Sunday, February 10, 2008

JWN: Personal Development

Personal Development

By: Joseph W. Norman

Pat Summitt, coach for the Tennessee Lady Volunteers basketball team, once said, “To improve, you must make your weaknesses your strengths.”

What is the value of personal development? In my experience, I’ve found that many people don’t seem to understand the importance of this concept. You get caught up in your job, the subject of your pursuits, and the idea that you need a particular set of knowledge to succeed. All of these things are important, but there is one more question to consider.

Who is carrying out these pursuits? You!

You can never think too much about developing you and the people around you. More importantly, you can never act on it enough.

What do you need to know?

1) What are your weaknesses? I.e. public speaking, sales, confidence, appearance, small talk, etcetera.

2) What are your strengths? Know them and continue to improve them.

3) What can you do to make your weaknesses your strengths and your strengths stronger? These are the action items which will help you develop.

People tend to get overwhelmed by their current stations in life. They have countless hours of material to read and sift through to improve their business or do what they do better. In fact, there is always more reading you can do for school or work. So much that it is easy to forget about you.

ACTION ITEM: Take fifteen minutes every morning and read from a “self help,” personal, or professional development book. This will start your day off with the right attitude and mind set.

That is a tip I picked up from Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude. In fact, it is a great book to start your more disciplined morning routine. I call this my daily attitude reading.

Trust me. Fifteen minutes is all you need to get yourself ready to take on the day. Also, this will get your mind thinking about how you can improve your world. Who is in charge of your world anyway? You are.

ACTION ITEM: Attend a conference on a subject you’re passionate about. Know who is presenting, do your homework, and connect with them.

Just attending the conference is great, but connecting with the person that motivated you is even better. It could create a mutually beneficial relationship for you, your organization, the presenter, and the presenter’s organization. That’s a powerful thing.

ACTION ITEM: Take a “Quote of the Day” from your attitude reading. Keep it as a mantra for when you face the challenges that invariably preside in your daily pursuits.

During the various jobs I’ve held in my life, I’ve always enjoyed sending out a quote of the day sporadically to my co-workers. They ranged from purely motivational to completely ridiculous. No matter the subject, they directly influenced the attitude in the work place. It was always a positive effect.

NOTABLE: Keep it clean. This should be a given, but it deserves to be said. Check out my article “The Power of Our Words” for my reason why. Build people up, don’t tear them down.

Here are a few quotes for you to start with:

“If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development.” – Brian Tracy

And, if money is one of your motivations:

“Income seldom exceeds personal development.” – Jim Rohn

If you focus a little bit more on developing yourself on a daily basis, your career and personal life will no doubt improve. Focus on this discipline every day. Do it for yourself.

Get a little bit better everyday, ~JWN

Joseph W. Norman, Co-Founder and Editor in Chief of Notable and Newsworthy can be reached at or 607.743.8569. He offers speaking engagements and personal coaching and is always up for a "business lunch." To receive the weekly eZine, The VIP Profiles, email or visit