I cannot stress enough the importance of self-development. It is THE most important thing you can do for yourself. Yes, I said it, it is numero UNO! (for my Spanish peeps ;-)) I say this because it is the foundation on which your life is built. Imagine building a house with no foundation. You just start building this big beautiful house right on top of the ground. What do you think will happen as you start putting all the heavy building materials on the dirt? Correct, it will not be able to stand up.
Honestly, I don’t even know if you can start building a house right on the dirt, but I use that analogy to point out the fact that this is how people start building their life. I know there is no “This is Life” handbook, (boy, wouldn’t that be great!), but when you become an adult, (I’ll say 21 here), there’s some things that you should know. Like how to write a check ( although I don’t know how many people still write checks anymore) how to drive, how to pay bills, etc. I am going to jump out on a limb here and say that the first thing that you should 100 percent, absolutely know IS YOURSELF!
I know we learn about ourselves as we move through life, through lessons, relationships, jobs, and so on. But I’m talking about things that should be Basic Human 101. For example,
- What do you like?
- What don’t you like?
- What do you want to achieve, right now, at this stage in your life?
- What do you value?
- What is important to you?
Many times, we don’t ask ourselves these questions to understand who we are. People go through many years of life not really knowing who they are, so by default, they don’t know what they want! Then, when they do finally figure out who they are, they’re older and wish they would have done “this” when they were younger. I am guilty as well! I’m going to be vulnerable here and tell you guys that I did not know who I really was or what I really wanted for my life until March 2021. That’s right!! Isn’t that crazy!! As you get closer to your 40s, I think that’s when you really start to pay attention to yourself. It’s like there is a switch in your mind that’s like, ok, you’re 37 now, LIGHTS ON!
How many of you guys did “a thing” in your late 20s or early 30s that, if you knew then what you know now, things would be sooo different? I’m sure EVERYONE over the age of 35 has their hands raised. Now, I’m not saying that you can’t live and experience things as a young adult that’s not a little irresponsible, because the majority of people have done something that was fun, but probably not the “right” thing to do at the time. If you went to college, everyone should have their hands raised….I’m just saying.
But in your 20s, if you had read one self-development book a month that taught you how to manage your emotions, or even made you aware that there is a such thing as managing your emotions, how much better off would you be? How much more prepared would you be to deal with situations and your reactions to other people’s actions? Learning has a stacking effect; as you began to read a lot of different books or listen to inspirational podcasts, you begin to make associations. These associations could link to different problems you’re dealing with and can help solve them. This is why working on your mindset through self-development is key! You are working on HOW TO THINK BETTER.
How valuable is that?
Question & Answer
I’m going to ask you a question. Yes, in addition to the ones I’ve already asked. If I were to come to you right now, wherever you are, and said “Tess (pretend your name is Tess), there is a seminar that starts tomorrow for 4 consecutive days. It’s 2 hours from here, so you’d have to drive and get a hotel. The cost is $10,000. (You have a credit card with an open $12,000 limit). At the end of those 4 days, you will know exactly who you are, and know what your purpose is in life. Do you want to you go?”
Before you answer, I’m going to preface this with my answer. Depending on what part of my life I was in, I for sure would have said no because:
- I have work tomorrow.
- How am I going to pay off that $12,000?
- I have no one to watch my son.
- I can’t be away for that long, I have other things I need to do, etc. etc. etc.
Majority of the Tess’s would give an answer like that, and I understand; sometimes it is what it is. You’re unable to do it. But if you were in a growth mindset and knew the most important thing you could do for your life is to find out who you truly are and what you truly wanted, you would go. Let me tell you how this principle of self-development played out in my life.
My Story (Recap if you’ve read my About Me section)
I lost my job in September 2020. I was a Project Manager contracted with the Government on a five year contract. The contract ended in September, and while they were working on a renewal, they had to let my team go. At the time, I was like, “okay, I could use a little break; the contract should be back soon.” But then the timeframe extended longer and longer. Months went by, and still no word. I got into the cycle of trying to decide whether I should wait for that specific job or apply for other jobs.
Now, if any of you have been out of work for an extended period of time, you know about imposter syndrome. That’s what happened to me. After not working for months, I started doubting myself. I wasn’t sure if I could perform the jobs that I applied for. I thought, “what if they ask me about this, I don’t know how to do that.” I reviewed many job descriptions and wanted to qualify for 100% of the role before I even felt comfortable applying. In this instance, one can clearly see I was not in the best mindset to actually apply for and land a new job.
The Role of Self-Development
This is where self-development played an important role in my life. January 2021, I saw an ad for a free Facebook seminar by Tony Robbins called the New World, New You Challenge. I was aware of who Tony Robbins was. I always wanted to attend one of his seminars but thought they were too expensive. It was great that this one was free, and I was available. The stars lined up perfectly!
That first seminar led to a path of four additional seminars that completely changed my mindset, and it is the reason why you are reading this post today. Hearing all of the speakers talk about their journeys and struggles, completing the writing exercises that went deep on how I think and why I do the things I do, connecting with other people… it was all an absolutely amazing experience.
I asked that question earlier about going to a seminar and spending that money because that’s what I did (even though it was virtual, and I didn’t have to drive). I was out of job, living on unemployment check to unemployment check, spending hours and hours at seminars, as well as lots of money I did not have.
And I would do it all again. Because that journey has led me here. In May 2021, I decided to become my own boss, no money and all! (Read my blog post, Become Your Own Superhero.) I took something I was struggling with (my scar) and turned it into a platform where I could develop myself, grow myself, help other people, and also finance my life. None of this would have happened if I had not made the conscious decision to work on my mindset. It all starts there!
The lesson here: work on yourself. Read a book. Listen to an audible. Listen to a podcast. Do whatever you need to do to grow. Trust me, it is worth it!
Please leave a comment! I would love to know what you think!