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How Does Your Personal Development Grow?

One of the core themes of this blog is “personal development” and with spring (finally!) in the air, our thoughts tend to turn to new growth and new possibilities.

It’s a term we’re all familiar with (a recent Google search turned up over 2 billion results), but as someone who strives for clarity, I recently asked myself, “What exactly does that mean?” 

Is personal growth simply a function of the number of books read, conferences attended, or training certifications earned?

Most important, how can we measure whether we’re really growing or not?

After a little research, I found a clear, concise definition of personal growth from John Maxwell, the most prolific author and thought leader in the leadership/personal development field. In his “Lessons on Leadership” series. John cites three criteria for growth:

• Bad Habits Dropped
• Wrong Priorities Changed
• New Ways of Thinking Embraced

I love the clarity and simplicity of this definition. Personal development boils down to forming new habits, embracing new priorities and developing new perspectives in any area of your life.

One way to apply this definition is to ask yourself, “Am I the same person I was last year, in my habits (my daily disciplines), my priorities (the things I attach importance to) and perspectives (the way I think about my life)?”

If the answer is no, then regardless of how much content you consume or weekend conferences you attend, chances are, you’re not growing.

Based on these criteria, how would you assess your growth in the past year?