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It’s back to school time-What about your learning?

Whether you’re sending your kids back to school this week or you haven’t had the anxiety of book buying and meeting a bunch of new people since your own school days, I think we’re all triggered to do a bit of reflecting at this time of year.

It’s a time when we’re reminded how important learning is and that it takes a significant investment of time and energy to absorb new information, ideas, and perspectives. Each school grade is almost a full year. To learn a trade usually takes between six months to a couple of years. And a university degree takes at least four years to as many as seven.

But without the structure and expectations of a school system, how many of us as adults make a commitment to ongoing learning?

For so many people, once we’re settled into our jobs and adult routines, there’s little commitment to formal, ongoing learning. Sure, there are articles in magazines and on the internet that may provide some information and new ideas that we can always access. There are things we are forced to learn about because we always face new challenges just by living life. Our workplace may provide some professional development opportunities that may or may not be useful.

Perhaps it’s time to consider what type of learning you’d like to intentionally invest in.

At this stage in life, I’m far less interested in learning things from books and much more interested in looking within through personal development and growth. From my perspective, I believe that the most important learning we can do as adults is to better understand ourselves.

Personal development/growth is a much used term these days and can have both positive and negative connotations.

In the best light, personal development/growth is viewed as a commitment to discovering one’s authentic self, embracing one’s gift, and ongoing sharing of one’s best self in order to have a positive impact on the people and world around us. People on this journey generally seek fulfillment through relationships and experiences, rather than acquiring “things” and therefore have less of a negative impact on the environment. One finds happiness by looking within. Love and giving are the motivators.

In the worst light, personal development/growth is seen as self-indulgent and selfish. When a person is improving themselves in order to impress others, gain approval, or be seen as successful, this is when personal development/growth can be judged as self-serving. The selfish path to happiness is walked by  focusing on external changes like acquiring material goods and changing one’s physical surroundings or appearance, but real joy is rarely achieved. In the negative light, personal development/growth is more about taking than giving. Fear (of not being accepted) is typically the motivator.

Let’s go with the most positive view of personal development/growth and look at the amazing rewards it offers. Although not always easily measured, the benefits of investing in yourself can lead to a life of peace, joy and purpose.

Here are 6 of the top benefits of committing to your own personal develop/growth.

  1. Awareness

With awareness, you start to understand your values, beliefs, needs, strengths, and limitations. With more clarity of who you are and what you need, daily decisions become easier. The knowledge of where to direct your energy improves, and therefore results in more energy.

  1. Acceptance

As you become more aware of yourself, through your own lens rather than the lens of others, a sense of self-acceptance and self-love begins to set in. By seeing yourself as unique and valued, you naturally become less judgmental of others and accept them for who they are.

  1. Appreciation

As you move through awareness and acceptance, you begin to appreciate things as they are in the moment. As you slow down, you become grateful for the little things in everyday life and let go of expectations of the future. You can even come to appreciate life’s challenges as opportunities to learn and to grow.

  1. Action

Once you appreciate yourself, your values, your strengths, and the reality of your present situation, you have a great starting point for taking action and moving in the direction you desire. Rather than standing at a trailhead wondering which path to take, you have the clarity and confidence to venture down that path that best matches your desires and gifts.

  1. Resilience

Personal development/growth is not an easy path with a paved road, a sherpa to carry the heavy weight, and wearing rose coloured glasses. Sometimes it requires looking at the past and healing wounds that have been ignored for years. Sometimes it’s facing the fear of the unknown and trying things for the first time. Sometimes it’s letting go of the anchors that are so familiar but are what’s holding you back from sharing your gifts.

By doing the hard work of personal development/growth you build the skills and confidence that you are strong and can therefore face life’s challenges as they inevitably arrive.

  1. Fulfilling Relationships

As you become clearer on your life’s direction, you begin to see which relationships support you on your journey and which ones get in the way. With more confidence, you know which relationships to nurture and which ones to prune.

By being the best you can be and knowing how to “fill yourself up” with positive energy, it’s easier to expend energy in order to support others you care about, trusting you will fill your tank before being completely depleted and feeling resentful.

 

Learning is something that we will do throughout our lives…that’s the nature of being human. As the world around us changes and as we change ourselves, we will naturally face new experiences and have to adjust…that’s learning. We can wait to be changed or we can direct change. By force or by choice…how do you prefer to learn?


 

Here are the learning opportunities that are coming up in the next couple of months at Explore Life. (Click on each title to get the details).

The Power of Authenticity Life Lesson – September 13, 7:30 -9:00 pm

Re-Creating Retirement 24 Hour Retreat – September 19-20, Pinawa, MB

Fill Your Plate- A Weekend Retrea to Nourish Your Mind, Body and Soul - October 27-29, Pinawa, MB

Soul Sisters Circle – yearlong personal growth program, starts January 2018  (contact me for details)

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