As a personal development trainer and coach, my journey has led me to try out a range of therapies, treatments, courses, ideas and theories over the years.
I’ve had my body covered in smelly oils and been worked by the elbows, hands and feet of strangers.
I’ve lay on grass as hot stones were placed on my meridian lines and wrapped in
smelly crap + gunk, sorry, life, from the sea.
I’ve allowed healing hands to pass over my clothed body and chosen to have my auras cleansed and charkas re-aligned. I’ve sat in forgiveness circles and needed a Tena Lady at Laughter yoga.
I’ve screamed to the pain of reflexology and laughed uncontrollably as a shaman worked his stuff with his snuff, only to then burst into tears.
I’ll admit I do prefer latte to tai chi, and I’ve giggled my way through a rebirth-y-thing, which was just meh.
I’ve walked on fire, drummed in the woods at midnight, floated (in a tank, not actually floated, in air!), sat nakeeeee too many times to mention in a hut, or under canvas. Then there’s being tapped, attuned, swished and hypnotised and spent loving moments getting cosy with my nemesis snakes and spiders.
Yeah, I agree, there are quite a few to choose from. And we haven’t even started on the success-skills-personally-developmentie stuff yet.
For the most part, many were pleasant, a few amazing, others I found boring.
And some I regret as I couldn’t stop thinking ‘this has cost me how fecking much!’, and others, well, they gave me an experience as tangible as the dog that lies now at my feet or the air I breathe.
What Results Are You Seeking?
See, I received an email recently that asked ‘how can I choose a personal development course, I want to learn more this year, but there are too many options to choose from’.
The question was ‘how can you choose the right course for you?’ my honest answer is: I cannot answer.
I don’t know you personally, I have no idea what you’re searching, seeking or what you feel as though you are missing (if anything). What results are you looking for?
And the big question, do you need to ‘pay’ for what you already have and are perhaps afraid to use?
Life is Personal. Develop It.
I think, personal development is giving yourself a challenge of a lifetime: there is no choosing, except perhaps when you do have pay for the knowledge you think you are missing.
And just because someone says ‘it’ll change your life’ or ‘it’s the easiest way to [insert desired result]’ this is true, to them.
It’s their experience, not yours.
Let me give you an example: a few years ago when I was feeling less than my usual 95% positive, very tired, pissed off with life in general and needed a pick me up, I went for a walk.
6 days and 96 miles later I ended up in Fort William, after having completed the West Highland Way. It was one of those tangible experiences I mentioned above and involved nothing being done to me. I set out on a walk, what I received was clarity, peace and for a very long time a clear, focused, calm mind (what I needed). I came back a nice person again.
But that’s not why I walked. Was it the walking, the silence, the breathing, the beauty, the challenge?
Who knows? It was solely my experience, and as such, it needs no explanation. That is the same for you. What you choose for you needs no explanation, if it works, great!
I can’t take that trip every week, however I know that walking across 18ft of red hot coals somehow gives me the exact same emotional, physical and psychological experience. Hence why leading firewalks is something I love (love, love, love, love, love) to do.
Will everyone there have the same experience or feel the way I feel? No, it’ll be unique to them. For some their life will be changed forever, others will think, it was okay, and others will think what the hell was the fuss about.
My point: never believe you have to choose one over another, what you decide will be the best decision for you at this time, there is more time to come and other decisions waiting to be made.
Oh, and keep going, would be my next recommendation.
I see this happening a lot, especially in the healing/helping world, when people find their ‘thing’ they can close down to other possibilities and options.
Even today, I still choose to go on courses and programmes, because I’m aware that others have information, knowledge and ideas that can add value to my own life and those of my clients. In other words, dive into learning.
And also I would advise to search outside the realms of the world of personal development, (I believe) what we need to learn can happen anywhere. (But that’s my experience. Yours may be different.)
Here’s a few questions to help you choose:
- Why is it important for you to develop yourself?
- What is happening right now in your life that has led you seeking a programme in personal development?
- What do you hope to achieve by following a specific course?
- Are there any alternatives?
- How will you know you have achieved what you set out to learn?
Oh and if cost is a factor or is a limit to your choices: take a look at meetup.com there may be a group that practices what you want to know in your area. When you get there, just enter the cities closest to you, or even start a group!
And on a final note, the choosing is actually the easiest part. I recommend to people not to book another course or buy another book until they have at least applied 20% of what already bought.
Oh wait, and the final final note. When you speak to those in the personal development professions (therapies etc) be aware if they want to ‘hold onto you as a client’, a great therapist should give you options, if they do you’ll know they have your interests at heart, not their pocket.
Where did you receive the biggest and most rewarding ‘unexpected learning’?