Regardless of which words you use, chances are as the New Year begins, you are thinking about some sort of development; some sort of approach to creating change, growth and advancement in your life.
As you think about our world today, the good news is that you have lots of tools to choose from for any of these development efforts. The bad news is that you have lots of tools to choose from.
The challenge isn’t finding the tools, it is not getting lost in the sea of options – having so many choices that you are immobilized and ultimately choose . . . none.
This short article is designed to help you think about the blizzard of options you have for any development desire and to give you a simple process and series of questions to help you select the best tools and approach for reaching your development goals – whatever they are.
Find Your Focus. You can’t pick the right tool or right type of tool until you know on what you really want to focus. Let’s take leadership development as an example. While that does narrow your focus from career advancement, or something like that; leadership development is still a pretty broad category. Do you really want to become a better communicator, or more influential, or a better coach, or better at delegation or what? As you begin to refine your focus it will help you filter and find the best tools for your needs. Ask yourself: “What is my specific development focus?”
Recognize Your Learning Style and Preferences. Getting clear on how you best learn and how you prefer to learn is an important piece of self awareness and understanding. And, as important, it is critical to not only finding the best tools, but using them once you have them. (After all you won’t learn by osmosis – you will have to use whatever tools you select.) Do you prefer to interact as you learn? If so, find tools that include a live component – like a live teleseminar or webinar (or of course a face-to-face seminar or workshop). Do you like personal help and attention? If so, find a coach or mentor to help you in your specific development area. Do you learn well by listening or reading? If so, audio recordings or books/transcripts may be the place for you to start. These are just some examples of what I am talking about. Start your sorting process by asking yourself: “How do I learn best and what clues does that give me in picking the types of learning materials I want?”
Determine Your Goals. Focus is fine, but what you really want is a specific learning goal. Your focus area might have drilled in that clearly; if not, before you pick any tools, get crystal clear on exactly what success looks like. Use what you already know about goal setting to inform you here. Be specific, have a measurable outcome, have a timeline and be clear on the purpose for and benefits of reaching that specific development goal. All of these factors will help you pick the right tool. Ask yourself: “What is my specific learning goal and why is it important to me?”
Identify your Mentors and Experts. After doing the first three steps you should be zeroed in on specific learning outcomes and have a good picture of the types of tools that will work for you (whether recording, reading materials, checklists, live sessions, coaching and more). That will narrow the field, but you likely will still have many experts and/or mentors to choose from. Do a search, ask your friends, or review the experts, trainers and writers that you already read and/or follow. Which ones have a style or approach you like? Which ones seem to match with you philosophically? Which will you enjoy learning from? Making this an intentional decision will make you far more successful in making the best choices and following through on your selections? Ask yourself: “Who has the expertise and tools that will help me reach my development goals?”
Invest in yourself. You’ve figured out your focus and your goals. You’ve determined the best type of learning materials to meet your needs and style. You’ve even figured out who you want to learn from. Great! Now it is time to invest! Think about your goal and why reaching it will make a difference in your life. With that in mind, realize that nothing in life (or personal and professional development) comes for free. You must invest your dollars in the products and services. You must invest your time in using them. You must invest in yourself. Are there free resources available to help you in your specific goal? Most assuredly. Should take advantage of them? Without a doubt. Recognize though that free will likely only get you so far and likely not all the way to your goals. When you have invested the time and thought into the first four suggestions, it will be clear to you that you are worth the investment to get what you need. If you are serious about your development, invest appropriate. You are worth it! Ask yourself: “What is reaching my development goal worth to me – financially, personally and more?”
Five suggestions; and five related questions. Take these suggestions and answer these questions and you will to translate your plethora of development options into obvious picks for your success!
Of course, the unstated step is the most important of all – you must take action.
You must read the book, listen to the recordings, do the suggested steps, attend the session, etc. While I realize this goes beyond the advice of how to pick your tools, none of that activity will matter if you don’t use the tools and apply what they offer you.
Remember that you are worth it – and you can reach your development goals. This set of suggestions and questions will help you choose intelligently and help you move towards those goals – and gain those results much more rapidly.
It is time to get started.
Potential Pointer: There are more tools now than ever to help you improve your skills, achieve your goals and reach your personal and professional development targets. The challenge isn’t finding tools, but finding the ones that work best for you, and then getting started!
Remarkable leaders know personal and professional development is critical to their success. One way many aspiring and successful leaders feed their development is by participating in The Remarkable Leadership Learning System – a one skill at a time, one month at a time approach to becoming a more confident and successful leader. Get $748.25 worth of leadership development materials including two months of that unique system as part of Kevin’s Most Remarkable Free Leadership Gift Ever today.