Category Archives for "Personal Development"

Personal development goal setting

5 steps to set powerful personal development goals

As a life and success coach, I love to work with clients on their personal development goals. Building up the self, in a really customized and individual way is truly powerful.

Personal developments goals can be used as a key to evolution. Where we can achieve even greater satisfaction, and serve a greater good by what we become.

Without goals, life can be like a rudderless ship getting dragged about by currents.

I've discovered a few keys I want to share with you.

1. Ask yourself this powerful question

What area of my life has the potential to have the greatest positive impact on all other areas of my life?

This is a focusing question, and I want you to spend some time with it. I want you to think about it in terms of life satisfaction

We are going to build a personal development goal around this area.

For example: You might think of some broad categories like money, career, relationships, family, intimacy, artistic expression.

Whatever works for you.

Now, if you were able to increase your satisfaction in just one of these areas - which one would have the most impact on the other areas of your life.

Maybe I set a goal around my career. Maybe I'm currently dissatisfied with my job. I know if I switch careers it will make me happier. That might impact my relationships, I'll make more money, and it will be better for my family.

2. Now ask this powerful question

What could I achieve in the next 6 months that would have the greatest impact on satisfaction in this area?

If you're not comfortable with a 6 month timeframe, you could go with 3. I wouldn't project too much farther than 6 months though.

OK - given your lifes, family, etc., what is a reasonable but powerful thing you could work towards in 6 months.

This is where you want to be specific, measurable, and achievable. "I will get a lot more money." Is not specific enough. "I will identify, apply for, and land a new satisfying job." is is moving in the right direction.

3. Now lets zoom in

We're going to ask ourselves another personal goal setting question:

Why is this important?

Why is this goal important to you? What would accomplishing it mean to you?

Answering this question will help you stay committed to the goal.

4. Plan

Now it's time for planning. One way to plan is to work backwards, from 6 months back.

Ask yourself:

What would I be doing right before I got this goal?

In the case of the new career the answer might be, "interviewing successfully."

Work back from there to today.

You may also get a sense of areas that need work. If you aren't great at interviewing, for example, maybe you'd seek some help or practice.

5. Execute

Now that you've got your goal and you've got your basic plan, execute.

Take action immediately - don't lose momentum.

Here's a post I wrote on how to get started and crush your goals. It's a great way to start.

If you feel like you'd like help with your goals, there's no greater tool than working with a coach. Click here to find out more.

your ego

No, your ego isn’t evil

Do you have a big ego? Small ego? Are you egoless?

Do you need to kill your ego? Is it the enemy? Does it keep you from reaching enlightenment.

To read a lot of spiritual authors these days, you'd think ego was the devil. In fact, I've heard the ego equated to devil by one author.

But what the hell are we talking about anyway?

What is ego?

Ego can be a hard topic to tackle, because there's not much agreement on the word. Let's take a look at a few definitions. Then I'll give you mine.

According to Freudian psychoanalysis, the ego is the part of the mind which mediates between the unconscious and conscious. It seeks pleasure and avoids pain, but tries to do so realistically. It takes the outside world into account.

In spiritual terms, the word "ego" has been used many ways. Generally it's used to denote one's sense of identity as separate from God, or the Universe, or whatever superior force you believe in.

Often, in common usage, ego is used as a synonym for an inflated sense of self-importance. "That guy think so much of himself, when he drives his ego has to ride shotgun."

What's my take?

Let's use a less confusing approach. Ego is your conscious idea of self. It's who you think you are when you think about who you are.

But here's the secret: No matter who or what you think you are - you're not that.

Ego is just a map. It's a collection of ideas, and a mere collection of ideas cannot possibly encompass all that you are.

Bit this doesn't mean it's a useless concept.

When is ego useful?

I don't know about you, but I have to live my life. I have kids to feed, places to go. If I spent my entire life as undifferentiated consciousness - I might miss a few appointments.

Let's look at ego as a part of you. I think that all parts of you have a useful purpose or intention. Yes, even the yucky stuff.

Imagine if I go to pick up my daughter's from school and the receptionist asks me a  question:

"Are you John Moore?"

"No, there is no I. There is a field in which the consciousness of this communication arises?"

"Um, hold on, I'm calling the police."

So yeah - sometimes having an individualized sense of self is useful.

The 7th principle of Huna is PONO - Effectiveness is the measure of truth.  I love that one.

When is ego not useful?

When self concept becomes a problem is when it becomes warped and inflexible.

Think of the narcissist and the sociopath as extreme examples. In less extreme cases, people become disconnected from others, and from the world around them.

You can see this in the warfare and the environmental destruction around us.

When self-esteem is very low, people tend to replace their individual identities with group identities. This promotes the problems with racism, nationalism, sexism, and all the other isms.

Keep ego flexible?

Wouldn't it be nice if you could change who you were? And wouldn't it be nicer if you knew how to do it the best way for each situation.

Psychologists call it being "role adaptive."

Between telling fart jokes, playing with my kids, and writing software for fun, I may practice a shamanic journey to the afterlife.

None of these things is inconsistent with who I am. None of them is in violation of my core values.

I can really enjoy sex AND really enjoy leading spiritual practices.

The key is allowing yourself the space to be who you are in the moment. Make sure to stay consistent with your core values.

Also, it is important to realize that you are always integrally connected to everything and everyone in the universe.

Get ready
Are you ready for a powerful conversation about living your life to the fullest?

Screw positive affirmations

Positive affirmations are the cornerstone of a lot of self-help programs. Just repeat some positive phrases and you're going to feel better about yourself.

There's a problem. For a lot of people, they don't work that way.

Here's some science mutha-trucka!

What the science says about these affirmations

  1. If you already feel good about yourself, repeating a positive affirmation will probably reinforce that. But really the effect is very small
  2. If you have negative self-esteem, and need a boost, repeating positive statements about yourself makes you feel worse.

What's up with that?

In my experience, lying to myself doesn't work. Being incongruent, leads to conflicted feelings. Conflicted doesn't feel good.

I can say to myself, "you, my good sir, are a rich, handsome, movie star." And another part of my brain goes, "well, you may be handsome, but you're a lying sack of ..." You get the picture.

Further, researchers found that people with low self esteem felt better when they were allowed to think negative thoughts.

I'm not a psychologist, but my guess is that this is akin to the "processing" that's done in therapy. You have to feel that stuff honestly to take away the emotional charge.

Ultimately, I'm not a big fan of brute-force techniques like affirmations. There are lots of effective and comfortable ways to change state, or get a desired effect. Anything I would use in coaching would respect a client's values and vision.

Since positive affirmations suck, what do I do?

Well, if you're going through a rough patch, there are a few things. If you feel like you need professional help - get it. There is no shame at all in seeking out therapy or medical help. Take care of yourself.

I'm fond of the work of Dr. Kristin Neff on self-compassion.

She has an awesome exercise that takes just a few minutes. It's called a self-compassion break.

This HuffPo article by Carmen Isáis suggests taking a neutral approach. It seems like recognizing where you are and putting it into perspective is key.