A houseplant’s growth is dependent on the right mix of light, water, and fertilizer. It adapts to its surroundings to increase its chances for survival. Humans are no different. By harnessing personal growth and development we can adapt to our own environments, rise above challenges, and become stronger.
This growth can happen naturally, but it is most often an active practice to keep you sharp and prepared to overcome adversity. What new skills do you need to be ready for what’s next? Are your habits and lifestyle working with you or against you? What’s your vision for your best self?
While age brings wisdom, we’re only human after all, susceptible to mistakes and still ripe for learning. That’s doubly true for entrepreneurs. This article highlights the benefits of proactive personal growth and development, and offers tips and tools to build your own plan for future business success.
What is personal growth and development?
Personal growth and development is the lifelong process of striving for a better self, either socially, spiritually, physically, mentally, or emotionally. What “better” means in this case will be unique to each person’s circumstances—and it’s something you can only define for yourself.
Personal growth is generally intentional and self-directed. It refers to steps taken or techniques used to improve oneself, whether that’s through building healthy habits, learning important skills, or gaining self-awareness. It is a school of one from which you never graduate.
For entrepreneurs, personal and professional growth can be linked. For example, a personal development journey can contribute to increased confidence to start a business or take an existing one to the next level.
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5 areas of personal growth and development
While a plant’s growth is entirely physical and based on a biological urge to survive, humans are more complex. Our overall wellness is contingent on the health of our body, mind, and soul. As you prepare your personal growth and development plan, consider how you can grow in each of these areas.
Physical health has trickle-down effects, impacting other areas. Studies have shown that exercise can have a positive effect on mental health. But fitness can be linked to social wellness, too—group exercise is a great way to tackle personal growth from both a physical and social perspective.
Personal growth in the physical realm also includes changes to lifestyle or routine to improve areas like sleep, digestion, energy levels, endurance, or hydration.
Emotional personal growth and development refers to steps you can take to get in touch with and manage your feelings. Understanding your emotions can help you make decisions that put your wellbeing first. Developing your emotional intelligence can also improve your relationships with those around you.
Spiritual growth isn’t limited to a religious belief. Personal development in this area can refer to actions you take to connect with yourself, your values, and your environment. The practice of meditation, for example, can increase self-awareness on a path to spiritual growth.
Personal growth and development can happen through relationships with others. Social isolation has been found to shorten life span, and loneliness can impact both mental and physical health. Social personal development can refer to steps you take to build and grow positive relationships with family and friends, or through career networking.
Mental development is like exercise for your brain. You can grow your skills and knowledge through courses, self-directed learning, coaching, or even activities that work out a new part of your brain. For those working at a computer all day, hands-on activities like crafts or puzzles can develop creative thinking that you can use in other areas of your life.
Personal growth and development examples
Personal growth is entirely, well, personal. There are countless ways to improve yourself, so don’t let this list limit you! Just remember that personal growth should focus on you and the things you have the power to change and improve within yourself or your environment.
Examples of personal growth and development include:
- Building healthy habits—or kicking unhealthy ones
- Learning new skills (life skills, social skills, tactile skills)
- Increasing energy or improving physical health through fitness, water consumption, and improved sleep habits
- Improving self-esteem
- Reducing clutter—both physical and emotional clutter
- Finding joy in new hobbies, friends, or surroundings—and cutting out those that do not bring joy (think Marie Kondo for your social life!)
- Learning to find happiness or validation from within
- Getting in touch with your mental health
The benefits of personal growth for business owners
Continually improving yourself can have benefits beyond your mood or physical fitness levels. Development of positive life skills and a focus on learning can help entrepreneurs be better leaders and decision makers through the following:
- Increased problem-solving skills. A path of personal growth will often have resistance. Working through those challenges is like strengthening a muscle. Future obstacles become an easier lift.
- Improved resilience. Taking steps to understand feelings and how to manage them can contribute to a positive mindset, improving mental fortitude to bounce back and start over after failure.
- A supportive network. Personal growth in your social life means increasing or improving relationships. This strengthened network becomes a support system for entrepreneurs who often start businesses solo.
- More confidence. Improving physical wellbeing has fringe benefits, often having a positive impact on emotional wellbeing. The improvement to mood can be a confidence booster as entrepreneurs navigate new paths.
- An expanded skill set. Mental personal development may include learning new skills. These can come in handy for new founders who may be wearing many hats in the early days of the business.
