Personal development is a very private matter and what it means to me may not necessarily be the same thing that it means to you. However, there is one aspect of personal development that is the same for each and every one of us – the need to improve.
To be able to improve something, you first need to identify what areas in your life could do with a helping hand. The ability to identify room for improvement lies in a good knowledge of yourself.
The best way to get to know yourself better is to grab a pen and paper and make a list of what you feel your strengths and weaknesses may be. On the reverse side of the paper write down what you feel other people think your strengths and weaknesses may be.
You may find it interesting that two sides of the paper do not exactly correspond. Others may identify a strength in you that you may view as a weakness and vice versa.
Now look at the weaknesses that you identified within yourself and pick one that is not listed on the opposite side of the paper. Think about why you feel that area is a weakness while others don’t. Ask yourself whether you lack self-confidence or whether you portray a different picture to the rest of the world?
This could be the first step you can take to personal development. Once you feel you have improved in that area, repeat the exercise and see whether you get the same results.
You also need to pay attention to the strengths that you listed. If you feel you have a strength that other people don’t see, why are you hiding it? Remember that strengths are not automatically better than weaknesses and there may be some room for improvement so that everyone will notice a specific strong trait.
Even the strengths that correspond on both sides could always use a bit of work. Most people believe that they need to address their weaknesses in order to become a better person. Starting by building upon and bettering one or more of your strengths can provide you with the foundation you need to address other issues in your weaknesses.
If you are finding it difficult to distinguish between your strengths and weaknesses it may be beneficial to seek some professional help. A life coach or mentor is a great place to start or you could opt for more structured and traditional therapy in the form of counselling.
Professional help is not the only route you can follow and you can also turn to family or friends whom you respect and admire. They already know who you are and can help you more than you think.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help along your journey of self development. It is very rare that people achieve any type of personal development or self improvement on their own and the more people you include in your journey the more likely you will be to experience growth.