Do I need to go on another training course on personal development to get better in what I do? Do I need another coach, guru, or an on-line TED Talk?
Ambition with no direction
I asked myself this question, many years ago because I spent (invested) all that money (literally thousands of pounds) taking golfing lessons with several golf coaches. I even went to a golf psychologist. I love playing golf and wanted to play from scratch (zero handicaps). I just wanted to improve and be very good. Nothing wrong with that? Or is there?
To top it all up, I also created my own golfing brand to take it to the market. I travelled to several countries sourcing and promoting my brand. I wanted my products to be like the top sporting brands, Nike, Taylor Made, Callaway, Ping. I had a dream of my branded products being on the shop shelves with the big players.
I was heading forward but with no clear direction or guidance. Money was spilling out of my pockets. Unbridled passion had blinded me.
I was a very small fish swimming in the ocean oblivion to the shark-infested water. I got bit and bit very hard. I almost lost my life.
I’m not embarrassed to admit my failure because it is the reality.
Not only did I lose all the money and get into debt, but it also had a horrendous impact on my relationships. I learnt the toughest and most challenging lesson in my life.
The good news is that I recovered and recovered really well. Relationships, health, finances were all restored. In fact, things got restored to better than before. However, the scars are just the reminders of the mistakes never to make again.
Because of my desire to help others, I began coaching & mentoring people who needed my guidance (pro-bono). My coachees and mentees benefited from my coaching and they appreciated my help to this day. I too, feel really proud of their achievement and felt that I played a part in their success.
At that time I couldn’t officially call myself a Life Coach or Mentor. It’s like being able to drive a car but not officially recognised as a driver until DVLA issues a driving licence. One has to pass the test satisfactorily.
I realised I needed to learn and train to a professional level. I had a definite purpose in my life again.
To raise my game to the next level to be the best I could, I spent hours of learning, training. went to college, passed and obtained the title of a Coach and Mentor. I feel I achieved what I set out to do but I still continue to learn and train.
Personal Development Training Courses
I completely believe in personal development and improvement and it is important.
It simply means bettering yourself, raising your game and achieving your goals. It’s all about you, hence the word personal. Personal development is investing in yourself with your time and money. It’s meant to reap rewards but takes time, commitment, focus and practice. Just as a farmer ploughs the land and sow seeds, it takes time to grow and reap a harvest.
Personal development and self-improvement have become the buzzword in the corporate world. Thousands of programmes and courses are written and being delivered via the internet, in small to very large organisations. Every industry has a tailored course for their business and expects their employees to do the courses. You are also bombarded with emails filling your inbox to sign up on their development training programme. These training programmes can cost hundreds to thousands of pounds. I have been on several courses. Some I paid for, others were paid for by my employer and others were free of charge.
Here are my 5 reasons to get the most out of personal development and improvement training courses.
Begin by asking yourself these questions and reflect.
- Why are you going on this training course?
- Can you afford it, if your employer is not paying for it?
- What do you aim to achieve from the course?
- How will you apply and sustain to your current situation?
- What big difference will it make in your life, career and relationships?
Reasons when personal development and improvement courses don’t work.
In the past, I attended many courses with the intention to learn and get something out if it, but I did not.
You need to distinguish between the good and not so good ones. Do you really need to go on another course? I’ve known people who are almost addicted to going on course after course.
Often people attend courses through recommendations or are cajoled, coerced to please someone else. It is also a good time to get out of the office and spend time with other colleagues, meeting new people, eating free refreshments and so on.
Personal development should be a genuine desire to improve and with a definite purpose. I coach and mentor those who show that desire and are willing to commit. In my coaching sessions, I say, your effort, my support.
If you have already been on several personal development courses and were coached or mentored, do you still have those handouts, notes, folders, completion certificates and other paraphernalia tucked safely away somewhere in your drawer or sitting on the shelf with the cellophane still wrapped? Perhaps you have hundreds of articles, books, podcasts, courses, and videos to consume in your saved for later list. You will never use all the items on the list. You can use any learning hack or principle to learn faster and better but will never check off every item on this ever-expanding list. Now might be a good time to reflect…
Turning Knowledge into Wisdom
Learning is fun. It can even be addictive. Maybe you have all the knowledge you need and you can engage in debates and even successfully argue your case. But knowledge without wisdom and understanding can stunt growth. You don’t always need big life experiences to train yourself. Every day is an opportunity for you to train. The daily small actions and choices you make define how well you’re implementing your learnings.
I read in Proverbs 2:10 -11…
For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.
This is how you learn concepts of self-improvement by heart:
- Practice (intentional)
- Test (unexpected)
Learning is easy. It’s comfortable. You get the instant gratification of thinking about improving your life. But in reality, your life doesn’t improve unless you do something about it,
To practice, you need to focus. You can’t practice anything without concentrated effort. And to get focused, you need intention and tracking in place. For instance, if you want to improve your mental stability, you must track your emotions, mood, thoughts and your reactions at least for a few days or weeks. At the time of tracking, don’t judge yourself. You are human and you will make mistakes even after studying those huge books about the same topic.
Training Is Where the Magic Happens
Once you’re more aware of your results through tracking them, take out time to reflect on it. List all the reasons why you fail, why you succeed, what you could do better next time, and what new obstacles can come your way.
After you’ve practised enough times, it will become habitual and you will notice a difference in you.
However, then, the real training happens in the discomfort zone when life throws unexpected and more difficult tests at you.
When you’re not tracking your behaviour and you didn’t plan for a conscious effort, you know if you’ve learned a key principle or not.
The cycle never ends. You can always improve and there always be more things to learn. So, you decide what you want to focus on now and what you can schedule for later.
Here’s what to do next.
- Take the concept of what you’ve already learned but you still struggle with.
- Keep practising and tracking it until you see a difference.
- Life will do the rest by training you when you least expect it. Reflect on it and you will see a tremendous change in yourself.
I strongly believe in personal development and improvement and pursuing the path of excellence (not perfection). It all begins with WHY because you have a purpose and a goal or objective to achieve. Go for it!