Investing in Personal Development in Order to be a Better Leader

Learn to Be a Better Leader for Personal Development

No matter where you are in your personal or professional life, you can still learn and do more to become a better person. Investing in your personal development can help you be a better leader at work, a better spouse or a better parent to your children. What can you do to continually get closer to reaching and fulfilling your potential?

Never Be Afraid to Do Something Outside of Your Comfort Zone

One of the worst habits you can get into is staying inside of your comfort zone and becoming stagnant in your career or in your relationships. While there is nothing wrong with having a favorite restaurant or appreciating certain traits in a friend or colleague, you should make time to do something that you might not usually do.

For instance, you might decide to go skydiving to get over your fear of heights or learn a new language to broaden your cultural horizons. Getting out of your comfort zone will challenge you to learn more about yourself and your assumptions about the world around you. Doing so will give you new tools to deal with problems or new perspectives that allow you to innovate at work.

Learn and Become Familiar with Your Flaws

Nobody is perfect. We all have flaws that we like to hide or ignore. However, one of the best ways to become a better leader is to acknowledge your flaws and embrace them. Owning your imperfections will help to humanize you to anyone who you may supervise or lead at work. It will teach your kids that you don’t have to have all the answers to be considered smart or look a certain way to be considered attractive.

In some cases, acknowledging that you lack patience or that you tend to talk out of turn can help you overcome those flaws. You may learn how that deep breathing when you get frustrated can help you keep calm when dealing with a frustrating colleague or when traffic just isn’t moving as quickly as you would like. Whether you are working in the construction safety industry or are a professional athlete, you will have days when something goes wrong, so it’s better to learn how to cope instead of hoping that nothing bad ever happens in life.

Don’t Forget to Exercise

Men and women performing aerobic exercises

Exercising is not something that people generally think of when thinking about personal development but it is a very important factor. When you are stressed or tired, you may have a natural urge to take a nap. However, the answer may be to get up and exercise for a few minutes. A brisk walk can help clear your mind while a 20 minute bike ride or session lifting weights can increase your heart rate and allow you to overcome your mental block.

Seek Out Those Who Are More Accomplished Than You

If you spend your time around those who haven’t accomplished as much as you have, you may stop challenging yourself or lose your motivation to do more. By spending time with an award-winning writer, you may decide to finally start writing that novel. When you spend time with a CEO, you may finally decide that it is time to seek that promotion or to start your own business. Even if you don’t become a famous author or the leader of a Fortune 500 company, simply striving for something more is a victory in itself.

As an individual, you are capable of more than what you have currently accomplished. Although you may not realize it, anyone can become better at their job, better at playing a sport or better at being a good person. When you challenge yourself and step outside of your comfort zone, you will never stop learning and growing as you go through life.

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Posted in Learning, Living & Lifestyle, Personal Growth

How to Take Action and Care for Your Body

ID-10057567It’s quite easy to become lax when it comes to taking care of ourselves as adults. Normally, we don’t have that nagging voice in the ear telling us when to sleep or how to eat as our mother’s once did. This sad realization comes to many of us as we stand in front of the mirror after stepping out of the shower. The phrase, “What happened?” usually crosses our minds. Right there is when we make a crucial decision. Do we commit to taking better care of ourselves, or do we put it off until tomorrow? You must fight the urge to procrastinate decisions affecting your physical needs. What do you do when it comes time to take action?

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Posted in Living & Lifestyle, Personal Growth

Caring For Your Parents As They Get Older

Woman with her old motherWhen you are growing up, your parents are the ones that take care of you. They make sure that you have enough to eat, give you a roof over your head, and are there for you whenever you need to talk to someone who really understands and cares. It seems as if they are going to live forever – and it is hard to imagine the day when they start to slow down or need your help to cope with life.

That’s why it is so surprising when you finally realize that your parents are starting to get on in years. Perhaps they are not as agile as they used to be, or they may find it a bit difficult to handle all of the day’s challenges. When you reach this point, it is often very difficult to know what the best approach to take is. On the one hand, your parents are still your parents, so you don’t want to take control away from them. On the other hand, you want to make sure that they are safe and secure, and it is clear they might not be unless things change.

The single most important thing you can ask yourself is whether your parents are able to continue living in their own home. If they are, this is the best thing for them – it is somewhere they know, it has happy memories, and they will still feel that they are in charge of their lives. Many more people are doing this now as they age – in fact, aging in place is becoming a common trend in the US, and there are lots of resources available to help people who want to do this.

Posted in Living & Lifestyle, Relationships

Healing Through Letting Go

Dandelion in the windI never thought I was a sensitive person. Practical, yes. Reasonable. Down to earth. But sensitive was not how I would classify myself. It is only recently that I have begun to realize that I am sensitive. If you are really honest with yourself we are all sensitive. What happens to us, what people say, what environment we are in does affect us. It is only when you become aware of this effect that you can gain some control over it.

At one point in my life I strove to be a robot. Emotionless, without hurt on anxiety or fear or even joy. I felt that this was a better way to live. Less painful. For a long time I succeeded to an extent. I felt nothing. I remembered nothing. You see, emotions are what make memories and without them there is nothing to anchor memories to. I have entire years of my life missing. A bad way to cope, to be sure, but one that I think many of us do unconsciously or consciously.

After finally having enough time in this manner of living a series of events in my life made me wake up. A new job with new people helped me to understand that my way of life was not normal or particularly healthy. Although I was not quite sure how to change my life I started trying to become more ‘alive’.

