Personal development – on the road to a fuller life

Katarzyna Lawera

People often ask me: “What exactly is this personal development all about?” Inspired by such questions, I once wrote a text that I am returning to today, which I hope will better help you understand the subject.

Personal development is like leaving paradise. You will never know peace again.

At first, it seems that once you have dealt with one issue, all that awaits you afterwards is peace and relaxation. And then it turns out that underneath it, there is another one. So you start to deal with this next one, and after some time, you know that there will be another one and another one behind it. And so it will always be because the more you develop your consciousness, the more you know that there is still a universe to discover and understand inside you.

Sometimes you are fed up. What do I need this for, you think? I’ll sit quietly in a corner and stare blankly at the TV. Sometimes you even do that, but after a while, you know that you won’t be able to do it for long. And you return to this path of laboriously discovering your depths, asking questions and looking for answers. You know that it is worth it, although sometimes it is difficult. And you know, or at least you sense, that you will never turn back from this road. Sometimes you allow yourself a longer moment of rest, a break in the journey. And then you come back because you need it. This hardship and effort allow you to see the world differently, more broadly. They allow you to taste every moment of life more fully.

When you start to ask yourself: what is important to you, what do you need, what do you long for, you begin to understand that a lot of this life baggage you are carrying does not belong to you. You took it with you because you got it at the beginning of your journey. You needed it then, but now it is just ballast and clutter. Now, when you stand firmly on your own two feet, you can decide what serves you and what does not. You set your own values and look for ways to realise them your way in life.

And suddenly, you notice that life has a different flavour for you, that it pleases you more and seems a little more bearable.

But to get this, you have to take the trouble to ask yourself the hard questions and laboriously search for answers that are true to you and not necessarily in line with what your friends or loved ones expect.

Personal development starts with a question: do I want to live my life according to other people’s expectations, or do I want to go my own way? However you answer this question, it will still be your choice. After all, that is the point: make your own choices in life, even if they seem strange or unwise to others. As long as you make your own decisions, you have a sense of empowerment, which keeps you feeling meaningful.

This journey is not easy, so it is worth having a companion by your side, one who will follow you half a step at a time, supporting and encouraging you when the doubt settles in. One who will remind you of how much you’ve achieved when your mind tries to question the meaning of what you’ve gained. One who will not be frightened by your complaining and sadness and who will share your joy.

If you are going on this journey, look for someone like that. Sometimes it can be a partner or a friend, but beware, they will not always have the strength to bear your emotions. If you feel it’s taking too much toll on them, look for someone professionally trained to support you: a coach, psychologist, or therapist. And with your loved ones, share only what they can bear.

Explaining personal development at work

Until recently, we tried to separate our professional and private lives. Now we look at it more holistically and understand that work is simply one of the areas in which we fulfil ourselves. This perspective means that any place is an excellent place to grow, as its benefits impact every aspect of our lives.

The more self-aware we are, the better we manage our emotions. This skill allows us to cope better with conflict, stress and pressure. We collaborate more easily, understand others better and build deeper relationships on this empathic understanding. All this translates into results at work: ours and the whole teams we work in.

Besides, if we have already started doing something in the area of self-development, this process is happening at any time and any place. You can’t turn it off, and you take every opportunity to add another brick.

Employers are increasingly aware that caring for employees is now more about supporting their development and a sense of purpose than about adding more benefits. Hence, more and more often in companies, people and programmes support professional and personal development.

It does not matter where you find inspiration, but whether you want to use it. And that is your choice.