How to achieve personal growth as a business owner
Personal development is a journey, not a destination. However, a goal is a powerful motivator. It’s important to build in pit stops or checkpoints in the same way you would while growing a business. Along your path, set mini goals and pace yourself. Betterment takes time—but it’s also worth celebrating.
Developing a personal growth plan
It’s important to lay out your personal development goals on your journey to self-improvement. If you’re new to an intentional approach to personal growth, start with your biggest pain point and decide how you will approach it.
Your personal development plan should:
- Define the area of growth
- Be established with intent and willingness
- State a clear “why”
- Include goals or checkpoints to allow you to track progress
- Outline your commitment to growth (What steps will you take? How often? What’s holding you accountable?)
Remember that unlike a specific goal with a defined achievement, you may be working on your personal growth for life. While the first stages of personal growth require more intervention and deliberate steps, the continual improvement may begin to happen naturally as you develop habits.
You may need to experiment with different methods or tools before you find a learning style or technique that works for you—and most importantly, one that you’ll stick with.
Measuring personal growth
It may be difficult to quantify your progress. For example, “improve focus” doesn’t have a measurable goal. You may be slowly working on focus techniques for a lifetime.
You can, however, test your progress by setting mini goals along your growth path. Do you struggle to sit down and write for long periods? Set increasing focus goals for yourself (one hour, two hours, etc.), and use techniques or apps to help you achieve them.
Personal growth and development ideas and resources by personality type
Each personal growth journey will be different. The best strategy for each person will depend on personal development goals, preferred methods of learning, and, ultimately, the willingness to grow. Therefore, your personality type is a great place to start.
1. The Trailblazer
The Trailblazer’s passion for new ideas sometimes leaves best-laid plans in the dust. If you’re really serious about personal growth, you’ll need to work on your focus. Carve time for self improvement, but don’t be too rigid with your schedule—your personality still needs spontaneity to thrive.
Strategies for Trailblazers:
- Try guided meditation practice to increase your focus.
- Use productivity apps that encourage you to work on one thing for set intervals.
- Reduce clutter both online and in your physical space—a clean distraction-free environment is your blank canvas.
- Download a to-do app with a self-reflection feature.
2. The Outsider
Investing in yourself might not seem worth it because the positive effects aren’t always obvious—or financial. We can all, though, use a few extra skills in our back pockets to be ready for the worst-case scenario. Growing as an Outsider can only help you build life skills that will come in handy the next time an obstacle gets in the way.
Strategies for Outsiders:
- Invest in personal time by setting “work hours,” even if you work for yourself.
- Link personal development goals to professional goals—find the “why.”
- Start a hobby that’s really different from what you do for money—challenge yourself and unlock creativity.
3. The Mountaineer
Mountaineers tend to be so singularly focused on that one big goal while neglecting other areas of life that need tending. Are you burning the candle at both ends? Are poor habits affecting your sleep or energy levels? Do you have a knowledge gap that’s holding you back?
Strategies for Mountaineers:
- Experiment with different tools that send timely reminders to stick to your personal development plan.
- Post a motivational quote in a prominent place to help you stay inspired.
- Keep a gratitude journal to reflect on the things you’re thankful for.
- Set measurable goals along your personal growth journey—and celebrate successes.
- Develop daily rituals and routines.
4. The Firestarter
Firestarters appear to have it all figured out, but we all have room to grow. You are deft at separating emotion from business, but don’t let them get estranged. Empathy, compassion, and humility are all qualities that can benefit you as an entrepreneur. How can you grow in these ways?
Strategies for Firestarters:
- Donate your time to something that offers no material gain.
- Experiment with new activities and hobbies. What ignites your passion outside of work?
- Seek idols or mentors with traits you can learn from.
5. The Cartographer
While personal growth may be a scary prospect for Cartographers, the good news is that a personal growth mindset is actually compatible with this personality. Building skills, habits, and confidence can help you fix cracks in your current plans and draft even better ones.
Strategies for Cartographers:
- Focus on one desired habit at a time and using tools and tactics to help you achieve it.
- Take a course to learn a new skill or mindset—the structure of a guided approach to learning will help you stick with it.
- Develop a formal plan. How you approach most things in life—grocery lists, business decisions, solving problems—will work well here too.
Embark on your personal growth journey
Being successful in life and business often comes with hard work. A focus on personal growth can keep you motivated toward achieving goals, no matter how many challenges you face.
Whether you’re working on spiritual growth, improving self care, or arming yourself with essential skills, your personal growth and development journey will be unique. Set goals and identify the tools and tactics that are most effective for you. It’s time to conquer the world!
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