3 Keys To Creating A Self Development Plan That Doesn’t Suck

self development plan
Photo by wscullin

The Old Self Development Plan

This is how I used to look at life and a personal development plan, chapter by chapter.

  • What’s the next self serving mission?
  • How will I know I’ve completed it?
  • What’s the Stuff I want at the end of the mission?
  • Work on traditional skills that help me to get said stuff.
  • Got stuff.
  • Happy Ending.
  • Fleeting feeling of Accomplishment.
  • Shit, I want more…
  • Rinse & Repeat

My self development plan was based around being just good enough to accomplish said self serving missions.

A self development plan that keeps you just good enough isn’t a very good plan.

The MLM & network marketing industries are littered with this mindset because they want you behind their vision and to sell you on valuing money, cars and lifestyle over your own personal purpose. When you don’t have your own mission and purpose you get behind someone else’s. 

I’m not discarding the value of someone going into those industries. Shit, I did it for 10 years with one company. It helped me escape out of a 60 to 70 hours a week work week.  Just realize there is a ceiling in these industries too.

Anytime someone else creates the systems, creates the reasons for the systems and takes responsibility over how that business is run, you’re under their vision, direction & purpose not necessarily yours.

As long as you realize this and are Ok with it in your journey. Cool.

However, I feel this is why lots of people don’t make it in those industries or in any sales industries for that matter where you’re an independent rep.

What these people are chasing isn’t congruent with what they really see themselves doing or why.

I found myself always more concerned with asking questions like:

  • How do I make $100,000 a year?
  • How can I get that Lexus I want?
  • How much stuff can I sell so I get to the Atlantis in the Bahamas for 7 days?

I was chasing the stuff instead of pursuing my purpose.

I was bombarded with the idea that this stuff represented my freedom.

A friend of mine from Facebook recently said this:

“I think that we have lost this world to the material needs of incomplete people..”

I don’t believe we’ve lost this world. But I knew the person he was talking about because I realized not long ago, I was one of those incomplete people. And in many ways I still am.

Never before had it occurred to me to ask:

How can I create something where I contribute to leaving this world a better place than when I came into it?

  • What would that world look like?
  • What would the change need to be to make it happen?
  • What would be my part?
  • What skills do I already have that I could contribute to that change?
  • Who could I partner with to help me do it?

Now there’s a few questions to ask yourself.

Do the answers come right away?

If not, don’t be surprised.

I’ve been asking myself those questions everyday.

I now look at the network marketing industry as a boot camp that prepared me to go into the solopreneur world I’ve moved into. It taught me a lot. Little did I realize this was the seed of a new self development plan emerging.

It prepared me for this:

I came across a formula from one of my digital mentors and thought I’d share their take on how this all comes together from the formless goo of our thoughts to designing a life of purpose.

I’ve been implementing these 3 steps as well as sharing it with everyone I come across because I believe it’s just that powerful.

  • Excellence-Pursuing something through years of time, learning, mastering and practicing for the sake of just becoming excellent at it.
  • Purpose- You’re someone who can see a bigger vision for how the world could be or is going to be better. You just get this is what you’re here to do and this is how you’re here to contribute to this change. That combo of this vision of how things are going to be better and how what you’re going to do is going to connect and drive that, that’s what we’re calling purpose.
  • Collaboration- Developing relationships with like minded people where you work together on a project an idea, a strategy, a vision, something you and the other person can collaborate on and create that you’re passionate about. It’s a container you can work inside of together and your relationship with those involved will be different and better.

I’m going to share with you how these come together so you can begin to put together you’re own self development plan.

One that works with you and is congruent with your self identity. One that won’t have you fighting the heavy current while using your will power to try and make changes.

Theory Behind A New Self Development Plan

I’ve implemented the 3 steps above and it’s helped me discover a new self development plan and I’ll show you why.

ExcellenceHave you been pursuing a skill or endeavor over the years that you’ve become or are becoming excellent at?

Maybe it’s:

  • Writing
  • Acting
  • Singing
  • Painting
  • Speaking
  • Coaching
  • Writing code
  • Communicating
  • Listening
  • Organizing
  • Marketing
  • Mixed Martial Art
  • Sports Activities

The list could be endless.

Whatever it is, has it been a lot of work or have you just flat out enjoyed the hell out of it? (Probably both I bet)

It could be something small or even seem insignificant to you but it could be huge to someone else. It could be huge in the context of creating change to make your world and the world around you a better place.

I’ve been so guilty of discounting my own excellence in the past.

Hell I’d even dare say, I’ve been excellent at discounting my excellence!

Enough already, let’s let go of that story and its attachment!

It’s time to see yourself as accepting, able to receive and sharing your gifts in the world.

I refused to think I was excellent at something because I confused excellence with innate talent for years.

Is there such a thing as Innate Talent? (Innate = Results produced by the mind rather than learned through experience)

You know, the people who just seem to be naturally gifted.

Malcolm Gladwell says in his book Outliers, that it requires 10,0000 hours (10 years) to become an expert at anything.

Achievement is talent + preparation.

The equation means you are purposely and single mindedly mastering your craft with the intent to get better.

Excellence requires a minimum amount of practice in order to achieve mastery. Period.

Based on Gladwells research the average amount of practice required is 10,000 hours which equals 3 hours a day or 20 hours a week over 10 years. (How many people do you think watch 3 hours of TV or play video games 3 hours a day?)

