I remember the first time I ever heard the term “Personal Development”. I was in my late 20s with three small kids all under 5! I was married, living in rented accommodation, raising my family, working as a youth worker, seriously in credit card and loan debt, and living month to month with a tight income, a car that cost me £500 and not many opportunities coming my way!
I had been invited to look at a business model – one of those ‘grow your business from home around your job and kids’ type thing! I thought it was too good to be true – but I was desperate to leave the land of never enough, and that gnawing sense I knew there was more for me but just couldn’t seem to figure it out.
As I began this business in the health industry (which would later become a raging success) I was introduced to the books and audios of the late Jim Rohn – the guru of personal development – and my life as I knew it radically changed forever!
I learned I was the captain of my ship – and whilst I may have given over the reigns of my life to others or to my own excuses – it was now time to take full responsibility for where I was, and begin a journey of developing myself. That journey began 9 years ago and I am truly a transformed human being since the day I first set foot on it’s path! And that’s not all. My life’s mission is to introduce everyone I know to the truth that they too can embark on a journey of personal development. They can begin to dream big dreams, they can become aware of habits that hinder them, they can rewire their thinking and they can chose different behaviours so as to get different results!
We either fall into life and the plans others have for us, or we get busy designing the life we want to live, and then adjusting our thinking, behaviour and habits accordingly.
A big part of my personal development has been relinquishing my early morning lie ins! I’m a busy mum to 3 boys – I don’t have 1 hour every day to reflect, read, learn and grow – so I steal an hour – when most would still be in bed, I get up before the sun. It’s the sacrifice I gladly make everyday to change my own life and discover material to change others too! It’s my magic hour and in that 1 hour every morning over the past 9 years I have literally transformed my life!
Here’s what my hour contains. Reading – I read every day, some of my favourite authors are Robin Sharma and Brene Brown. When I choose my books I am thinking of the hats I wear in my life – what’s important to me – what I am building and growing?
For me the hats I wear are Wife, Mum, Personal, Business, Finance, Spiritual – so you will find my book shelf and audible library filled with books on raising kids, building a great marriage and making the love last! You will find books on finances, saving, investing and earning. You will find many many books on super health for mind as well as body and you will find books on business and the economy as well as books on behavioural science and habit change including building great disciplines and rewiring your brain for success . I believe we are spiritual as well as physical beings and so you will also find books on spirituality, wisdom and ancient writings from those that lived thousands of years before me and whose thoughts and stories are still inspiring lives today! Personal development is such a broad subject and really is any topic that gives you fresh and new thinking on a particular area of your life that will grow you as a person.
From the books I read I then ask myself a whole host of questions – If I can only take one BIG LEARN from these pages – what would it be and how do I incorporate it into my day to day life – what does that look like and in 1 / 5/ 10 years time – what impact will it have on me and those around me?
The next thing I do in my magic hour is journal. Yes – I grab my pen and I write. Often it’s reflection on the day, the week or my thoughts around something current in my life. Sometimes it’s a poem, sometimes it’s an Ahhhhha moment or a new way of thinking that is finally being embedded and I write about how it feels, what’s happening and what I am noticing! On occasion I try to work out a relational difficultly, see things from a different perspective or get some clarity on confused thoughts that I can’t quite make sense of!
This has become the single greatest way I become more self aware and learn myself. Aristotle said “know thy self” and sadly many live an entire life time and never really get to know themselves. They miss out on one of the greatest relationships you can ever embark upon. I have learned some of life’s greatest gems are only offered up to one when one has dug really deep into self!
When I first started journalling and getting to know myself one of the biggest areas it impacted was my personal relationships, particularly with my husband and my kids. As I was learning me more, I was understanding more about how I interact with others, how my behaviours make others feel and the weight an individual’s presence carry’s.
Knowing myself more helped me discover what I needed in relationships and what I needed from myself to stay well and healthy. In order for me to thrive I need connection, first to self, then to others.
My favourite part of journalling is watching the story unfold of who you are becoming, the obstacles you are mounting and the golden nuggets you are picking up along the way! Nothing fills me with more delight than to pick up a journal from 5 years ago, and sit in the garden with a steaming mug of black coffee and read back on who I was 5 years ago, what my challenges were back then – how I scaled the walls of struggle and the gold life handed up for mountains conquered and new heights climbed!
Thirdly in my magic hour – I visualise. I sit and let my mind wander to my goals and my dreams. My deepest desires and purposes. I imagine myself in a day in my life in 10 years time. What am I wearing, what am I driving, where am I living, who am I with, what am I doing and how do I feel?
I walk through the dreams, visualising them, feeling them, experiencing them in my minds eye. In James Allen’s ‘As a Man Thinketh’ book he says – The vision we enthrone in our mind , that we will live our life by, that we will become”. I have visualised all sorts of dreams and many have become today’s reality.
Just the other day I sat in the hall way of our new home. When we first viewed it over a year ago it was a very old, run down large project for some willing visionary couple. I saw the reality as we walked around the house, I looked up the stairs at the shabby steps, I saw the old wall paper and the 70s design in every nook and cranny and yet that night when I lay my head on my pillow I began to visualise – I visualised a beautiful, grand entrance, with large glass windows, lots of natural light, beautiful oak floors and a glistening glass bannister. I imagined a chandelier with different levels of glass baubles and light that reflected in every direction. I imagined a stone wall as a feature for all who came through the door and dreamed of a fluffy grey deep pile carpet flowing from the top of the stairs down.
Just a little over a year ago and we purchased the house, and got to work! I now walk through that very entrance every day – my dream has become my reality! My feet feel the beautiful carpet flowing up the stairs and daily I enjoy the light that flows through those long glass windows. Although I wasn’t quite prepared for my new job of wiping fingerprints and dog drool from the glass bannister!
As I have consistently practised the art of visualisation, it amazes me that what the mind can conceive, the mind can achieve! These moments of visualising have become an anchor for me and remind me of where I am going. They are a great source of motivation when the days are tough and help to keep my habits aligned with my future. It’s hard to get too far off track when you are focused clearly and daily on your dreams and goals!
I did describe what life looked like 9 years ago, just as I stepped my foot on the path of personal development. Wanna know what it looks like now?
Well, we no longer rent – that’s’s for sure! We have owned two homes, and our current house is a large renovation project which we have completed the first half of debt free ( and we are taking a big deep breath before we jump into phase two!) We live down a beautiful private drive where the kids can play out till the sun goes down. Our gardens are so large all the kids on the street come to play hide and seek and the only way to keep up to it is to have a gardener who knows his stuff and comes regularly to make it beautiful!
I am no longer a youth worker – I left that role 8 years ago and have since built two businesses. One in the health industry which saw me build a business across 7 countries, lead a team of over 250 individuals, travel the world and speak on stages to hundreds. The other is my coaching and training business which is the joy of my life – no more asking for days off over the summer holidays when I struggle for childcare! Everything I take on for work I work around my family and that for me is a dream! I coach CEO’s, directors, senior leaders and management teams! I train in beautiful conference rooms, hotels and board rooms and I am humbled daily that people give me of their time and energy to learn, become and grow! It blows my mind this is my reality.
From all my financial books and wisdom we are now totally debt free with savings and investments ( that really feels good to say because it was a dream for such a long time!) and I can’t remember the last time I ever lived “month to month”!
My confidence and self esteem has grown so vastly it’s hard to recognise I am the same woman I was 9 years ago! And my relationships are deeper, more connected and more fulfilling!
And all this can be traced back to those two words “Personal Development” .
Are you sold? Come on this journey with me friend, let me show you where this beautiful journey can and will take you!