Having a dream and some idea of the steps required to achieve those dreams is a great step to achieving success in your life. However, whilst it is a great start the challenge really comes in developing yourself to ensure you are able to continuously execute against your plans.

It could be that to complete the steps to your dreams that you will need to learn new skills or develop current capabilities to a new level. So how do you achieve this without going back to school? For most of us this is not an option as we need to keep earning an income whilst we develop ourselves.

If you do a search on the internet you will be presented with masses of information offering all manner of education and, in many cases, charging a lot of money. The Personal Development industry has become a multi-million pound industry and choosing the right path can be a challenge.

You need to consider a number of different options for achieving your desired learning in order to get a balanced approach. Too much theory without a practical component is unlikely to provide exactly what you need. Here are my top 7 tips for achieving a balanced development. Personal Development Mentoring

Courses

Traditional courses will always form a component of your on-going education. This does not mean you have to go back to school on a full-time basis. Try looking for night classes in your local community. These can often be low-cost options and it also has the advantage of meeting and sharing experiences with other people. Alternatively consider a course delivered over the internet. This could be from an established learning institution like Open University or from a multitude of online education offerings. Make sure you do your research before parting with your money. Look for some testimonials, review the course objectives and try and view some sample materials.

Seminars / Webinars

Attend events that provide the information you are looking for. The experts or gurus in the particular topic you are interested in will be providing short (usually 2-3 days) or specific information. These events tend to be very focused and fairly intense and are very useful in building your knowledge base quickly. Seminars will be traditional events held in a hotel whereas Webinars will be events held on the internet and will be much shorter in duration, usually a couple of hours maximum. Many experts will charge a lot of money for the seminars so you need to ensure that the content meets your specific requirements. Also be prepared for a degree of selling at these seminars as these events are sometimes the gateway to further courses. You will find that free or cheap seminars will have a lot more selling. A big advantage of seminars is that they are great places to network and meet like-minded people.

Reading

There are many great books that will help you with your development and you should allocate some of your time each day/week to reading. One tip is to set yourself the objective of reading 1 book each month… or each week if you have the time. You should also split this into 2 categories:

  • Books that help you to focus on your continuous development from authors such as Brian Tracy, Tony Robbins and Robert Kiyosaki
  • Books that are specific to your particular niche or skill.

 

Mastermind groups

Learning on your own can be a difficult and thankless journey. If you’re also in full time employment then finding that extra time in the evenings to continue your education can be very challenging. This is one of the main reasons that people give up or postpone until another day… which never comes!

Try joining a mastermind group. This might sound like a grand title but it is simply a group of like-minded people who share knowledge and experience with the shared objective of self improvement or personal development. The major advantage of these groups is the support element. When you are feeling tired and de-motivated there will be members of the group who will be there to offer help and words of encouragement. Often, in these circumstances, we just need someone who understands to listen to our woes and then help us to get back on the path.

These groups operate both on the internet and in your ‘local’ areas, although local may mean a little bit of travelling to find the right group. A hybrid option is where you meet online on a frequent basis but only meet physically a few times during the year. This gives you the opportunity to build relationships which is a bit more difficult in a solely online group.

Mentor

A mentor or coach has many of the advantages of the mastermind group in that it is someone to speak to and gain support from. However, a mentor will also tend to be an experienced person in their particular field. They will be in a position to guide and offer their experiences as part of your learning process. They are also your conscience and will keep you honest with yourself by ensuring that you are doing what you said you would do. As you move through your learning process you may find that your needs change and your mentor becomes less influential so don’t be afraid to change your mentor.

Online Communities

You will find a multitude of online communities or forums for your particular needs. These can be extremely valuable to your learning process as you can quickly post a question or theory and get a number of responses. With the global reach of the internet you will benefit from a vast number of different views, opinions, knowledge and experience. It’s almost like having a group of teachers on tap. It is important that you contribute to these communities as people are more likely to reciprocate if they feel you are participating in the community.

Only one word of caution, whilst the strength is the number and variety of responses you may receive it can also be the weakness as they can be personal opinions. So if something doesn’t sound quite right then do some further investigation.

Doing it – On the job experience

My final tip is a much more practical one. There is no replacement for experience. Simply putting into practice what you are learning and ‘just doing it’ is an incredibly powerful way to ensure that what you have learnt can be turned into practice. Look for opportunities where you can practice what you are learning; this might even involve working for free for a period of time. The experience you will gain will be well worth the time you invest and, in a way; it is not different to paying for a course only you are paying with time instead.

You must ensure you define the objectives of this ‘work experience’ so that you don’t get used for tasks that are not benefiting you and you are able to measure the completion criteria which will allow you to know when it is time to move on.

I belong to an online community / mastermind group called the Six Figure Mentors (SFM). For me this has been a turning point in my personal development. I went from a situation of information overload where I was trying to do too much to a much more focused environment where I can get support and education to help me develop my skills as an online business entrepreneur. If you would like further information or would like to join me then please click on the link below or complete the details on the right of the screen to receive some free videos.