Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Do You Have A Plan For Personal Growth?

I am a high believer in continual learning.  Learning equals growth.  The day we stop learning is the day we stop growing.  One common trait of all successful leaders is that they are continual learners. 

Personal growth does not occur by accident.  If you want to be sure to grow, you need a personal growth plan.  Earl Nightingale said, “If a person will spend one hour a day on the same subject for five years, that person will be an expert on that subject.”  Isn’t that incredible?  It shows how far we are able to go when we have the discipline to make growth our daily practice. 

A Personal Growth Plan begins with . . . 

Identify two to three areas in which you would like to grow.  Obviously this will be different for each person reading this article.  I have identified three areas that I want to focus my learning on in 2012; New Testament theology, leadership, and speaking. 

Start accumulating useful resources – books, e-books, journals, online articles, videos, CD’s, etc.  I purchase books and magazines on theology and leadership regularly.  I watch videos of different preachers and speakers. 

If you don’t schedule time for personal growth, you will allow everything else to get in the way.  I recommend that you schedule: 

  • Reading everyday
  • Listening to one audio or video lesson per week
  •  Participating in 1 Mastermind Group per quarter.
  • Attending at least 1 conference/workshop per year. 

Your goal, therefore, is to schedule learning time every day.  Give this the same priority that you would an important appointment.  Here is a daily plan that I have found works for me.

  • Read one book per month. (Here is a tip.  When you buy a book, immediately see how many pages it has.  Divide the number of pages by 30.  This will tell you the minimum number of pages you will need to read each day to complete the book in a month.  Set this as a daily reading goal).
  • An article or audio lesson per week
  • An online video per day (I do this to study the speaking styles and techniques of preachers and professional speakers). 

You can multitask.  For example I watch the preaching or speaking video while I am exercising on the elliptical.  This not only makes time go by faster but I’m exercising my body and mind. 

Here is an example of my weekly learning schedule that I have planned for 2012.  I recommend at least 1 hour per day, five days a week (Monday through Friday). 

Monday through Friday: Spend 20 to 30 minutes each morning with a devotional to develop my spiritual life. 

Four Mornings per week spend at least 45 minutes on the elliptical watching a video of a preacher or speaker. 

Monday: Spend one hour reading a book. 

Tuesday: Spend one hour listening to an audio lesson. 

Wednesday: Spend one hour reading articles from magazines or journals. 

Thursday: Spend one hour reading a book. 

Friday: Spend half of the hour reading the book and the other half filing and reflecting what I  have learned. 

Make sure you schedule time during the week for filing quotes and reflecting on the contents of the material you’ve read or heard. 

The average American adult watches close to 30 hours of television per week, with little positive return.  What do you think would happen if you devoted just five of those hours to personal growth?  Here is how I limit my television watching.  I determine at the beginning of each new television season which shows interest me.  I usually choose about 4 shows.  I set my DVR to record those for viewing later.  This way I can view the show at my most convenient time, and I can skip the commercials, which saves a significant amount of time. 

Do you want to grow?  Take a few minutes today to put your personal growth plan together.  Plan your growth, then follow your plan.