attempt. And only so many of these people succeed when they do this. In many cases in life, we fail. Probably more often in life than we realize, we fail. It’s part of it. It’s a part of the process, just as much as anything else. We must develop the ability to get back up and keep moving.
Playing Cornerback in the NFL is quite possibly the hardest position — in any sport. Their job is to defend some of the greatest athletes in the world playing wide receiver, and to prevent them from catching passes thrown by one of the top 32 quarterbacks in the world — all the while not knowing what they are doing — not exactly a walk in the park.
Their job is hard, and it takes a mindset of being able to forget the last play — good or bad. Even the best cornerbacks in the world will have bad games, get burned, and give up touchdowns. But they have to be willing to line back up over and over again.
We need the same mindset. No matter how many times you may have failed, do it again. Then again and again. It will make you stronger, better, and closer to the next victory.
Be Willing To Rise Above Your Level
If you talk to just about any successful entrepreneur or business owner about their story of building their company, more often than not, their account — of how they started their business — will surprise you. Why? They didn’t know what they were doing in the beginning as much as you would think. They didn’t have it all figured out, and despite that — they still started.
The journey had a start, adaptation, and iteration. It wasn’t about knowing every answer, rather the willingness to rise to the level needed in each situation.
In life, as in our development, we will be faced with tough days, challenges, and obstacles that we haven’t yet seen, feel unprepared for and quite honestly think there is no way we can do it. We can. It just takes the mindset willing to take it head-on and find a way to get it done. In the words of Maria Forleo and her excellent book of the same name, “Everything is Figureoutable.”
Be Willing To Practice True Self-Awareness Daily
The Stoics were known for their evaluation of their day and recording in a journal. “I will keep constant watch over myself and — most usefully — will put each day up for review…We reflect upon only that which we are about to do. And yet our plans for the future descend from the past,” writes Seneca.
It’s crucial and imperative that we can genuinely evaluate our progress, lack of progress, strengths, and weaknesses in life — through a truly objective eye. Now is not a time to give ourselves a break or be soft with our evaluation. If we are, we will not improve.
We must question our habits. Our routines. Our processes. See the places we are failing and be willing to make adjustments. Do we anger easily? Do we procrastinate too often? What do we waste time and energy on, that we could avoid? Are we doing our best?
This self-evaluation is part of our process. It may not line up with the whole ‘Love yourself” mindset, but it’s necessary to make improvements.
When a baseball player goes 0–4, a CEO loses money, or a writer doesn’t sell a book well — do you think they spend any time looking at what went wrong or seeing where they could be better next time? It’s part of the process.
Be Willing To Be Obsessed With Tiny Daily Improvements
Tommy Baker — writer and entrepreneur — has written about his theory to improve 1% a day. He believes that if we improve 1% each day for a year, it results in over 365% growth in a year. The power of the compound effect can not be lost here.
“If you’re consistent long enough and persist through obstacles, you’re left with the beautiful force of compounding.” Tommy Baker
It is finding that tiny little edge of where you got better by the smallest of margins each day, and it will add up to so much more down the line. Be obsessed about it. That’s how all the greats are, in their own lives.
Be Willing To Fall In Love With The Process
It’s a process, this whole self-development thing. Somedays, some weeks, it will feel like there is very little progress developing. You will feel as if you are in quicksand — if you are only looking for results.
Many times in life, the results won’t be there — for whatever reason — and you have to accept that.
You have to learn to love the process. The daily routine. The daily rituals. Consistency in the mundane is what matters. Fall in love with this process and slowly stack up day after day after day, and you will find incredible rewards in your future.
Be Willing To Accept There Is No Finish Line
“Excellence is not a destination; it is a continuous journey that never ends.” Brian Tracy
There is no finish line. There is no destination. Our journey to develop ourselves is a constant work in progress. Learning, growing, failing, and developing, is just all part of the process.
It’s not always pretty. It can be ugly, exhausting, and sometimes feel like your running uphill with the wind in your face.
Keep going. Keep working. Keep rising up to the challenge.
The rewards are on the other side of that hill.