Personal Development Advice
How do you know which is the 10% of personal development advice to follow? I’ll share my opinion on that in just a minute. But first I have to make a confession.
You see I’m guilty. I’m guilty of writing posts like ‘7 Steps to Gaining Personal Clarity‘, ‘8 steps to this’, and ’21 reasons to do that’.
Don’t get me wrong, I still feel they are full of good advice however…
The problem with lots of personal development advice in this kind of format, (including some of my own) is that much of it doesn’t take into consideration who you are as an individual.
I call it the blanket effect.
Consider this for a moment, what makes up you as an individual is your hierarchy of values.
When you read these posts that tell you to follow these ‘x” steps and you attempt to follow them, have you ever felt something about it just didn’t feel right? I believe it’s because rather than connecting with your values this advice is just laid on top of them. There you have the ‘blanket effect’. (Real scientific I know ;-))
My point is don’t go beating yourself up when you read a lot of this stuff in the blog o’ sphere, try to apply it and you don’t follow through on it. There’s a good chance it isn’t your fault.
Too many times people inject what they perceive as an authority’s value system into their own. If you could get inside their head and within their subconscious thoughts you would hear them say to themselves, “They are an authority, they look like they have what I think I want so it must work!”
What happens is this person tries to live their life through what is important to someone else rather than what is truly important to them. They don’t realize they have begun the search of some idealistic result that will never really fulfill them. It’s a moral dilemma.
You see, if you’re in this boat, you’ll find yourself setting conscious goals but having unconscious beliefs (based on your value system) and they conflict with one another.
Hence, you find yourself on this merry go round of not getting the results, or if you do you don’t feel fulfilled but you’ll keep reading and doing more and more personal development stuff.
It’s enough to make even the fastest nascar driver who goes in circles for a living a bit batty.
My Personal Development Advice
I’ve talked about values a lot on this site and I’ll probably talk about them a lot more because I feel that values are the framework for which just about all of your decisions are made.
The challenge is many people aren’t really aware of their values.
When you truly understand your hierarchy of values you understand why you feel compelled to do what you do. There’s just a lot of clarity that comes from operating from in this space.
I feel as if when you do the work and truly shed light on your values, you not only gain more clarity on your life but in the process you discover what you’re here to do. You begin to become inspired rather than requiring motivation.
The challenge with discovering your values is that they can seem so damn elusive at first glance.
I remember even saying to myself in the beginning of my work, “Just what the hell is a value anyway?” I had no clue.
Knowing your values at the present provides you with a lot of answers around your life. Lots of them.
As an example I would anguish with what am I here to do on this big blue rock floating through space. I used to think I had to be doing extremely epic shit with my life, like saving the world, in order to be living my purpose. I discovered our highest values and purpose are really one in the same. Matter of fact the study of the highest value is actually called teleology which the Greek root means meaningful and purposeful.
I’ve discovered living your purpose doesn’t really have to mean you’re doing anything on an epic scale. Chances are there are people in your very city or neighborhood right now who could benefit from your personal gifts and talents.
“You don’t need a grand purpose, it’s really the simplicity of looking at what your life is currently demonstrating and building from that.”
To me the above quote means our life is currently demonstrating and represents our highest values already. We just have to step back in order to acknowledge them. I feel many people don’t take these small simple action steps and start living on purpose because they idealize this big grandiose picture which seems so unreal. It’s almost so simple we miss it!
Hell, I’m so guilty of this myself.
I love what my friend Terri Johnston Fraracci said when I posted a quote on Facebook which was the seed for this post:
“Because what you do in your daily life speaks so much more of who you are than anything you think, say, or plan.”
Simple and true.
- How are you spending all of your time currently?
- What do you fill your space with?
- Who do you spend your time with?
- How are you spending your money?
- How do you spend your free time?
When you list out the answers to these questions (there are lots more to ask by the way), you may begin to see patterns in your behaviors as well as your beliefs. Ultimately those patterns lead to your results which are examples of what you currently value in life.
I’ve said before that when something is in your highest of values no one has to motivate you or encourage you to do it. You’re inspired to do it. That is inspiration. That is what you fill your time, energy and space with.
The question is this. What is that ‘something’ that you already feel compelled to do in life and how can you do more of it?
But what if you don’t like the answers to your questions? What if the answers aren’t pretty?
Don’t get me wrong, you may answer some of the above questions and may discover some alarming realities. You may say to yourself, “Damnit Tony, I don’t value being broke!”
Broke is just a result of holding something other than money in your highest of values. Broke isn’t something that happens to you, it’s something you unconsciously design.
Here in the western world at least, regardless of the financial climate, there are more than enough opportunities to educate yourself and to create financial opportunities.
The fact is, you can’t cope with what you don’t acknowledge. Answering some of the above questions allows you to stand in your current reality, acknowledge it and simply respect it for what it is so that you can create a plan to shift your circumstances if necessary.
I’m not saying you have to like that reality you discover. You just have to acknowledge it. Then you can begin to shift your values if necessary along with your current circumstances.
Yes, you can shift your values if need be. You just have to link something like money or relationships to your highest value and how it supports it.
If you’re tired of looking up at the end of the month and you find you have more month at the end of the money, you have to step back take a look at what you value over saving, investing or creating more cash flow.
If a person isn’t aware they value relationships over money and they are spending all of their free time with friends and socializing (which is where they also spend all of their discretionary income) it would be helpful to know that. It doesn’t mean they have to choose money over socializing. They just have to link saving or investing their money to how it can serve their socializing short term and long term.
