People dream of big accomplishments associated with a successful and rewarding career. However only a small fraction achieves this illusive goal. Why does this happen? The answer lies in personal development. Many people work hard on their school grades, passing exams with flying colors but forget to work hard on their own personal growth and improvement. It is a fact that good grades will put you on the success highway, but will seldom give you the required speed to cruise to victory in your career. You may have heard the infamous statement of A-class people who are social misfits and career failures. Developing oneself need not be an expensive affair. It is a personal goal that must be identified, defined and worked towards through self initiative, dedication and discipline.


Below are some suggested tools for your personal development:

Positive Books:
Individuals with a consistent habit of reading positive books geared at developing the reader will mostly find themselves arguing confidently and intelligently before an interview panel, among colleagues at work places etc This makes them gets noticed for the right reasons. When faced with a challenge, they will flock to book stores searching for the right answers. Consequently, they rarely resort to destructive habits in the face of challenges. Reading a positive book once every three months is a great goal to have.
Hearing is one of the most powerful senses. Most of the stuff we hear will be stored in our minds and retrieved as truths when need be. Therefore it is very critical that we form the habit of listening to the right stuff to enable us think positively. Imagine yourself listening to an audio telling you repeatedly that you can, the subconscious mind registers that you are a winner in every area of your life, therefore enabling you to easily conquer difficult day to day life situations.
Someone once said that if you think knowledge is expensive, try ignorance. Institutions of higher learning have made learning easy for everyone especially with the introduction of part time and evening classes, and weekend crash programs. There is no excuse for not improving your skills or acquiring that degree that you have always dreamt of. Besides formal education, we also have motivational and personal development seminars for successful living. The fees usually charged for these seminars are a small price to pay for the wealth of knowledge associated with the seminars.
Positive Self Talk:
Many people are their own worst critics. Statements like am so stupid, I can’t make it, am not talented enough, am too old or young to succeed, nobody likes me are the norm in personal conversation. As the saying goes confession is possession. For things to change you must change. You must start declaring positive things in your life. You must choose to be your best friend, watch out what you declare and see your life progress.
Professional Counseling:
While personal effort is a major factor in your own growth, there comes a time when professional help becomes critical. When the going gets really tough many people lose their self esteem and resign to their fate. Rather than give up, it is advisable to seek the help of a professional counselor. Counselors are professionals whose aim is to re-direct your life back to a progressive path. Contrary to popular belief, seeking professional help is a show of inner strength rather than weakness.
Role Models and Mentors:

A role model is someone worth looking up towards, somebody who has made the steps that you so badly need to take now or in the foreseeable future. Identifying a role model helps complete the process of goal setting and goal getting. A role model can be your parent, boss or even a public figure. A mentor on the other hand acts as a personal adviser guiding you through the intricate and difficult journey to success.

Author: Goretti Kimani for the Standard Newspaper, Careers Section