If you are like most personal or spiritual growth junkies, you probably read many books. Maybe you also attend lots of seminars and workshops and purchase numerous online programs. After all that time and money invested in resources meant to create transformation, do you ever wonder why you, your circumstances, and your results don’t change?
Plain and simple, you aren’t getting a return on your investment because you are relying on “shelf-help” rather than self-help to create your transformation. So let me explain the difference and why shelf-help won’t get you the results you desire.
Shelf-Help Versus Self-Help
Shelf-help is like reading a book and expecting the content to create transformation in you or your life. While it is possible to have aha moments and learn new things from books, they won’t shift anything in your life until you apply those insights and strategies. Only when you shift internally will your external world change.
The same is true of transformational coaching programs, courses, and events. If you don’t use what you learn, you won’t experience transformation. As the saying goes, nothing changes until something changes. And what needs to change is you—from the inside out.
Self-help is like reading a book, having aha moments, learning new strategies, and then applying these to your life—or doing this in or after a coaching program, course, or live event. Self-help requires you to take action on whatever method you choose to pursue. Then, when you decide to do something different, you change. At that point, your life will change, too.
So, shelf-help is excellent—if you use it for self-help. But, if the tool or resource goes back on the shelf, it’s useless.
Action Creates ROI
If you’ve invested as much money as I have in books and other transformational resources and not seen a return on investment (ROI), the reason is simple. The ROI only comes from taking action on what you learn.
You can read millions of books, attend thousands of events, pay for hundreds of programs, and you won’t change—unless you do something different. Unfortunately, most people do all these things and never implement anything they learn. And if they do make a few changes, they don’t stick with them.
Then they have the gall to claim the book, event, program, coach, expert, strategy, or framework didn’t help them. For any of these things to create change, you have to help yourself. Period.
After all, that’s why it’s called self-help.
To realize an ROI on your transformational investments, you must take action on them.
I remember someone very close to me deciding that the Law of Attraction didn’t work. He claimed he had been trying to manifest for a long time, but he hadn’t succeeded. In fact, he had learned about the Law of Attraction from books, courses, and coaches and thought he implementing what he knew. He said he was focused on what he wanted, but he wasn’t. He was still thinking old thoughts about what he didn’t want.
And so, he manifested more of what he didn’t want. For instance, he constantly complained about how horrible his job was and how much he hated it. “I wish I didn’t have to work there,” he would tell me. And so, he got fired.
He still insisted the Law of Attraction was bunk. Yet, he manifested precisely what he wanted. He swore he didn’t want to get fired and claimed that all the books, courses, and coaches had done nothing to help him manifest anything.
I’ll tell you the same thing I told him.
Stop blaming or making excuses for why the transformational resources you’ve tried have not worked. Instead, take responsibility for yourself—and the fact that you never took action. Admit that you didn’t apply the tools, resources, and strategies you learned consistently or over a long enough period to see an ROI. And face the fact that you didn’t do anything different, and that’s why you haven’t transformed.
3 Self-help Strategies that Create Transformation
If you want those books, programs, coaches, and events you’ve paid for to provide you with the ROI you desire—transformation—approach what you learn from them differently. Begin by not putting the resources back on the shelf when you finish.
In other words, don’t shelve the book, put away the notes from your coaching sessions, shut down the online program, or stick the workshop notebook in a drawer. Instead, keep them out, open, and in plain sight.
Then use the following three strategies to create change.
1. Take notes during events and coaching sessions, highlight books while reading, and do all homework.
When you read a book, highlight important passages or use sticky notes to remind you of the text that inspired insights. You also can take notes as you read a book. Be sure to also take notes if you are in a course, coaching program, or at an event. (If you haven’t done this, go back and reread the last book you read, or start with the next one.)
If you are in a coaching program, like Certified High Performance Coaching, take notes during your sessions. Also, read and collect any follow-up notes sent from your coach.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking handouts or homework assignments provided by your coach or as part of an online program or event are optional. If you want transformation, they are required.
Also, if the book you are reading has exercises in it, do them! Don’t wait until later. Do them at the time the author makes the suggestion.
2. Review your notes, highlights, exercises, handouts, or homework.
Once you complete a book, event, course, or coaching program, review your notes, highlights, exercises, homework, and other related materials. Do this weekly…if not several times per week…for an entire month.
Then review once per month for six months to a year.
As you review, make a note of the most important takeaways. Then, create a document with these insights and review it weekly for three to six months.
Also, make a list of action items. What must you implement to create change? Put a star next to the three action items that have the potential to create the most transformation.
If you are in a coaching program or a multi-month online program, review your notes from sessions or modules each week. In fact, don’t just review the most recent one but the prior ones as well. You will see the most progress if you create additional opportunities to build on concepts week to week.
3. Schedule—and Take—Action
Last, get those action items on your calendar. Actually, block time to implement the strategies you learned and put the tools you’ve been given to use.
New and consistent action leads to change. So commit to taking action.
Many more advanced strategies can help you turn your shelf-help into self-help, such as changing your identity, developing new habits, and altering your mindset. I teach these to members of the Inspired Creator Community) and to my private Certified High Performance Coaching and Inspired Results Coaching clients.
However, you can start with the strategies described above and then track how quickly you begin to create change. In fact, tracking your progress is an essential part of any growth effort. And it will help you become aware that you are, indeed, getting a ROI.
Change can be forced upon you externally. But most of us hate to be forced to change. Thus, if it’s transformation you desire, commit to helping yourself. Stop relying on shelf-help to help you grow personally and spiritually, and rely on self-help.
How do you move from shelf-help to self-help? Tell me in a comment below, and please share this post with a fellow personal or spiritual growth junkie.
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