As a business and executive coach I am helping leaders everyday with both personal growth and growing their organizations.
This article describes four levels or stages of Personal Growth -- social accomplishment, psychological growth, spiritual progress and transformation. The past half-century of growing prosperity and the progressive emergence of individuality have led more and more people to express interest in self-development rather than the exclusive pursuit of material and social achievement. In fact, human beings have always been growing personally or psychologically, even those who are almost entirely absorbed in struggling for material survival or aspiring for higher social achievements. While we are all fairly clear about what constitutes a normal healthy and comfortable social existence, when it comes to psychological and spiritual progress there is a great deal of confusion. So too, spiritual growth means a great many different things to different people : to be of service to others, pray, meditate, acquire healing powers, read and understand philosophic and religious texts. Some of these dimensions naturally increase during our life times as a result of life experience and conscious effort. An effective approach to understanding human personality requires a clear distinction between those dimensions that lend themselves to alteration by mental or physical effort, deeper elements that can be changed only by a deeper psychological effort or by the influence of higher (spiritual) consciousness, and those that are virtually fixed for the span of life and can only be altered by yogic transformation. Social accomplishment refers to our capacity as an individual to survive, function effectively in relation to other people, and successfully carry out activities in society to fulfill personal goals : to acquire education, find employment, become financially self-sufficient or prosperous, establish a family, gain social acceptance or higher status, etc. The capacity for social accomplishment is determined by the overall development of the personality. Most of our progress in life falls within this first level of personal growth, because it is that which is most easily changed by means of education, training or conscious effort. We can also take a conscious effort to be more interested, enthusiastic and energetic in pursuit of our goals.
Many people mistake psychological growth with greater freedom to do what we want, greater capacity to assert ourselves and live for ourselves.
We are more self-reliant: We rely more on ourselves, rather than expecting other people to do things for us. We are more responsible: We feel more personally responsible for the people around us or the work in which we are involved, rather than depending on others and blaming them for what goes wrong. We aspire for higher achievements: We are no longer satisfied with being secure or comfortable or gaining the acceptance and recognition of those around us.
We have higher standards: We are not satisfied being as good or doing as well as other people or getting their approval.
We are more positive: We react less against other people and no longer think ourselves superior to others or feel jealous of those who achieve more than we do. We live higher values: We respect others more, our thoughts are more objective, our words are more truthful, our acts are more honest and our relationships are more harmonious.
We act according to our understanding rather than our impulses: We do what we know to be right rather than what we feel like doing or find convenient.
Human Science is based on the premise that there is a spiritual dimension to reality which is the foundation and creative source of all that exists and that a progressive evolution in consciousness makes it possible for human beings to experience and express this spiritual dimension in their personal lives.
The term spiritual experience is often used or confused with any type of experience on the subtle or occult planes of existence that are not normally accessible to our external consciousness - experiences of subtle beings and forces that influence our lives, of occult powers, of subtle sounds, visions, voices, etc. Peace: We feel more calm and peaceful, even in the midst of other people and intensity activity.
Knowledge: We understand the significance of all experiences that come to us and know how to grow or outgrow the need for them.
Self-giving: We identify with others and aspire for their fulfillment more than for our own.
Spiritual experience can greatly enhance our capacity for accomplishment, positive personal relations and personal fulfillment. This factor is extremely difficult to describe or measure, but differences in the size and intensity of personality can be readily perceived in some instances, especially when one is in the presence of a towering personality such as a Napoleon, a Goethe, a Churchill, or a Gandhi.
We have referred elsewhere to several stages in the formation of personality under the terms Manners-Behavior-Character-Personality-Individuality. This factor refers to the relative development of the three different centers of consciousness in human beings which is discussed at length in Physical, Vital, Mental and Nine Levels. According to Sri Aurobindo, even character and karma can be altered by the descent of the supramental force into the human personality.
A more helpful conception is to think of human personality as a point or small three dimension object in space and our trajectory for growth as a multi-dimensional expansion from that point to become a sphere.
