The most successful business people and medical professionals out there, however, never stop learning, and I don’t just mean continuing education or studying for boards. Self-improvement and personal growth are an important, and highly valuable, part of your career and life in general.
When you have patients to see, a schedule to keep, charts to do, procedures to prepare for, and all the busy work of running a practice, investing in personal growth can seem like a waste of time or, at the very least, a luxury. It is something you get to when you have tons of extra time and aren’t working so hard to keep your practice afloat.
What you see in the most successful people, however, is that they make time for their personal development and growth. Personal growth is a process of both understanding yourself and pushing yourself to reach your highest potential. It means always asking yourself who you are becoming and how you plan to get there. It can involve working on new habits and hobbies, fostering new skills, and practicing new strategies to achieve your goals. While this development starts very personally, it radiates outward and touches every aspect of your life, including your practice and professional growth.
Self-Improvement in Your Practice and Your Life
Look at it this way. To have a successful practice, you need to be a great leader who communicates well with your staff. You also need patience (for your staff and the people you’re treating), good listening skills, and a sense of organization, just to name a few things. These skills don’t always come naturally to people, and even if they do, improving and developing those skills is still worth your while. What doesn’t come naturally you can still learn.
How to get started
Working on personal growth can mean a lot of things, from taking a class to reading a book. Looking to create a reading nook? Having a special place to curl up with a book may just be the motivation you need. The place to start, however, is with your goals. Review your written-out goals and ask yourself the tough questions about whether or not you’re achieving them in every area of your life. Then determine what you need to do for yourself to get there.
10 Things you can do in your daily life to improve self-growth:
1. Read about what you want to improve
Do you want to get better at a certain skill? Read about it. Be more meditative? Read books that explain that in detail. Want to be more productive? Spontaneous? Outgoing? Confident? All these topic areas are covered by books upon books that you can study--and by reading about it, it'll always stay top of mind.
2. Find a mentor
A mentor can be anyone from a peer who knows something you don't, and you want to learn, all the way up to someone vastly more experienced who is willing to take you under their wing (in exchange for your working in some way for or with them). Mentorship is by far the fastest path of learning.
3. Reflect at the end of each day
If you really want to take self-development seriously (and not just, you know, talk about it), you need to be constantly aware of how you can improve. And the only way to know how to improve is if you reflect and ask yourself where and how you still need some work.
4. Create a strong practice regimen
It's your habits that unfold the results, not the other way around. You can't live one life and expect to one day have another. You have to put in place the daily habits that will allow the things you want to change to change.
5. Find others to push you and train with
Self-development is not just a solo game. In fact, the best self-development is done with others in some capacity. Spend time with people who are working on similar things as you, and you'll find yourself growing with them at a faster rate than if you had tried to do it all alone.
6. Create a reward/punishment system
This is necessary for people who need to break bad habits. Sometimes, it's a reward (or a punishment) that makes the difference between immediate and rapid change, and ongoing fleeting promises.
7. Stay honest with yourself
No amount of talking about it will ever instigate true change. This is the hardest part for people. It's far easier to buy a book on self-development, carry it around, and say, "I'm working on being more present," while staying constantly on your phone to text your friends about how you're trying to be more present. You have to really be honest about it with yourself. You are your own judge.
8. Find role models you can look up to
Again, self-development is not easy, so it's helpful to be able to look to others for inspiration, motivation, or even just daily reminders of how you can continue moving forward on your journey.
9. Measure your progress
One of my mentors taught me, "If you can't measure it, don't do it." Took me a long time to understand what that meant. Regardless of how ethereal the thing that you want to work on is, you have to find some way to measure your progress. It's the only way you'll really know if you are moving in the right direction--and when/where to pivot as you go along.
10. Consistency is the key
Self-development doesn't happen overnight. It happens slowly and deliberately. Consistency is what creates truly meaningful change--and this is what makes the process so difficult for people. It's not that you pop and pill and you're done. You don't do it once and you're "fixed." Self-development is a daily practice and lifestyle.
3 ways of self-growth can change your life
Focusing on self-improvement has presented many opportunities in our lives — like speaking at live events, writing for online publications and traveling the world. This can happen for you, too. But in order for things to change in your life, in order to get where you want to be, you have to grow into the person who is ready for that change. Personal development is vital to your success.
Here are three specific ways focusing on self-improvement can change your life:
1. It presents you with new opportunities
Growth in yourself eventually leads you to new opportunities, opportunities that don’t come about until you grow into the person who is ready for them. All you have to do is focus on self-improvement—start by reading personal development articles, books, blogs—and implement the things you learn into your own life.
2. It increases your self-esteem to new levels
Self-confidence is ultimately the starting point to following your dreams—you have to believe in yourself and your dreams enough to go after them. As you grow, you’re building up that mindset, that belief. When I picked up my very first personal development book—Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill—that’s when my self-esteem started rising, when I really started to believe in myself and my goals. Reading success books was what pushed me to grow, to change, the motivation behind my goals.
3. It can help you become a better version of yourself.
Becoming a better version of yourself is the main goal of self-improvement to improve in your job, your business, your relationships. Whatever area of your life you’re working on, that’s part of growing as a person. You have to constantly look at what you can improve and have the awareness to know what needs to be done to do it. The most effective way of finding out how to get better is to ask the people around you to make a list of what you’re best at and where you could make improvements. Take the list of improvements and work on them one by one.