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For me the words personal development mean continually striving to improve my life by "working on myself". This means pushing myself to do the things I need to (and say that I will) do to improve my life which will then continually move it in the direction I want it to go. It all sounds very easy, in theory, and I used to find (before I started doing this) I would let myself down as I would not be willing to do what it would take. Now I do it, no matter what it takes. By the way, this is very different from "working myself over" - which is what we know as "beating ourselves up" or constantly berating ourselves when something doesn"t go as we planned.
I would say one of the main benefits I have created has been to give me the strength and courage to be the person I want to be and live the life I want. So I thought, for those of you that might be interested, I would share with you details of some of the books and courses that I have explored over the last eight years or so that has helped me get to where I am now.
It all started in about 1992 when I was living in Wiltshire and used to listen to a late night phone-in on one of the local radio stations. I was an avid listener to this program and used to plan my evenings (when I was at home) around being able to listen to this as it was on between 10pm and midnight, Monday to Thursday. Each night had a different theme. When someone phoned in with a personal problem, the host would very often mention a book called You Can Heal Your Life by a lady called Louise Hay. He would often mention things from the book as a way of helping the caller overcome their problem. I found that after a while (having been initially very sceptical), I was intrigued. So I bought a copy and started to read it.
Over the next few years, I kept dipping into the book and never really got into it. I felt like I never seemed to have the time to read the book properly and practice the exercises that Louise suggested. So, although I knew a lot of the theory, I was not putting it into practice myself. Anyway, one week I was talking to one of my friends at work and she told me about this course that she had been on over the previous weekend. This sounded just what I was looking for as, talking to her, it sounded like some of the things she was telling me from the course were very similar to what I had read in Louise"s book. So I signed up to do it. This course is called the isa Experience and takes place at a hotel in Yorkshire over a weekend.
Well the course was great and it really gave me a chance to practice some of the things I knew from Louise"s book. So many of the things the facilitator explained to us were identical or similar to what I had read. It did feel perfect just being able to spend a whole weekend doing this though; I finally felt like I might get somewhere with this information. Anyway, the weekend went so fast that I decided I would do it again as I thought there was probably so much I had missed, mainly because I spent so much of the time being sceptical and comparing the course with Louise"s book!
The second time I did it (a couple of months later), I could not believe how much I was sure I had not heard from the first time! Wow, it was like doing the the course for the first time again! It was during this weekend that I met Fran. She is a very special lady from Chesterfield and we have been very close ever since the weekend we did the course together.
It was doing the isa Experience that I got to see that I am completely responsible for my own life and the achievements that I want I can have if I just get "out there" and do it. I also learnt how it is possible not to be affected by what other people think of me.
One of the things I found after doing the isa Experience was that I became so interested in other aspects of personal development and soon discovered that there were quite a few people who had written books on (and around) the subject. A book I discovered by chance at a friends house was Dare To Connect by Susan Jeffers (see picture). I had always found it difficult to meet new people in the sense of being nervous and therefore have little confidence when meeting for the first time. I was fine at work, just socially I found it difficult. I remember when I first picked up this book, I opened it randomly and just dipped into it. The words I read made me feel that I wanted to read this book. So as soon as I could I bought a copy and read it. Well having read it three times now (so far!), this has helped me developed much more confidence with people and help me see that I do not have to be in a relationship to feel complete; I can be just as happy on my own. I have also recommended this book to a number of different people - it really is a wonderful book!
I now have quite a large collection of personal development books all of which bring a different perspective to the initial information I gained from reading You Can Heal Your Life and doing the isa Experience. Here I list my favourite; these are the ones that have had the most impact on me.
You Can Heal You Life by Louise Hay
Dare To Connect by Susan Jeffers
The Seven Spiritual Laws Of Success by Deepak Chopra
Shambhala, The Sacred Path of the Warrior by Chogyam Trungpa
Way Of The Peacful Warrior by Dan Millman
Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers
What I do know is that there is no way that I would have got to where I am now in my life without the knowledge I have gained from "working on myself" since I first discovered Louise"s famous book.
I would like to dedicate this page to the following people, without whom, I would not be where I am today. You all have my grateful thanks for making such an impact on my life. Thank you for being a part of my life.
Louise Hay - Whose book
started it all for me.
Ole Larsen and Luis Cordoba - Thank you for pushing me (when I needed it) and showing me how to make my life work.
Susan Jeffers - Your books (particularly Dare To Connect) have had a profound effect on my life.
For those of you that are interested in personal development and do not already know this, you must be sure that there is no magic formula to it. Just like anything in life, it really is up to you to do the "work" if you want to make your life be the way you want it to be. It is just a matter of how to apply yourself and your point of view on life. It is up to you! The information in the books and courses is just that - information. Its what you do with it that can make the difference!