Are you doing too much Self-Development?

Knowledge isn't power until it's applied.

In this episode

This week, I look at a couple of the signs you might notice if you’re doing too much self-development.

What does "too much self-development" mean?

In this case, I’m talking about the learning side of self-development – the books, courses, webinars, seminars and all the other ways we can gather information in our efforts to improve ourselves.

According to PR Newswire, the self-development industry is worth over $56 Billion. We’re clearly investing a lot in trying to improve ourselves – so why are so many of us depressed, anxious or struggling in some other way despite all of this ‘improvement’ we’re doing?

Could self-development be a part of the problem?

There is so much information available to us, it’s easy to move from one thing to the next without ever really doing anything with what we’re learning.

For much of my working life, I offer training courses to leaders in organisations around the world. 

It’s common for people to comment after the workshops about how valuable the information was and how inspired they are to make changes. I don’t always get to see these people again but when I do, there is a common theme. 

In almost every case, the learning they were so inspired about has failed to shape their actions. Little or nothing has changed. Yet, they’re back for another course.

Of course, part of that is down to the organisation’s requirements for them to attend training but this pattern is one I see in other areas of life, and one I have seen in myself in my own efforts to learn and improve.

I would spend money on courses, books and coaching, only to find the implementation of my learning difficult and move on to the next thing. 

Signs you're doing too much self-development

  1. You’ve read so many self-development books, you can’t even remember which one is which or what lessons they offer.
  2. You learn without implementing what you’ve learned.
  3. When you try and implement your learning and you run into problems, you quit and move on to the next thing rather than trying to shape the new habit in such a way it solves the problem.
  4. You ultimately end up feeling worse about yourself rather than better because you stack up opportunities for development without stacking up corresponding results and you end up judging yourself.

What to do about it

  • Decide on ONE thing you’d like to improve. How will you know when it’s done? What does the result look / sound and feel like to you?
  • Do the learning and then start practicing. Notice the new problems that arise. These new problems are not indications of failure. They are indications that something has changed. 
  • Begin experimenting with your new habits in order to work around or solve the new problems they’ve created for you.
  • Be patient and allow for mistakes, failures and more problems. This is part of the process. Find ways to make this part feel rewarding otherwise you’ll move on before anything you learned has had a chance to embed.

What if you struggle to do it alone?

Sometimes the things that block you from making progress aren’t things you can see or easily access because they’re coming from inside you. In this case, it can be difficult to get the results you want without seeking the help of a coach, therapist or trusted friend or family member. 

Having somebody to help you think things through and figure out how to take your next step can be invaluable – and it doesn’t have to be a professional, just someone who listens well, asks insightful questions and has your back.

If you decide you’d prefer the help of a professional and you’d like coaching or you’d like to find out more about how coaching works, book a call with me. You can tell me about what’s going on for you right now and what you’d like to change and I can answer your questions about coaching to help you decide whether it’s the right sort of help for you.

Photo by Lala Azizli on Unsplash

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