These values have to be acknowledged and shifted in order for the circumstances of ‘being broke’ to encourage sustained change.
This means it’s crazy important (at least in my hierarchy of values ;-)) to acknowledge and become fully conscious of your core values.
I just feel before you adhere to any personal development advice, ensure that it is speaking to ‘your’ core values or at least understand how it can be linked to your core values.
Until you do, you’ll continue to read ‘7 tips on this’, ‘8 steps on that’ and continue to go in a big freak’n circle with no definitive shift in results.
The problem I’ve found is that acknowledging our values on our own can be as elusive to grasp as a unicorn in a kentucky derby. This is simply because we’re in the middle of living those values. The old, ‘you can’t see the forest for the trees’ idea has a lot of truth to it.
Is There A Solution
Sure there is. You can hire a coach to help you. Many of the good ones do value based coaching.
That way you are empowered through self actualization and what drives you. It’s the old feed a man a fish or teach them how to fish. Values based coaching teaches you how to fish.
You can also read the kind of work that supports understanding your decision making framework.
My friend Tim Brownson suggested an amazing and easy to read book called: Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long.
It actually takes you through a few real life scenario’s that help you understand what your brain is doing in every day situations. Pretty amazing book that can help you shed further light on what drives you daily to do what you do.
I realize this kind of reading may be pretty heady but knowing the framework from which you make your decisions and how it works in your life can serve you on whole other level to help you make the shift you desire and to grow.
“What we do every day on a minute to minute basis makes up the years of our lives. So make them count.”
So all in all this is why I can ignore 90% of personal development advice out there. Much of it doesn’t apply to your current values I bet or it doesn’t help you understand how to identify your current values so you can link the advice to them.
By the way today is the last day to get access to the Deep Self Confidence System. I’ll be pulling it off tomorrow and revamping the material into a paid for product. The feedback I’ve gotten on it have been great. Below is an example:
“A few months back, when you did your pre-launch for your modules, I was in a place where I was looking for exactly what you were giving- I filled an entire (thick-ass) journal with my answers to your questions. And I’ve never been the same.”
Be sure to opt in anywhere on the site in order to receive it.
Did any of this resonate with you and why some (or a lot) of personal development advice just doesn’t resonate with you?
Leave your questions or comments below about my personal development advice and if this was helpful please share it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or just email it to a friend.
Hi Tony, I don’t read list posts hardly at all anymore – I look for more analysis I guess.
I really like your emphasis on core values.
My dilemmas start with the change required to my values. I need to value money more I guess – I’m still poor. The way I would like to become wealthy is through blogging. Here is an example of the type of dilemma I face.
Putting up those pop-ups that dominate the screen I am told will get me lots more readers/money. As far as I am concerned they are just rude and make it clear I don’t really care for my readers experience. So I won’t have them on my blog. The question is here is whether I should embrace rudeness for the sake of money – which seems to be the change required. This is the kind of dilemma I have when it comes to changing my values.
Tony Teegarden says
Good point you bring up Even.
I’m not sure you “need” to value money more, just consider how would being more profitable at blogging allow you to serve your customers in a deeper more meaningful way. If you were more profitable how could you serve your customer better? Could you create more in depth programs? Could you take the time to research more? Etc. I would say the question is “if I was more profitable at blogging my readers and customers would benefit….” and finish the sentence. Keep writing until you can’t possibly think of any more ways they could benefit. (I can assure you there are hundreds of ways they benefit by you being successful)
It’s just a matter of linking being profitable to supporting your highest values.
Also if you notice I removed pop-ups from my site and many people I know don’t have them. I just read a post of a popular blog that was getting 15-20 optin’s a day and most were through the pop up. However he found the quality of those were poor at best. They would download his free stuff and then unsubscribe immediately after.
I think this is one of those cases where you may be injecting what you perceive as “working” on other blogs as something you must do in order to be successful. I just don’t feel that’s true.
You can run a heart centered business as I know several other sites do and
not feel as if you’re inauthentic or victimizing people for the sake of a
dollar. I feel I’m truly serving people here at this site and I can serve
them even further if and when they opt in to my email list. I believe there
are better ways to encourage people to optin too.
I know you care about your readers Evan and I believe running a heart
centered business can be profitable and a win win for both parties.
Thanks Tony. I know there are some heart centred blogs that do work as businesses. As to whether the pop-up things work I really don’t know – it is those who promote them that assure us that they work (hmmm). I can well believe that they deliver only low quality traffic.
Would you like to say more about why you removed them from your site?
Tony Teegarden says
The one I was using was pretty much all over the net and I just don’t think it was as effective. Plus I’m pretty sure it was annoying repeat readers and those who had already subscribed.
I’m also going to be redesigning the site and positioning optin forms in places that I feel will better serve the reader and they will be positioned in such a way that the reader has sincere desire to receive updates.
I did just purchase pipity which is a pop-up and I’m going to see if it fits my needs without being annoying but there’s a strong chance I won’t use it until I’ve redesigned the site and tested it without optins.
FOR SALE. One Personal Development Blog. Alas i do agree with quite alot you say in this article. You can read as many blogs or books that you can get your hands on, fill yourself with knowledge, but unless you apply the information to yourself you will change nothing. Action is what you have to put together with this knowledge. We are all unique creatures, but if we can get one thing out of what we read, then it was worthwhile. Our job and passion as personal development bloggers is to inspire our readers and motivate them to take action. So if only 1% of what i say has an impact on my readers, then i’m a happy man, making my contribution to the world.