Skip to main content

Most of us (all of us?!) deep down have a strong desire to learn and grow – we can’t help it. Part of being human is to constantly engage with the world and strengthen our understanding of ourselves, others, and the world around us. I cover this in the Mastery Course where we learn how to really get to grips with the way someone understands, sees, and engages with their world – this understanding unlocks so much more potential. There a lots of reasons for our thirst for development -survival, thriving, the way the brain works – but actually finding learning and growth that is satisfying can be a bit of a challenge. On the one hand, we don’t want to get addicted to toying around with the next shiny thing (what my dad likes to call ‘walking up little hills instead of climbing mountains’), on the other, we need to be constantly evolving and challenging ourselves to stay sharp in life. How do we get the balance right? How do we choose what to engage with? Here’s my advice based on the common pitfalls we can fall into when pursuing our own development.

The first mistake is thinking that personal development is unnecessary or that you ‘already know that’. Here’s the reality: true learning means being  able to return to the same thing over and over again and still go deeper and learn something new. Just because you once read a book on ‘X’ doesn’t mean your learning on that is done – there are always new ways of applying and engaging with the learning that you do. So don’t discount something just because you have covered it before – treat it like a mountain to be explored instead of a little hill to be hopped over! This is the mindset of a master – someone who constantly hones their skill.

On the flip side, something that can hold us back is being suspicious of things we aren’t familar with. Guess what? You don’t have to agree with/like/already know, understand and approve of everything in a particular school of thought in order to learn something from it! Trust yourself to find and absorb what is useful and then, simply, leave the rest… and allow yourself to be surprised! Going outside of your intellectual/spiritual comfort zone can lead to totally new ways of seeing things. SO WHAT if the new thing turns out not to work for you?! Some things will work, some of it won’t, but at least you are keeping your mind open and exploring… This is the mind of a student – someone who is curious and ready to step into the unknown.

Think about what you really need in order to learn and grow instead of being fooled by the persona of the person you are buying from. What you need is a space that will both nurture and challenge you. Don’t be pursuaded by promises of ‘xyz’ (whatever shiny result they hook you in with), being part of a cool club, or even trying to buy into the success of the person delivering the learning (you WON’T be able to simply absorb their success into yourself however much they make it seem that way!). Instead, what you really need is someone who will be able to see both your dark and your light, will help you to harness your strengths, and will also help you to embrace  the hidden or rejected parts of yourself. THIS is what true growth is about.

Lastly, be careful of only pursuing the development that you think it is ‘acceptable’ or ‘practical’ to do. I see a lot of people who are happy to invest in their business development but far more reluctant to invest in their personal development. If you don’t give yourself the space to work on yourself at a deeper level then no amount of business strategy will help. If you don’t do your own self care you will burn out. If you ‘fix’ your business, relationships, or physical health, but you don’t work at a deeper level, then all that will happen is the patterns you had in those areas of your life will pop up elsewhere in your life. Give yourself permission to work on you as a whole person and trust the process… This is what will help you to truly level up!

What would you add to this? I’d love to hear more about your experiences and the things you keep in mind when choosing how to work on yourself…

Dr. Helen Johnson

Dr. Helen Johnson

Dr Helen Johnson coaches creative, complex thinkers, and leaders in their field to challenge themselves, be more effective, and lighten up. Through her group programme, Soul Stuff, she offers high quality, bite sized personal development that maintains a positive mindset and continued growth.

Leave a Reply