You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read. ~ Charlie “Tremendous” Jones.
I love this quote. I was listening to Tony Robbins this morning while working out, and he said something to the tune of, “If you want to make more money, become more valuable.” This is what I’m talking about when I write about personal development. How can we become more valuable? In our careers? In our relationships? In life in general?
I may have told this story before, but my 2nd grade teacher changed my life. I used to cut up my worksheets and send notes to the girls in class. Mrs. Hastings moved my desk behind hers separating me from the rest of the class. She then pulled the best out of me. She introduced me to what achievement felt like, and I liked it!
The Marine Corps introduced me to what excellence felt like. They demanded it. Boot camp was the first time I experienced a culture of excellence. Until then, I’d done just enough to achieve and meet expectations. Exposure to the Marine culture taught me how to dream about what was possible. I’m so thankful to have had that experience. It unlocked a passion in me for personal development – or becoming more valuable.
Every person can continuously become more valuable by focusing on these 7 levels. These levels are listed in no particular order but have varying costs.
7 Levels of Personal Development
- Solo Personal development – This first level includes what you can do on your own, or by yourself. Research a topic on the internet. Read books. Attend a conference. These activities require no interaction with anyone else. For 2015, I have a goal to read 15 books (12 non-fiction) and attend 2 conferences (NMX and ICON). I want to always be learning, growing, and becoming more valuable.
- Take a Class – Maybe you want to improve your health. Sign up for a martial arts class. Maybe you want to impress your friends with a new skill. Take a cooking class. In commercial real estate, I would recommend you take CCIM courses. They certainly make you more valuable to your clients.
- Peer Groups – It seems like I’ve participated in peer groups since high school. These are small groups of your peers who meet on a regular basis for a specific purpose. I currently meet with a group of Christian businessmen on Thursday mornings. We study the bible one week and work through a business book on the off weeks. I’ve been in couples groups, men’s groups, etc. They are incredibly valuable. Beyond personal development, they offer community and accountability. I highly recommend!
- Mentoring – Here is where the commitment level really ratchets up. You seek out someone and ask them to pour into you. What you are looking for is someone who has achieved something you would like to achieve – someone who is farther along than you. I’ve had the privilege of having incredible mentors throughout my life (thank you dad, Brian, Rick, Bill, Wayne, Bob, Eddie, David and Mike). Each time, they have made a serious commitment to me – to meet regularly, think for me, etc. It is a serious thing to ask someone to mentor you. It is also an honor to be asked. I mentor two guys in their early 20’s. We spend a couple hours together on most Thursday evenings after my kids go to bed. They don’t know it, but I get more out of it than they do.
- Mastermind groups – Mastermind groups are similar to peer groups but on steroids. They are hyper focused on a specific purpose and sometimes have a guru-type leader. They often cost money to participate. I have never participated in a mastermind group but have heard rave reviews about them.
- Virtual Mentoring – There are some people who simply aren’t available to you. However, if they write or blog, they could function as a virtual mentor for you. Michael Hyatt is like that for me. I have met him a couple of times, but he may not know me from Adam. However, I’ve read his books. I read his blog. I listen to his podcast. I’ve gone to his conferences. He doesn’t know me, but I know him well. Through the power of platform and publishing, he has poured into my life. You can find a virtual mentor as well, and you should! As an example, here is a link to how you can pick Michael Hyatt’s brain – http://michaelhyatt.com/pick-my-brain.
- Hire a coach – This is the most involved and costly of all these levels of personal development. I would say without hesitation that it is also the most effective – maybe by multiples. I will expand on this in a not too distant post, but consider this. Top performers in every industry have coaches. That is a clue. CEO’s of the fortune 500 have coaches. Kobe Bryant is coached all season long. Then, in the off-season, he’ll head to Texas to get more coaching from the greatest big man ever – Hakeem Olajuwon. Hiring Rod Santomassimo and the Massimo Group to coach me was the single best move of my career. Coaching moves the needle. It can take you from good to a top-performer.