Posted in Personal Growth

Five Stories of Success Despite Adversity

Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a wheelchairThe human spirit is the most powerful force on earth. There is nothing that can hold a person back if their will to succeed is strong enough. Physical handicaps can be a setback for sure, but a man or woman with strong determination will never let a physical limitation define who they are or what they can become. Here are five examples of heroic individuals who did let the fact that they were confined to a wheelchair hold them back from greatness.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was stricken with polio in 1921 at the age of 39. He was thereafter confined to a wheelchair but strove to never let that fact slow down his political career. Roosevelt’s presidency during the ’30s and ’40s was time of unparalleled turbulence in American history. He guided the nation through the great depression, and World War II. He is remembered as one of our greatest presidents, and one of our strongest, despite his disability.

Barbara Jordan was another inspirational American politician who was struck with a debilitating disease in the prime of life. Jordan was the first African American elected to the Texas Senate, and the first southern African American female elected to the House of Representatives. Jordan suffered from multiple sclerosis that eventually confined her to a wheelchair beginning in the 1970’s but that did not keep her from a post-political career in education, or from delivering keynote addresses at both the 1976 and 1994 Democratic conventions. Jordan remained an influential political figure until her death in 1996.

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Posted in Personal Growth

When it Comes to Exercise, Do What Makes You Feel Good

As a kid, I was never interested in sports or exercise. I did dabble in ballet as a very young girl and enjoyed riding my bike in primary school, but other than that, regular exercise was not a part of my daily regimen.

In fact, I had no real reason to exercise until a few years into college. I had gained about 20 pounds and wasn’t feeling as energetic as I once had. My sister (who is 11 years older than me) knew exactly what I was going through and suggested that I start working out a few days a week.

I have to admit, I wasn’t too worried about losing the 20 pounds I had gained, because I didn’t feel uncomfortable with the way I looked. Plus, my Body Mass Index (BMI) was still in the healthy weight range, which meant I didn’t need to lose weight. As a stranger to physical activity, I always believed that regular exercise was only for people who wanted to lose weight, but my sister helped me see the other side of exercise; the side that’s about how exercise makes you feel not how it makes you look.

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Posted in Living & Lifestyle

Adversity: A Shining Light

Relationship ForgivenessTo a certain degree, everybody experiences misfortunes that will inevitably lead to things like anxiety, fear and an overall feeling of discontent. As a result, it’s sometimes difficult for people to “let go” of these negative feelings, which in turn has a detrimental long-term affect mentally and emotionally.

In essence, people sometimes use these “misfortunes” as a tool for removing themselves even farther from what could potentially be a positive and healthy mental state. But for those of us that who’ve gone through an adversity (or adversities for that matter) and successfully overcame, you understand the power behind an inherent truth: adversity is and always should be a guidance tool.

What do I mean? Well, it’s simple – Actionable responses to adversities can result in you going in one of two directions: upwards and onwards, or regretfully downward. And although I’d like to entertain the thought that most people succeed in using adversity as a tool for moving forward, it surely does not always happen that way.

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Posted in Learning, Personal Growth, Relationships

A Lesson in Proportion

Farmers' marketSometimes, the things we expect the least – both good and bad – can teach us the best lessons in life. Last month, I said to a group of 26 child leaders that in many things of our life, the important thing is not what others give us, but what we choose to take. When I said that, I did not consider the possibility of taking a lesson from others without any intention on their part.

Two weeks ago, we learned a very valuable lesson from a good friend of ours. Tom, our friend, had never planned on giving us this lesson. In fact, if it was up to him, I think he would gladly not teach us this lesson at all because of the heavy price he had to pay for it.

I hope that when you read this story, you will choose to take as much as possible from it. Remember, it is not about what I write, but what you choose to receive.

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Posted in Personal Growth

Starve Your Anger

WolvesOn my moms’ refrigerator, there is a quote. My older sister put it there many years ago and it stayed. Every time I visit my parents and open the refrigerator, I read it. It says:

“When you get angry, you punish yourself for other people’s stupidity”

I remember myself being very angry as a kid (surprisingly, this was before my teen years). Life just did not work the way I wanted it to work – people did not behave the way I expected them and my actions did not get me where I wanted to be. Life pretty much sucked (I hope it is OK to say “sucked” in a post, because it explains how I felt perfectly).

It took me a while to understand what this quote meant, but when I did, a huge, heavy load came off my young shoulders. Realizing that anger was a poison I was carrying with me was a big revelation – scary, but very relieving. My life has been much happier since.

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Posted in Personal Growth

Winners and Losers

Bus waitingI like to walk around our beautiful neighborhood in the morning. It is one of the things that make me happy. I do it to warm up my body and mind, get my creative juices flowing (into the voice recorder on my mobile phone) and be ready for another great day.

About half way through my walk, when I was already going at a good pace and feeling pretty pumped, I saw a young Chinese woman leaving one of the houses and saying goodbye to a young man standing on the doorstep.

Suddenly, the young woman noticed a bus at a stop about 200 meters away. She became visibly uptight, her pitch rose and she looked like she was asking the young man what to do (as I do not speak Chinese, this is all my interpretation).

The man gestured towards the bus and looked like he was urging the woman to run for it and try to catch it. She kept pleading with him until he joined her and they started running toward the bus stop.

By the time they decided to run and crossed the street, I had been half way to the bus and it was still there. There were no passengers in sight, its doors were closed and it kept waiting.

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