Proactive Approaches to Personal Growth and Development

Contrary to what you may think, professional counseling services are not always focused on specific emotional or behavioral challenges. Increasingly, clients are seeking professional counseling to improve in the areas of personal growth and development. Individuals who are striving to be top performers in their personal and professional spaces, often find that there is little room to personally reflect, assess, and or self-correct their efforts as it pertains to personal and or professional goals. Unfortunately, years can go by before having the realization that some of our goals, dreams, or aspirations have gone unaccomplished. This blog post deals directly with common challenges I have observed that often impair our ability to accomplish personal growth and development goals.

Fear, acknowledge it and confront it

When kept in check fear can keep us productive, proactive, and motivated to take actions to accomplish a stated goal. For that reason, not only is fear part of life, it is needed and should be leveraged to maximize our effort. However, fear that is rooted in self-doubt, low self-esteem, and highly critical assessments of oneself is paralyzing and self-defeating. It is precisely that type of fear that interferes in our ability to accomplish personal growth and development goals. Your internal conversations or “self-talk” is a good baseline indicator to assess whether you are dealing with challenges like self-doubt, low self-esteem, and highly critical assessments of yourself. Watch out for statements that sound like these:

• “I don’t make enough money, I will always struggle to pay the bills.”

• “I am horrible at speaking in front of people, I will never get that promotion”

• “I am horrible in math, I will never finish my college degree”

The previous examples show that negative self-talk is highly critical, absolutist, and fails to recognize any positive attributes. When I am working with clients, who are concerned about their personal and professional growth, I often spend a considerable amount of time on fear, our perception of it, and how it impacts us on cognitive, and behavioral levels. Allowing persistent fear to encapsulate your life will negatively influence your ability to accomplish personal and development goals.

Recognize passive habits, then commit to being intentional and proactive

Our modern lifestyle is an incubator for passive habits. We can literally clock 24 hours expending minimal amounts of energy to accomplish our tasks. The ability to live through our smart phones, tablets, and other technology is both a blessing and a burden. The blessing is that it allows us to be more efficient, freeing up time for our families and other productive activities. On the down side, our high-tech internet connected lifestyle, where everything is literally at our finger tips, can make us lazy. Such a lifestyle makes it easy for us to hand our kids iPads for instant entertainment, instead of spending time with them, and can lead us to have a false since of community by filling our interpersonal spaces with social networks. Without developing a healthy balance with our high-tech lifestyle, it can also lead us to perceive that all the answers to our questions, are easy and readily available. Living in such a time, makes it easy for us to adopt the perspective of seeing life as an accumulation of observations and passive engagements. Rather than adapting proactive approaches to life, which emphasize a process of intentional active participation. Being intentional as it pertains to how you approach personal and professional goals requires us to confront passive lifestyle habits. Only proactive and intentional effort can effect change onto a situation. Turning a passive approach to life to one in which you are consistently taking proactive steps to accomplishing your goals is one of the hardest commitments to keep. If you have ever tried to lose weight, workout consistently, or dedicate more time with family, you will be able to relate to old habits getting in the way of change. Nevertheless, adopting a proactive and engaged approach to accomplishing personal growth and development goals is a must!

Activate a plan, then stick and stay

Develop a plan of action. Returning to the fearful self-talk examples above, we can dissect them and pull out areas where a plan of action could be developed to address the issues raised. In the case of “I don’t make enough money., I will always struggle to pay the bills.” The person could ask themselves the following:

  • How are my actions contributing to this issue?

  • Do I live within my means?

  • Do I understand my income in relation to my debt and monthly expenses?

  • Do I stick to my budget; do I have a budget?

How a person answers these questions will determine next steps which will involve proactive engagement to develop tools and skills to control their finances.As well as cause them to confront their lack of accountability and self-control. They may also:

  • Acknowledge an over reliance on credit

  • Acknowledge the need to have a family budget

  • Acknowledge the need to seek professional financial advice and or consultation

Stop the isolation, and don’t go at it alone

After a goal has been set, fear has been recognized, a plan of action mapped out, making yourself accountable to another trusted person, who is in your corner will help increase the chances of success. That person will also need to know they have full permission to be honest if they observe that you have lost your focus. Regarding growth and development goals for your career and profession, having a person mentor you who has a high level of professional acumen in your career area is a must. Whenever possible finding such a mentor should always be part of any action steps you develop for reaching your professional goal.

Do I need the help of a Professional?

Although being an active, engaged and proactive person is essential to facilitating change, there are circumstances which can and often do present barriers for accomplishing personal and development goals.In this blog post we talked about fear, it is a very common challenge that immobilizes people when it comes to change and commitment.However, there are other challenges such as low self-esteem, anxiety, inability to manage anger, or underdeveloped communication skills can all hinder our ability to accomplish personal growth and development goals.You will need to develop tools and strategies to overcome them before you can focus on personal and professional goals.A good indicator for professional help would be a history of not overcoming your challenges on your own.If you find that you struggle with your ability to focus on personal growth and development goals, please know that True Impact Counseling Services, PLLC is here for you. As a Licensed Professional Counselor, I have been trained to provide therapy and life coaching strategies to individuals.True Impact Counseling Services, PLLC provides confidential counseling services in a private, no judgment space.Our counseling services take place in an office setting, evening and weekend appointment times are available.

Be blessed!

Travis E. Williams M.Ed., LPC, CRC is Lead Counselor and Owner of True Impact Counseling Services, PLLC.Travis is a licensed professional counselor and a nationally certified rehabilitation counselor.Travis is a solution-focused counselor that specializes in men's issues, couples therapy, and individual therapy.Travis also provides career and vocational counseling.In his spare time Travis enjoys walking in local parks, greenway bike rides in Wake and Johnston Counties and spending quality time with his wife of eighteen years and his son.

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