While these different levels or categories of change can be distinguished from another, they are not entirely separate or independent. What gives you a buzz; a desire to wake up every morning and look forward to a new day, knowing and realising how lucky you are to have another day? If this presents you with too many questions to contend with, try asking one question at the end of every day: What did I learn today? Look out for the April 1st Blog Post – I have a Mind Map planned as a competition to win one of my E-Books of your choice.
Seek out and have conversations with people, and groups, whom you might not have spent time with previously. There may be activities which you have avoided because you don’t feel that you would be any good at them.  Ask yourself ‘Does it really matter if I am not very good at it?’  The answer is ‘No’. If you commit to trying one new thing every day, you will have tried 365 new things in one year. This personal development plan sample (pdp) uses a simple but powerful tool called the Growth Framework.
Questions focus on checking that we create a powerful experience of the new career as if it were happening in the room right now. One of the benefits of this simple framework is that it has a great blend of structure, flexibility and adaptability. Personal development plan sample key coaching issue: be completely clear about the means to get from the current post to the future you've just imagined.
Can you write competency statements, describe achievements, tell 'point-reason-evidence-point' stories? Key coaching issue: Are you clear that you have the personal resilience to continue to lead yourself and your family through what might be a stressful time?
Questions and prompts focus on the ability to bounce back, maintain focus, keep a balanced perspective, maintain health and vitality, pacing. Personal development plan sample key coaching issue: Have you made sure that everyone you need to be pulling with you knows what they can do? If you've left or are leaving work, your team is your immediate family, friends, neighbours, fellow members of sports clubs, faith and community organizations and other social groups.


A great place to practice telling your career change story, especially if you've been through a job loss with closure or downsizing. Key coaching issue: Have you set up routines and systems to ensure that basic, repetitive tasks are taken care of? Questions and prompts focus on keeping quality time free for the important leadership tasks. What can you measure or count that provides feedback to you about whether the strategy is bringing the results you want? This is a much more open ended starting point from which to develop a personal development plan. This particular personal development plan sample could go in many directions as the coaching dialogue takes shape. Any images from fantasies, dreams, books or films that help you see or imagine what the new you will look like, feel like? There are other articles on the site that describe different personal development plan samples. I particularly like John’s point that you have to be intentional if you want to grow.
It explains the distinctions between them and the methods or type of change of characteristic of each level.
Thus, usage of the terms personal growth, psychological growth and spiritual progress have become increasingly common, although there is little agreement regarding the actual meaning of these words. But that growth has been most often subconscious, as a result of the trials and errors of life experience, rather than as a result of a conscious process of self-development. Others want direct spiritual experience : to expand their consciousness, feel the reality of God, commune with the universe, discover their souls or realize a higher state of knowledge and bliss. Because of this complexity, it cannot be satisfactorily categorized in terms of fixed types. The second level of personal growth requires a psychological change in our attitudes and values. But these things are really expressions of the vital's desire to make itself happy by greater self-indulgence.
In this article, we reserve the term spiritual only for those powers and experiences that come from the higher spiritual planes of consciousness. It helps us escape from the confines of our ego and see the world and other people through their eyes and from their point of view.
It can give us a deep sense of inner strength and security, a faith in life and trust in the Spirit. That is the level of innate capacities that cannot be changed solely by the conscious effort of the individual. Every individual has their own characteristic level of intensity which is distinct from the vital or mental energy that they express and may best be represented by their overall capacity to change or influence the people with whom they relate and the environment within which they live. It is this factor which makes us classify a person as a thinker, a dynamic man of action, a leader of people, an organizer, a loyal follower, a courageous patriot or sensitive artist. But this is an extraordinary spiritual accomplishment that lies far beyond the scope of psychological growth in the realm of spiritual transformation. For the mind, progress is to move from one point on a line to another point further along or higher up. The point is our small surface personality which has limited knowledge, limited capacity, limited power and limited joy. However, individuals can evaluate themselves on these parameters in order to assess their present position and comprehend the means by which they can further develop at the level of social accomplishment, psychological growth or spiritual progress. Are you listening to your heart; sensing the inner voice within and balancing your wants and needs?