Chances are you’re already excellent at something depending on how long you’ve been on this big blue marble called earth. If not, acknowledge what it could be, do it purposely and mindfully with the intent to get better. You’ll be way ahead of the curve by making the decision to start now.

PurposeI’ve heard the nonsense that not everyone has the ability to be successful. Or to become a CEO or a business owner.

Well who the hell says as a kid, “Mommy! I want to be a CEO when I grow up!”

Or a who grows up saying they want to be a dishwasher for that matter.

NONE that I know of.

All of the people I know of that became business owners, entrepreneurs or CEO’s of companies just had an idea or a picture in their head of the change they wanted to bring to the world.

I don’t feel it’s nearly as important what you call yourself as long as you’re following your calling.

A Self Development Plan Reflects Your Calling

Sure, maybe they wanted freedom but they also dared to dream & think bigger. Something that would contribute to a better world around them.

They were excellent at something and put forth the work.

Many of them didn’t have PHDs, college degrees or even high school diplomas.

They simply took the time and were able to see how they could make the world a better place. Plus they collaborated with others to make it happen.

Of course they wanted to be profitable too but they didn’t go into it and say I’m doing it just to make money.

Running a business normally isn’t a charity. (non profits aside) The profit is a result of the value they provided or a way of measuring the value they have distributed or the change they have created.

Besides starting and running an online business, and literally being your own boss or CEO, hasn’t ever been as easy as it is now. But it does start and end with what’s going on in your head.

So what derails someone from daring to think bigger?

Lets start by allowing me  to ask you a question.

Have you ever found yourself questioning your abilities and wanting to quit something because you didn’t get a particular result in the endeavor? You would if you didn’t have a bigger picture to compare the challenge to. In the scope of things it would have been a small set back in your journey.

Without the bigger picture (vision) you’re hosed and you quit pretty damn quickly.

In my early 20’s I’d take something out of context like failure to close a sale and then tell myself I just wasn’t cut out for it.  Then I’d consider quitting.

I was pretty miserable in those days because I wasn’t doing what I thought I was made to do. Since I was motivated by exterior factors to get the money, a shit storm of drugs & empty sex ensued. Oh and I nearly died twice.

People who are consciously on purpose (See a bigger picture of the world and how they contribute to it) don’t see those situations as losses though. They seem them as stepping stones towards the bigger picture they hold fast to in their mind.


Because they realize they are working towards that bigger vision or purpose and everything that happens in between is just part of the insides that make up the purpose sandwich.

Losses don’t equal loser to them.

As long as you are drawn forward towards your vision of contributing to your specific betterment of the world, you’re learning how to be a winner even when it doesn’t seem easy.

CollaborationEarlier in the post I quoted, “…your relationship with those involved will be different and better.” When you collaborate with others there is a deeper bond that is created.

“No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.”- Napoleon Hill

To Collaborate is to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor.

When intellects work together good stuff can come about of it.

Not only is your relationship with your collaborator different and better afterwords, but so will the lives of those who you touch with your vision and/or project.

Ironically even as a solopreneur I still collaborate with others. Some of that is just giving or requesting feedback, advice or even working on projects together because we have a mutual respect for one another and we’re on the same page with our vision.

I learned in the network marketing industry that business was not at all like school where you weren’t allowed to collaborate, (otherwise known as cheating) on the answers of a test. In business we collaborate on the answers all the time!

The How To Make It Work

Here are the steps I took to begin this process of creating a new self development plan.

  1. How could you begin to leave this world better than you found it?
  2. What would that better world look like?
  3. What are some of the challenges that you see people facing in the world?
  4. Describe it in detail.
  5. What would be a favorable outcome these people may seek?
  6. How could you contribute to to the change?
  7. What skills or specialties that you’re excellent at do you feel would aid you in your contribution to that change?
  8. Would you need to develop any new skills or mindsets and are you willing to become excellent at them?

Time To Assess

Does your current self development plan support:

  1. What you’re excellent at? (speaking, writing, coaching, teaching, creating, etc) Are you reading, practicing and implementing direct focus on what you’re excellent at? If the 10,000 hours freaks you out then maybe you need to reassess.
  2. Defining your purpose?
  3. Seeking out relationships where you’re able to collaborate with others to make it happen?

I realize this post is somewhat general. It’s not meant to be a detailed self development plan. It’s meant to give you a view from 30,000 feet of what your current efforts are. (Hopefully you have some current efforts but if not, contact me)

Is your current self development plan leading you closer to living a life of purpose & fulfillment?

Or is it leading you farther away and leading you down a path of chasing more stuff.

You can align your self development plan in a manner that is much more congruent with your values and how you really perceive yourself.

A final word word:

  1. A self development plan requires you to be absolutely honest about where you’re at in your life right now (no self judgements) You can’t deal with what you’re not willing to acknowledge, even if you don’t like it.
  2. A self development plan will always require you to take internal inventory of your true mental talents and resources.This is how you think and in what ways you think naturally.
  3. A self development plan requires you to align your actions congruently with your natural mental talents and resources for maximum affect. Otherwise you will impede your results by trying to use mental talents you don’t actually posses.  (These get tripped up with being called weaknesses when actually they just aren’t talents you posses or that come naturally.
  4. A self development plan isn’t something you set up just once. It’s wise to review it every 90 days. You wouldn’t not change your oil in your car every 3000 miles and your self development plan helps keep you mentally running smooth through out the transitions and transformations you experience.

Next Step:

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Leave you comments below and share your thoughts about the post or share your successes.

What’s worked for you and your self development plan?

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