Personal development. If you could put what drives career success into one phrase, that would be the phrase. Personal development is the conscious pursuit of self-growth by expanding self-awareness and knowledge and improving personal skills.
Basically, what it takes is for you to be aware of your personal drawbacks and strive to make yourself better – in every area, be it in personal or professional life.
The key component of personal development is self-awareness. If you do not know yourself, you cannot improve yourself. If you know yourself well, you will know what it is that will make you fulfilled. This knowledge is the foundation upon which true success is built.
However, the most common mistake you must avoid is thinking that fulfillment comes from what you get. Don’t assess career advancement opportunities based only on what you’ll get. The reason is that what you’ll get is not nearly as important as what you’ll become.
For instance, some jobs seem difficult with little pay but may offer more opportunity for you to learn, develop yourself, and become a better person. Another may offer more pay, look more ‘corporate’, but exposes you to less responsibility and experience. If you’re conscious of your personal development, you’ll prefer the former irrespective of the little pay.
This personal development principle is summed up best by John Ruskin when he says, “The highest reward for a person’s toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it.”
The important question to ask on a job is not, What am I getting? Instead, you should ask, What am I becoming? Getting and becoming are so closely intertwined—what you become directly influences what you get.
Most of what you have today you have attracted by becoming the person you are right now. So when you stop developing yourself, you have inadvertently stopped possible increase in your income because income rarely exceeds personal development. Even when your income takes a lucky jump (which happens sometimes), if you don’t develop yourself enough to handle the responsibilities that come with it, it will usually shrink back to the amount you can handle. The fact is: It is hard to keep that which has not been obtained through personal development.
Here is the great axiom by Jim Rohn which you should focus most of your attention on: To have more than you’ve got, become more than you are.
Hence, to progress, you must continue to develop yourself. The way to start is one small step at a time. Read value-adding books; take a course; volunteer in the field you hope to enter; join an organization that is related to your new career goal.
Otherwise, you just might have to contend with Jim Rohn’s axiom of not developing yourself, which is: Unless you change how you are, you’ll always have what you’ve got.
It’s no wonder many of us are not fully satisfied with where we are at professionally. Perhaps, we are ignoring that crucial personal component that helps drive change and great results.
Many people remain in jobs where they are not developing. And often the reason is that they have accepted that this is how they are just meant to work. It has not occurred to them that there can be another “life” out there. This acceptance of the “status quo” is, unfortunately, all too common.
Understood. Change can be scary but should we then get comfortable, even in our lack of development and fulfillment, and avoid taking risks that put us in new “places”?
We should always have new goals, things to look forward to, new experiences we want to have. Personal development is a life-long process. Ultimately, what it does is that it transforms you into a self-realized person living at full potential and reaching real happiness in life.
In other words, you can use personal development to steer your life to success. It’s possible. But you must make it a conscious pursuit and a continuous process.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
— Carl Gustav Jung