If you’re considering starting up a business, be prepared for some serious growth and evolution as a human being.

Personal growth and personal development (in one form or another) is critical if you want to build a business.

In fact, the very process of building a business creates the biggest opportunity for personal growth. Your “Stuff” is going to come up along the way – “stuff” about money, sales, worthiness, and who knows what else.

  • Should you choose to address this “stuff” and grow your self, your business will flourish.
  • Should you choose to suppress your “stuff” and not grow as a human being, your business (or any part of your life, for that matter) will most likely hit a ceiling point and stop. Stagnate.

You need to grow as a human being for any part of your life to grow.

I’m all for personal growth and personal development, it just depends how it’s done.

Personal Development As An Industry

The “Personal Development Industry” is renowned for big, multi-day events, full of gurus and thousand-seat arenas of screaming fans. If you’ve every stepped foot into it, you’ll know what I mean.(I know, because I was a personal development and seminar junkie for many years).

Kind of like a rock concert – the energy is amazing, and the level of excitement and enthusiasm that is created in that environment is incredible.

When you immerse your self in this kind of environment for any amount of time, a number of things can happen:

  1. When you come out of this high energy and bubble of invincibility, and go back into your “normal, real” world, you will often crash.
  2. After 2 or 3 days or more of hearing the “gurus” thoughts and ideas, you come out like a mini-guru, sprouting THEIR words and THEIR wisdom and wanting to change the world.

These things don’t happen to every one, but they happen a LOT.

Here’s why.

01 – The Big Crash

When you put your self into an environment of high energy and excitement, you will naturally respond to that energy and be lifted up towards it.

If you’re a naturally high energy, highly excited person, then you may not notice a huge difference.

But if you’re a fairly quiet, subdued, introverted individual, this environment could be a huge change for you.

There’s a spectrum, and you’re going to sit somewhere on that spectrum of very high to very low energy.

How big the gap is between your “normal” life and the “guru-environment” will determine how big your “crash” will be after wards.

  • If you go from high energy to very high energy, the gap and the crash will be marginal.
  • If you go from very low energy to very high energy, the gap and the crash will be very big.

Let me give you an example.

14 Days In Crazy Land

I used to regularly attend intensive workshops on business and speaking that would run 14-16 days in a row, for up to 12 or more hours a day.

It was high energy, high pressure. I learned heaps, the content was great and I loved every minute of it.

But when I came home and went back to work, within a few days I would totally crash, lasting up to 4 or more weeks where I was unable to do any thing much more than go through the motions. Let alone all the 30 and 90 day plans that I had prepared in my workshops.

I would crash was lower than before I’d done the workshops, and then I’d feel like a total failure.

And…I wasn’t the only one. This happened to a lot of smart capable, ambitious people.

Empower Your Self

I’m not saying don’t do this kind of work on your self. In fact, I’m saying quite the opposite.

But, you do need to empower your self with the tools that can help you take what you’ve learned and implement it moving forward.

It’s all about managing the gap from where you are to where you want to go.

Here’s what I mean…

  • Manage your energy – Understand where your energy levels are and what you’re mind and body are capable of. Mind the “gap.” Push your self, but don’t destroy your self (like 14 days of 12 hour full-on work). You’ll crash if you push too hard.
  • Be realistic – When you’re creating goals or visions for the future, be realistic. Don’t. Your mind can only cope with what it believes to be true. Jumping from a $50,000 salary to $1,000,000 in the next 12 months is too big a gap for your mind to cope with. You’ll end up sabotaging your self. So set your self (minimum) goals and timeframes that are realistic based on what your life is now.

02 – The Myth Of The “Guru”

The second thing that happens to people (including me in the past) is that when you immerse your self in an environment you become that environment.

  • We learn by information.
  • We remember by repetition.

When you’re in an environment of high energy, with gurus sprouting inspirational messages at you for hours and days on end, some of it’s going to go in – a lot of it’s going to go in– especially the bits about how amazing this information really is.

You’re going to want to shout this amazing new information from the roof tops. It’s helped you (at least that’s what they told you), and you know it can save every body else, if only they’d just listen.

Don’t Become A Puppet

I recently caught up with a few friends who’d just spent a number of days  together in this kind of environment. They’d learned heaps and shared some of their lessons and growth with me – which is awesome.

But when I shared some of the things in my life, suddenly they became “experts” on what I needed to do. They started sprouting direct quotes and phrases from the guru (I know, because I’d done some of this work years ago.)

They were suddenly the “gurus.” The puppets – sprouting words of wisdom.

At the end of the day…

[ctt template=”1″ link=”04RKu” via=”no” ]No-one knows what is better for you than you do. Least of all any guru.[/ctt]

As I’ve said, I’ve done a lot of work on my self over the last decade (as a dedicated seminar junkie). I was constantly looking for answers and ways to better my self.

It’s only been the last 2 years where I’ve stopped this incessant search for “personal development” that the real growth has come.

What I realised was that while wanting to extract my self from the conformist world of corporate and the social norms, I had in fact moved into another world of rules and conformity and following the leader. Only this time the leader was promising utopia and bliss.

All this stuff serves a purpose, and again, I’m not saying don’t do it.

The question is…

Are You Learning And Remembering The Right Stuff?

Remember, every “guru” is just a person who has learned and remembered and interpreted a heap of information and is now teaching it to a bunch of people.

It’s their perspective.

It’s not necessarily right or wrong.

It’s information for you to sift through and figure out. Look for patterns and things that make sense to you.

Don’t just take their word for granted.

Question every thing. Break it down. Interrogate it.

Before you take on anyone else’s idea or philosophy make sure you understand what it means and that it aligns with your values.


Why I Stopped Going To Personal Development Events

I stopped going to these kind of events for a number of reasons.

I guess the main reason was that I realised I needed to stop looking to external factors to help me evolve my self.

  • I didn’t need high energy environments that pulled me on a roller coaster. Instead, I’ve learned to manage my energy from the inside out.
  • I didn’t need to follow “gurus,” blindly adopting their perspectives as a way to change my life. Instead, I now sit back take on information, read it, absorb in and interpret it in a time and space that allows me to develop philosophies that are right for ME, and not a guru.

So How Do You Grow Your Self?

It’s critical to grow your self when you’re creating a business.

The way you grow your self is to first of all understand there are no mistakes. Every thing has a purpose and lessons and is going to help you grow any way.

For me, there’s no way I’d take back any of the “personal development” experiences I’ve had – they are what have got me here. I had to have them in order to be sitting here writing this blog. It’s all perfect.

For you, if you want to jump on the “personal development” band wagon, go for it. You will have amazing experiences.

All I’m saying is go in with awareness and intention, and make it work for you, rather than following blindly. At the end of the day, you are your own best teacher.

But whatever you do, it’s going to be perfect.

Have you stepped into that world of “personal development?”

What were your experiences of gurus and crashes?

What did you learn, and how has it helped you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below.


Liz Watt

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