I only have one problem with personal development, it’s too personal.
It’s one of those buzzwords you either love or hate.
If you stacked end to end all the blogs, videos, books, and online courses about personal development, you’d have a pile to Jupiter.
Okay, I made that up. However, in all seriousness, with all of the resources out there to live better lives, we still struggle to do so.
With four months left this year, how many New Year’s resolutions have you kept?
Probably not that many.
The reason we struggle with our own personal development lies within its name, we make it too personal.
Why “Personal” Development Ultimately Fails You
I’m all for people trying to become the best possible versions of themselves. However, when people keep their dreams and goals to themselves, they ultimately fail.
This is where I struggle with the concept of personal development – it all falls on the person to improve oneself.
- Eat healthier? Those tots look tantalizing…
- Start a side business? I’ll just wait for retirement…
- Travel to a new country? I guess this one’s good enough…
When faced with tough goals, we often want to take the path of least resistance. It’s our human nature.
Life is hard. Living a better life is harder.
It would be nice if we had someone following us around and telling us what to do to hit our goals. Although this is an extreme example, it actually points us toward a different approach.
How Accountability and Team Dynamics Favor You
I’m terrible at follow through.
This year alone I’ve had so many ideas for side-businesses that could’ve helped me achieve my dream of self-employment.
Did I act on any of them? No. Why?
I didn’t bother to tell anyone.
In doing so, my thoughts and ideas -ideas that could have changed my life – evaporated into nothing as I went about my day.
However, the ideas I shared with my weekly mastermind group did evolve into something. Here are a few examples:
Every week, the three of us hop on a call for an hour to share our wins, work through our pain points, and offer help and support. That’s it.
These guys are my motivators, brainstormers, and accountability partners.
If I could pay them for the help I’ve received from them, I would. However, I know neither of them would take it. Why?
Because we’re a team. I don’t care how cheesy it sounds, when one of us succeeds, we all succeed.
Having a team or even just one person to help you walk through your goals is, in my opinion, the best shot you have at achieving your goals.
Even if it’s simply to have someone keep you accountable, go and find one person you can regularly check in with your goals (and in return, offer to be their accountability partner too).
I promise you will focus more on your goals than if you tried all by yourself.
A Coach, A Guru, and A Sherpa
I want to finish with this metaphorical situation:
A mountain stands before you. You want to climb the mountain but know you can’t do it alone. You tried once before on your own but barely managed to make it past the base of the mountain.
Out of three possibilities, you can only pick one to help guide you: a Coach, a Guru, and a Sherpa.
After reading through the options, who would you end up picking?
He sits at the base of the mountain and hands you a bunch of tools and maps. He even asks you to practice on a smaller pile of rocks. When he thinks you’re ready, he looks up and points at the best route to the top.
You start to climb, but the Coach keeps yelling for you to put your feet here, or position your hands there.
Instead of focusing on the summit you keep looking back at the Coach, hoping he’ll tell you exactly what you need to do.
But after a while, you start wondering if the only thing the coach is good for is breaking your fall…
He sits at the top of the mountain and calls down to you. He instructs you to listen because he’s going to tell you everything he did to make it to the top.
You grab a pen and some paper and frantically try to jot down everything he says. When he’s done talking, you are still left standing in the mountains shadow, afraid to take the first step.
He doesn’t even bother to throw down a rope.
He stands next to you. He has all the tools, maps, and food neatly packed in his bag. Nothing overwhelming, just the necessities to make it to the top.
He starts climbing up the slope, attaching anchors and ropes along the way. You stand at the bottom watching him glide up the rocks. You envy his ability and worry he might leave you behind.
But suddenly a rope falls from above. The Sherpa motions for you to grab a hold and start climbing. Pretty soon you are at the same level and surprised to find out it wasn’t as hard as it looked.
You continue in the same pattern, the Sherpa climbs a little bit ahead of you, and you follow.
Before long, right before the summit, the Sherpa stops and lets you pass him. For once, you aren’t afraid.
As you make the last few steps to the top, you realize all you needed was a helping hand.
Discussion Question: What is the metaphorical mountain you are facing today? Who would you pick to take you to the top? Share your thoughts in the comments.