What is Personal Growth? it is a “process by which a person recognizes himself or herself and continually develops himself or herself to reach his/her full potential. Personal growth is an important part of a person’s growth, maturity, success and happiness.”
As each person is an individual therefore their experiences and take on personal growth will vary – be it physically, emotionally, socially, professionally, or spiritually. There is no universal strategy that outlines a singular path you should take to lead you to success or improve yourself for the better. Our experiences are all different and so too are our journeys to self or personal growth but the beauty of it is that the opportunities are endless and you can start at any stage in your life.
Before I delve right in and share with you some of the most common things that hinders or holds us back from personal growth, it is best to identify where you are as a person and use that as a starting point for your journey.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the S.W.O.T analysis – a simple strategic technique or tool used by organisations to help them determine and assess their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Both internal and external factors (positive and negative) are taken into account in the process to understand what needs to be addressed immediately for the success of the organisation.
It is an easy, reliable, encompassing and useful tool that many neglect to take advantage of. I bet you thought it’s only for big corporate companies and used for formal settings!? Well, take out your pen and notepad and start doing one for yourself because it’s just as useful for personal development as well. The tool will help you learn more about yourself and become more aware of your values, person, beliefs, failures etc. as well as potential solutions to address any problematic areas requiring urgent attention. Try it!
Draw out the same layout you see above on a piece of paper and start brainstorming. Don’t rush the process, be honest with it and be constructively critical of yourself and remain objective in order to generate meaningful results. You can do it by yourself or grab a friend, colleague or relative to tell you what they see in you in terms of your skills, traits, habits, etc. that can help you determine what you need to focus your energy on to improve or ones to let go of because they don’t contribute to your growth.
It’s best to understand first and foremost what it is you want from this exercise. What areas of your life do you hope to improve? Health? Career? Finances? Hobbies? Etc. For me, when I started, I wanted to learn more about my professional career and it helped me identify the path I needed to take and what I need to work on to achieve the goals I’ve set for myself.
The next most important step you need to take when you are aware of your results is you need to take ACTION! Your analysis is meaningless if you don’t implement it to provide the best outcome from this exercise. Ensure to track your progress and keep yourself accountable. Some guiding questions are provided in the template to help you along.
1. Lack of Resources
If you don’t have the resources readily available to help you achieve the goals you’ve set, this can easily be a deterrent to your personal growth. Perhaps you’ve identified your goals, but find they require resources you may not have, be it time, money, relationships or assets, so you get stuck at the starting line and become demoralised. You then begin doubling down on all the reasons why you cannot do this thing and essentially talking yourself out of taking the first step. The first step is key; it provides that all important initial momentum that you can ride all the way to achieving that which looked impossible to begin with.
So it’s essential that you silence that negative voice and start thinking outside the box! It might require hard work and sacrifice, but there’s often a way to achieve despite limited resources. You start small and work your way towards achieving your ultimate goal. All children learn to walk before they run, if you need a good analogy to put your thoughts into perspective.
There is a wealth of resources online and at community centres and a little research can often uncover various funding programmes that can be applied for! Take the time to explore and read/listen to related personal growth audio or books as well as free courses online via blogs or podcasts. These will have relevant articles and references/links to useful resources. I learned a few cool things about blogging from using free software available online, podcasts, and a book I grabbed from our local library I just happened to stumble upon.
The responsibility is yours. Make the time for yourself to learn and grow. A lot of successful people don’t need or have certifications to get where they are; but what sets them apart from the rest is their determination and willingness to continuously learn despite a million mistakes they made and corrected for along the way to success. After all personal growth is a lifelong learning journey.
2. Fear of Disappointment
Disappointment is “displeasure caused by the non-fulfilment of one’s hopes or expectations.” An emotion that can come from our personal relationships, friendships, family, jobs, and even our own expectations of ourselves.
Disappointment and dealing with the emotions surrounding it are part of everyday life. Not all of us deal well with disappointment and for those of you in this boat it’s essential to have strong supportive relationships in your life.
Personal growth doesn’t mean standing alone against the world, it’s a journey and it’s not one you have to take alone. The people around you can support and strengthen you to overcome disappointments along the way and power you on towards your goals of self-improvement. Don’t allow pride or what you might mistakenly view as strength discourage you from leaning on those who love you when you most need it.
3. Personal Circumstances
It could be that you have a young family that requires you devote all your time and energy to – leaving you with next to no time for yourself. Whatever your situation may be, strengthening your relationship with others and fostering a supportive environment is key to helping provide you with the breathing space to work on yourself. A significant other, understanding parents and siblings or just a really good friend can make all the difference in helping you on your journey.
It’s essential that you don’t view yourself as being selfish if you don’t spend every waking moment working and living for your family. Instead think of it as taking the time to give them the best version of yourself, one that is happier, healthier and working to make a better life for yourself and for them.
“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” – William Shakespeare
Self-doubt stunts our growth. It is that annoying and persuasive voice in our head that chimes up almost always when we don’t need it. To some extent self-doubt can save us from ourselves but if we allow it to overwhelm us then it’s a different story altogether. We need to have a healthy dose of confidence in ourselves to believe that we can do more, we’re capable of more, and we are good enough for anything that we set our minds to. Failures are lessons that will help improve ourselves and our situations.
You need to stop and ask yourself – how will I know if I like or I’m good at this if I don’t give it a try? Take time to reflect on what you need to develop yourself, prioritise them and then have a plan of attack.
This may come as a surprise to many, but this could potentially be one of the most prevalent reasons why we don’t take that step further to improve ourselves in any area of our lives. We become too comfortable at where we’re at in our personal lives or careers that we are content and will not bother to improve ourselves further. To put it simply; comfort breeds complacency and complacency is the death of innovation and growth.
It is important to take an honest look at your state of contentment and be able to differentiate if your contentment is because you have achieved all that you desired or because you don’t wish to face the challenges that come with continuing to grow and achieve new milestones. If it is contentment through avoidance, then it is time to start being brave again and have new adventures.
When it comes to personal growth, don’t be content. Don’t set limits for yourself when you know you’re capable of more. Don’t be afraid of failures because that’s where you learn and be able to redirect your focus or path. This life is short and we never know when our number’s up.
Invest in yourself today and love to learn. Life is fleeting and the world is your oyster, take advantage of the opportunities that come your way. It’s only natural to experience fear and trepidation when faced with the unknown, but try to say yes to things more often than you say no.
Don’t be afraid to take a step in a new direction. Too often we treat failure of any kind as the end of the world. It’s important that we treat it as just another experience. You cannot make everyone like you, nor can you be successful at everything, but that should never be a reason not to try and foster new relationships or have new experiences.
The truth is you never know whether a new relationship might turn into one of the most important and precious in your life or when a risk taken results in life changing consequences for the better. It helps to be talented, beautiful or clever, but success and self-growth is more often than not primarily driven by indefatigable determination.
Check out the following useful resources to help you on your personal development journey:
Which of the aforementioned road blocks has stopped you from improving yourself? Let me know in the comments or if you have any queries don’t hesitate to ask!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mandria Sua is a mother of two and new to blogging. She recently resigned from a well-paid job to pursue her own interests and dreams. She finds blogging fun and uses it as a platform to inspire others including herself through her interests in crafting, baking, self-growth, sports and fitness, and adventures including other bits and bobs. Find out more on her blog and social media accounts, including Instagram and Facebook.