I went to a conference recently run by the Expert Industry Association. I did it to advance my business—to help me learn how to do what I do better. I was surprised to hear—or maybe not so surprised—that most of the presenters spend a ton of time and money on personal development.
Some of them admitted they had purchased courses and coaching programs costing them $50,000 or $100,000—sometimes for one course or program. They all said they paid at least that much per year on personal development.
Not only that, almost every one of the speakers, almost all of whom spoke about business-related topics, mentioned their belief in the Law of Attraction, the need for a clear and detailed vision or goals and that thoughts and beliefs affect outcomes in every area of life, including business. They told personal stories to illustrate these points.
Since my early 20s, I’ve believed that thoughts are creative. I’ve read many books on deliberate creation or the Law of Attraction. I have taken numerous courses on personal growth and human development. I am a proponent that our thoughts and beliefs govern our decisions, actions and outcomes. I’ve also used these principles in all areas of my life quite successfully.
I’ve used these principles consistently in my life and in my business. I’ve seen the work. They’ve helped me achieve my goals and create numerous positive changes.
I just don’t always talk about this in my business. Yet, more and more often I hear my colleagues doing just that—talking about it. So maybe it’s time for me to do the same.
My Dream, My Books
Interestingly enough, the books I’ve wanted to write for years—the ones I started out to write but got sidetracked from writing—were about these very same topics. If you’ve ready any of my self-published books, the ones I wrote as short versions of full-length books I intended to write, you probably realized this is my belief system.
My plan in the next year or two actually is to return to writing these books.
I wanted to write about these topics because this is what jazzed me. This is what brought me joy. This is what I believe and wanted to share as a way to make a difference in the world.
Why I Took a Different Path
I took a different path for quite a number of years to help my business grow and to become a traditionally published author. Quite simply, it was easier to land a tradition publishing contract by focusing on my area of expertise.
As I stopped working on these other books and focused instead on writing and speaking about blogging, writing and publishing, I stopped talking and writing about these “other” topics or building a business around them. I even stopped posting to this blog as often, which is where I discussed these principles. Not only that, I stopped investing in personal growth. I stopped reading books about human development as often. I stopped going to metaphysical and spiritual groups that supported my quest to learn more about how to realize my own potential and to practice what I knew and believed.
Despite these facts, I continued to purchase books and CDs on these topics, but I rarely attended a course and the books remained unread, the CDs unlistened to as I focused on my business.
Part of the reason for this also had to do with two moves away from my support group—a women’s group in Atlanta. And part had to do with my partner’s growing disinterest in these topics.
But these are excuses…I could have continued jogging down my path of personal growth on my own, or I could have found new people to run with regularly. I chose not to do so.
Personal Growth Tools Get You Closer to Your Goals
How much farther along might I be if I were more focused on my own personal growth—as focused on it as I am on helping others with their own personal growth? Indeed, in my newest book, The Author Training Manual, which ostensibly is just a book about how to successfully publish, I actually talk at great length in one of the chapters about how to become a successful author. The means to this end? Change your thoughts, beliefs, decisions, and actions. Woven into the book are the same principles discussed by the presenters at the EIA Conference—and that I have known for years, recommended to clients, and used myself.
Yes, I’ve used them. And I still do. I just realize after the EIA conference that I need to spend as much time reading all those books on personal growth I’ve purchased—or going to courses and listening to CDs—as the ones on writing, publishing, blogging, and running an expert or information product business. I need to more consciously use what I know about personal growth and personal development. In fact, the only way to succeed in business—or in life—is to work on yourself, to keep improving. The only way to succeed, period, is to realize your potential as a person by constantly looking for ways to transform yourself into who you want to become.
My New Goals
I’ve decided to try to read at least a book a month that relates to personal growth. I don’t know if I can, but I’m going to try. I have enough books in my library at home to keep me busy for a few years!
I used to have a group of friends I met with regularly…long ago in Atlanta…that supported my personal growth. I’m also going to look for a group or groups to attend that are focused on personal growth—to get support.
And I’m going to remind myself to use what I know and what I learn—on myself, not just with my clients. But I’m going to be more verbal about these tools with my clients as well.
I may not have $50,000 or $100,000 to spend per year on personal growth—or even on one program or course. (Not yet anyway, but I hope to one day soon.) I can accomplish things of that value in other ways if I put my mind to it. And that’s really what it’s all about—improving my mind so I can improve myself and my life.
What about you? Are you spending any time or energy on personal growth? Do you see it making a difference in your life?