“What are the top five questions to ask yourself when working on personal development?”
Just last night when I checked my email, I realized that “Joy” had asked the question above. Joy went on to ask:
I want to know the leading questions to ask about personal development and finding one’s purpose. When the interest is in personal growth, what are the major questions that people ask and especially women?
Her question really caught my interest because only last week, following a super training session, the women were asking a similar question.
In addition, I was impressed that these women instinctively (or deliberately) know how to avoid the biggest barrier to their self-development.
So, for you Joy, the ladies in the discussion after the training session and everyone else who ever wanted to know, here are my top 5 questions to ask yourself when working on personal development.
Before I share then though, let me hasten to add that they are not personality development questions. I am not qualified to ask or analyse such questions. Rather, they are questions about self development or you can even think of them as questions for personal growth.
But when it comes to personal development questions, I can help you with those…
So if you’re ready, let’s begin the Q & A:
Question #1 – In terms of personal development: Who am I?
Yes, really. When engaging in personal development, the biggest question you need to ask yourself is: “Who am I?”
I know you’re wondering, “Why is this important?”
Well, to develop yourself, you have to know who that “self” is, first of all. Then, and only then, can you prepare “it” for the change.
When I started my journey, I had to figure this out all by myself. But once I got clear on the answer, I was ready for BIG change.
So just pause for a moment and ask yourself “Who am I?”
Let me caution you though, you need to be honest with your answers. You see, when you are clear and honest about who you are, this guarantees that you change the “right” person.
For example, let’s say you tell yourself that you are someone who is committed to seeing things through to the end. But in reality, you are the world’s biggest procrastinator. Who will you really be changing?
When you are honest (and brutally so!) about who you are, you significantly reduce frustration with the process and greatly increase the speed with which you can achieve growth.
Question #2 – Who do I want to become?
This question follows naturally from the first one.
I know what you’re thinking…isn’t this what personal development is all about?
But let me remind you that it’s an important question, because personal development, like interpersonal skills, is about growth and change. That change will happen faster if you have a crystal-clear mental picture of what that change truly looks like.
To answer this question, begin by writing a simple, honest statement of who you want to be. If you can do this, not only will you be so much clearer on where you want to go but the journey towards your destination will be rewarding and exciting.
So go ahead and answer this question by writing a statement that begins with “I am a person who…” and continue in the present tense as though you are already that person.
Doing it this way makes it more of an affirmation than a goal.
Question #3 – How would my life change if I became who I want to become?
The expression “personal development” or “self-development” suggests growth to a higher or better version of yourself. Yet, one of the biggest barriers standing in the way of that growth is the fear that it might actually happen.
Answering the question: “How would my life change if I became who I want to become?” increases your chances of becoming who you want to be.
Think through your answer to this question carefully, though. You will get super clarity when you describe the life you want and how you must change to have that life.
For example, let’s say that you want a life in which:
- you focus on your goals
- your productivity is high
- you are surrounded by people who support you
- you have worthwhile relationships
In answering the question, you would begin by describing you new life, which includes the things you want.
But you also identify and list existing behaviours and relationships which will not support or enhance your “new” life.
These might include:
- people who drain my energy
- inability to focus on the right things
- gossiping (Yes!)
- not deliberately building my network
Then you must add your need to stop procrastinating. And let’s not forget how to be discriminating about how you spend your time.
If you respond in this way, it ensures that you create the inner drive you need to begin your personal development. Not to mention that it also significantly increases your chances of succeeding.
Question #4 – What could prevent me from achieving my self-development?
This is the “reality-check” question.
If you don’t ask yourself this question, you might endanger the entire self-development process. This is especially so in the case of women, since we tend to be more sensitive to the feelings and needs of our loved ones.
Even though the decision to change was yours, you could find yourself experiencing serious internal conflict. You will be wondering how your actions will impact others. Or even worse, you will start experiencing the fear of the pain associated with change.
That’s why answering the question “What could prevent me from achieving my self-development” helps you to complete the big picture and silences that small doubting voice inside your head.
If you come up with the right answers, you will find it easier to think BIG and to be BOLD. You may even be willing to accept uncertainty and be more positive.
So go ahead and answer this question fast.
Question #5 – What is the absolute first step I must make to begin my personal development?
You have answered the other four foundation questions. You’re satisfied with your answers but now, you’re not sure how to go forward. You feel as though there are still some barrier or even more than one, blocking your path.
I know what you’re going through. You see, the whole realm of change in the area of personal development can be quite overwhelming.
That’s why the killer question you must answer to take you forward is:
What is the absolute first step I must make to begin my personal development?
The secret here is, to make that first step small and simple. It could be something like “Get myself a journal” or “Begin walking for 30 minutes every day”.
The thing is not to overwhelm yourself after the fabulous work you have done on the other 4 questions.
In addition, taking a “baby step” as your first step, gives you a feeling of achievement and control very early in the process. This is an important advantage for the rest of the growth.
Your next “personal development” step…
So there you have them, my take on the top 5 questions to ask yourself when working on personal development.
Answering these questions in a simple, clear and honest manner will ensure that you begin to manage your own self development, regardless of who you select to coach you along the way.
They are simple, practical but powerful questions which you cannot ignore, if you really want to grow and experience life at a higher level.
I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t answer them, can you?
To your self-development success…