Friday, 8 March 2013

Self-development steps you should consider(Punch)

To be successful in life, experts say there is need to constantly seek personal improvement. In this article, SIMON EJEMBI highlights ways you can achieve that.

Change, they say, is constant. And the world today is proof of that. Gone are the things that once mattered – in the home and the workplace. As the work environment transforms into a non-paper-based one, large filing cabinets, fax machines, etc. have been replaced by computers and other technological devices.
The way we communicate has been revolutionalised as has many other aspects of our lives. These changes have made the acquisition of new skills paramount. And those who have been unable to adapt by acquiring the requisite skills have been left behind – without (good) jobs and decent means of living. For instance architects that once relied on T-Squares and drawing boards can now get their designs done digitally and faster. Employers are now hiring people who have “social media presence” and things like that.
Experts say to fit into these fast-changing world, people need to take self-development seriously or fail to fulfill their potential.
To do that, the following steps will be helpful.

Get to know yourself
Many people go through life without truly knowing who they are. They just go with the flow – get an education, get a job, get married, have kids and raise them. They do not pay attention to what they really like, what motivates them, what they want to achieve in life and how they would like to go about it. To determine all these things may take a while, but by taking time to reflect and discussing with friends – especially those who have known you almost all your life – might help you get a good idea. In the quest to really discover themselves many adults have gone back to their parents to ask questions about their interests as children, among other things. To discover yourself it is important also to determine what you do best, your strengths and your weaknesses, etc. Do you really belong where you are presently? Do you fit in at work? Are you happy doing what you do? This are all questions you need to try to answer in your quest for self-development according to experts.

Determine what you’re passionate about
At a conference last year, President Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, said many people fail in business because they engage in businesses they know nothing about. Getting to know about a particular line of business, according to experts, requires passion.
The Chief Executive Officer, R&S Consulting Limited, Mr. Olufemi Adebiyi, says “What makes you an entrepreneur is not just your vocational skills but in addition doing the business that you have carefully identified based on your passion and also your vision for life and then going further to acquire the necessary business skills to transform your vision into a reality.” According to experts, without passion, be it in the workplace or at home, the ability to surmount challenges will be lacking, while the tendency to give up will be high. They explain that developing yourself goes beyond getting an MBA, a Master’s Degree or some respected qualification; it is about doing what you are good at – a job, project, or course you are passionate about. When you do something you are passionate about, you are likely to stay motivated. According to Adebiyi, you are likely to find it easy to overcome challenges, because your heart will tell you to carry on regardless of how insurmountable those obstacles are.
By knowing what your passions are, you will be able to avoid making career mistakes or waste your time on activities that you are bound to fail at. To determine what you are passionate about do not just determine what you are good at on your own, also ask people who know you pretty well to tell you what you do best and when you were most effective. That way you can compare the factors which made you successful and those holding you back presently and correct the situation accordingly.

Be truthful to yourself
According to experts, it is impossible to develop yourself if you cannot accept the truth about yourself; who you are, what you are good at and what you are poor at, etc. After talking to colleagues, you parents and friends, you won’t achieve anything by deceiving yourself. For instance, if you work in a bank and your true passion – your true goal in life – is to be an actor or footballer, the earlier you accept it, the better. That way, you won’t end up living in denial and you won’t use all your savings getting MBA’s and certificate you will never really put to use; in fact, you might end up failing to grow as a banker and ultimately lose your job at a time when it is too late to pursue your passion. By accepting the truth, you could for instance use your savings to pursue your passion instead.
Accepting the truth may not necessarily be about career choices, it could be about your attitude to work. Many people act like victims when they are the source of their own problems and even when people tell them, they reject the idea. Doing this, according to experts, is likely to prevent you from developing yourself. If you are advised as a photographer to go for professional training because your pictures are no good, and you refuse because you have been in the business before the person given you the advice learnt how to walk, you are only deceiving yourself and putting your business at risk.

Be flexible
According to experts, while accepting the truth regardless of how much it hurts, is a great step towards self-development, it will amount to nothing if you are no flexible enough to make the needed change. It is therefore important that in addition to taking the steps above, you are will to get down to the business of making the needed change; acquiring relevant knowledge, skill or attitude you need. By making that change and making similar changes as the need arise, not only will you find it easy to fit into the fast-changing world, you would have made self-development a habit – and increased your chances of becoming a success.

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