We all have experiences that shape our lives. When we do, we then have knowledge that we can share with others to help them positively shape their lives. This really applies to all aspects of our lives, so follow the message and apply it to what resonates most with you.
I have been a big fan of personal development for over 30 years now. The first book I read was by Napoleon Hill, Think & Grow Rich. When I first read this book, my head was in a much different place than it is today. Initially, I started applying the knowledge I was gaining to my career. I find that when we are introduced to personal development for the first time, we tend to apply the knowledge to the area of life we want to improve upon the most at the time.
Throughout my 30 year journey, I have read hundreds of books, listened to tapes, cds, heard countless numbers of amazing speakers (some several times), both live and recorded. I have been self employed for over 30 years now, and twelve years ago, I was at a crossroads, career wise, and decided to find a new path to take in business. Interestingly, I had never thought of combining my work with my passion for learning and development, but I fully understand now that is the key to success in business. Again, at that point, my continued interest in and commitment to personal development was business related.
What I didn't realize was that was the starting point of significant change in every aspect of my life. Although I was applying the knowledge of what I was learning in my business to building my career, I started to notice how every aspect of my life was improving. The knowledge I was gaining was absolutely changing my thinking, not temporarily, but permanently. Why was this? Because I changed something that seemed so minor I didn't even think about it being important. I was immersing myself in personal development every single day, while previously I was dabbling in it here and there. It is like learning something new today, and then defaulting back to your old thinking for the next 6 months, and then learning a new better way to think, but again defaulting back to your old thinking because you are surrounded by people that don't get it...they have settled into mediocrity and do not challenge their thinking. If you are simply dabbling in new success concepts and principles and do not make it part of your daily study, you will default back into the thinking you have had for 30, 50, 6o years because those are your dominate thoughts. The good news is, you can absolutely change those thoughts to gain the results you want. Just as you would need to commit time every day to learning to play an instrument, if you want better results in other parts of your life, you must be willing to commit to learning and practice what you learn each day.
Through my daily study, my business results improved, but I realized that relationships with everyone around me was strengthening, I was becoming more patient, less judgmental, more compassionate. I was learning to let go of fear, limiting beliefs, and the need to "fit in" with the masses thinking. I was learning to trust myself, tapping into my intuition to listen to my own heart and not let my head get in the way. I found myself stepping out of my comfort zone regularly, embracing risk, yet not feeling like risk was "risky". That was huge to me, and a realization that being afraid of risk is so much more risky than what we perceive risk to be, because being afraid of risk holds us back from reaching our true potential.
I also found myself taking more personal responsibility for everything in my life and taking on a higher level of leadership, which I had always been afraid to do previously, as I had been a very shy person my whole life. I learned how to gain clarity on what I truly wanted in my life, and how to make bold, powerful decisions that support that.
I learned how to forgive, and learned that forgiveness is something we do for ourselves. We cannot be at our best, if we are carrying resentment, hate, and anger in our hearts. When we learn to let that go and forgive, we lift a wall of burden from our shoulders.
I also learned how to deal more effectively with grief which is something we all deal with at different times in our lives. I don't mean I don't feel the massive pain we all go through, but I have learned that with time we can carry on and start our lives over, making new memories while being grateful for the old ones. There are specific things we can do to accelerate our healing so we are not numb and frozen and not able to carry on. The pain is always there, but we can learn to live and love again, which we all deserve to do.
My self esteem, self respect and confidence have all grown. Not in an egotistical way, but in a way that I recognize the gifts I have been given and do my best to share those gifts with others to help them learn and grow. I have learned that when we have success in any aspect of life, it is our personal responsibility to reach back and help others learn and grow.
I have discovered a part of myself I didn't realize I possessed - creativity. I thought other people around me were highly creative, but hadn't recognized it in myself. I am so grateful I have discovered my creative side, and embrace it in everything I do.
Most importantly I have learned to find happiness within me. I no longer require "something" to make me happy. I too used to be one of those people that was always waiting for "something" to make me happy. When we start living our life on purpose and make choices that support the life we truly want to be living, it creates a happiness within that is not based on results or things...it is there without those requirements. It is an incredible spot to get your mindset to, and once there, you never go back. I am so grateful I have learned to be happy, regardless of challenges, regardless of what is happening around me, and regardless of pain I may be going through....I am happy even when I am experiencing these normal life things. That is such a gift!
Something really important to understand is you can't improve something in your life without seeing improvements in other areas! I took on this learning to improve my business results, but I have achieved improvements in all these other areas as a result of the knowledge I gained.
The big key change for me was in 2004, when I started making personal development part of my daily routine, and really committed to being a lifelong learner. I realize that although I had been studying this area for 18 years prior, I was not committing to it daily. I would read a great book or hear a great speaker, but would then go back to default...back to work I didn't enjoy, spending time with people that didn't resonate with the new thinking I had, needing to fit in with the masses, being brainwashed by media messages, etc. It is somewhat like putting your foot on the gas and the brake at the same time, and wondering why you are not moving forward.
Einstein has a famous quote - "The Definition of Insanity is Doing the Same Things, Expecting Different Results" Most of us have heard this, yet how many actually take it to heart and live their life by this advice? I was one of those people living out this message. I knew better, but I wasn't doing what I knew, because I was allowing the past conditioning and default messages in my head to direct my life, instead of taking the new information I was learning and making my decisions based on this.
As with anything in life, we often don't know the profound benefit of something until we experience it personally. Once we do, it is our responsibility to share that knowledge with others to help them move forward in the direction they want to take their lives. Not to do it for them, but to help them learn to do it for themselves. This is one of the greatest gifts we have to give. Everything starts in our mind....we have the choice whether we are putting positive information in our minds that move us forward, or settling for the limitations we are surrounded with.
Debbie Ruston has been an entrepreneur and trainer since 1986. She works with individuals, and groups interested in developing their entrepreneurial leadership mindset. Was this article of value to you? Feel free to share it on your social networks and with your contacts, join in the discussion below, and FOLLOW her on the top right corner of this page.
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As posted on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-personal-development-has-changed-my-life-debbie-ruston?trk=prof-post
Debbie Ruston - Entrepreneur - International Trainer, Visionary Leader