In a world where we are being bombarded with suggestions that we need to change, grow, be better, feel more, connect, make more, do more, earn more, be more, breathe, eat better, drink less, exercise more, choose the right colours to wear, sit our furniture in the correct position, automate more and slow down to connect better – ARGH !
I don’t know about you but I am in personal development overload.
Funny thing to say for someone who delivers personal development, right ?? Not at all. In fact, in the past five years I’ve spend numerous tens of thousands of dollars on my own personal development. Why? Because I had identified areas of my life that I needed to change. I sought out solutions to skills that I wanted to grow. And I wanted to ensure that I could weave as the others were ducking. We all need some help of some sort be it through accredited training, coaching or mentoring or even some transformational experience at some point to remain current.
Anyway – if you are currently seeking what you will either call personal development – or, more likely a solution to a problem that you are facing (let’s wrap it up in the context of a “solution”), there is no doubt that you will by now be bombarded by dozens, if not hundreds of possible options, pathways and choices.
So where do you begin?
1. Journal about it: Consider why you really (no, really) want to engage in some sort of change process. Is it so you can gain a qualification, meet a new network, gain an employee, learn a new skill, solve a problem. Get really down and dirty with your purpose. Understand, no, REALLY understand what you are seeking and why. As you go through this process ponder the following questions:
a. What do you really hope to learn, change, gain in the process and what would be the best possible outcome?
b. Does it require a formal qualification?
c. Do you want to work by yourself or with a group?
d. Is your problem likely to be similar to someone else’s or is it unique?
e. Are you prepared to do leg work by yourself or do you need a guide?
2. Talk it out: Once you have formed a clear understanding of what you’re looking for find an impartial sounding board to talk it out with. Someone who will just ask questions that will draw out your greatest hopes and desires for this change and ideally pose some questions that you have not as yet considered. Following the talk fest it’s time to commit to the solution you seek. Write down the following information: Your budget, the exact outcome you want to achieve, the time that you can dedicate each week, the type of solution (a course, a system etc) and commit.
3. Lurk: With answers to questions 1 and 2 at hand it’s time to lurk. Go to Google, talk to friends and associates, you could even put up a Facebook or LinkedIn post. Remember, you are gathering information only at this point. Also know that you are at the purchasing point that makes anyone in a sales process go into a lather. You’ll be offered free stuff, trials, e-books galore, long – heartfelt conversations and maybe even a kidney or other body organ. Remember, you are just lurking.
4. Engage: Consider how the solutions you’ve identified align to the parameters you set at point 2. If you are still tossing up between a few options think about how the organisation you’d be working alongside makes you feel. Did they get back to you on time? Do you agree with their philosophies, ideas? Check out their social media and blog – are they going in the same direction as you? Would you happily add their logo to your marketing materials (proudly trained by…) Choose your top THREE solutions and make contact. Get on the list, accept the free e-books, engage in the free appointment or call. Reassess and
5. The purchase choice: Time to buy in. Have a good conversation with your service provider to ensure your needs are clearly expressed. Check the fine print to ensure you fully understand your commitment and contract. Make some notes about where you are now, and set goals for where you want to be. Check in regularly to ensure you are on track – you might consider doing this alongside to your providers measurement systems to ensure it is in your own language and remains aligned to your goals (noting that your goals may just shift a little over time).
There are hundreds of thousands of options in the marketplace these days. If one doesn’t feel right to you, use your gut, move along. Not all personal development providers are made the same – no matter how shiny their offerings (or salespeople’s tongues) are. Take your time, but don’t wait forever to decide, a solution to your problem awaits – it’s up to you to get started.