As a human being, you have amazing potential to continuously accept, and conquer, new challenges. When you adopt a new behaviour or hobby, your friends and family will ask you why you have done it. Approach these conversations with an open mind and you will learn new things and have your own views challenged.  This will help to freshen up your life and stimulate your creativity and sense of adventure. There are always opportunities to learn from your experiences and use the feedback to improve.
There may still be tough times but when you have the right mindset, you are more resilient.
Do this by ensuring that as many routine tasks as possible are incorporated into systems: for basic household needs and career change needs. Last week Michael featured John Maxwell and John’s newest book The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. A conscious effort at developing our personalities requires a clear conception of what personality is and how it can be altered. A real science of humanity needs to define and explain these concepts which are so central to the aspirations of millions of people. Some can be altered only by spiritual experience and some can only be changed by what may be called spiritual experience.
In addition, each of us has the ability to consciously improve ourselves on all of these aspects at any time. Psychological growth refers to a qualitative change in the nature of the personality that can be brought about by conscious intention and effort.
We are more generous, gracious, and willing to give of ourselves to other people, rather than demanding anything from them.
They include such experiences as cosmic consciousness, a concrete sense of oneness with other beings, awareness of an infinite emptiness or void beyond the manifest universe, discovery of one's soul or psychic being, realization of a transcendent Spirit or Conscious Being, contact with godheads from what Sri Aurobindo refers to as the Overmental plane, direct knowledge from the Supramental plane of Truth Consciousness, etc. Experiences from these planes are universally associated with spiritual qualities such as patience, peace, silence, equality (equanimity, non-reaction), harmony, self-giving, truth, freedom, light and compassion. Broadly speaking, progress that enhances the presence and expression of any or all of these qualities in the personality and life of a person may be regarded as forms of spiritual progress. Except in rare instances spiritual experience cannot alter the very substance or structure of the personality. Bennet in Pride & Prejudice who have not yet developed the self-control and maturity needed even for reasonably good manners and are very unlikely to do so, regardless of their upbringing. While we can consciously strive to express more of the higher consciousness with which we are endowed, except by spiritual change the relative blend and balance of these three elements in our personality cannot be significantly altered. But if you focus on only one line of progress, you will end up at the end of a line, not on the surface of the universal sphere.


This classification is most useful as a means for comparing my relative position in the past and present with what I aspire to be in the future, rather than as a means for comparing myself with others and judging myself inferior or superior in some absolute terms. Maybe if you are unsure what you do want, you could start by eliminating what you don’t want. There are few, if any, things which you cannot achieve, if you really want to achieve them. Therefore, you can never do your best but you can do the best that you can at any given moment, with the knowledge and skill you possess at that time.
You are not looking for a record deal, a museum exhibition or a professional sports contract.
More importantly, you will quickly develop a personal growth mindset where you see challenges rather than problems, and you are unafraid to try new things.
You accept that things will go wrong but you focus on identifying a solution, implementing it and moving on. John shared these 15 laws and I thought they were so good I wanted to share them with you as well.
By psychological growth, some people mean they want greater freedom to do what they want, pursue their interests and live as they want.
Therefore, those interested in personal growth need first of all to be clear about the differences between these four aspects of personality and the methods appropriate for personal growth at each of these levels.
This psychological change also enhances our capacity for social accomplishment, but it does so by expanding the personality, not just by greater external effort.
Psychological growth requires an effort to acquire greater self-knowledge and self-control, to master our natural impulses and direct our energies into something better and higher. William Collins may become a wealthy landlord but he can never become a perceptive thinker like Mr.
To become universal we have to make progress in multiple directions, simultaneously or successively. It may also be true that greater social accomplishment increases the readiness for psychological growth and psychological growth may enhance the inclination or receptivity for spiritual progress. My decision whether to stick with it has nothing to do with my performance; that can be improved. When you understand and accept this, you realise that the judgements of others are irrelevant. Others want to understand themselves better, develop personal capacities, and experience new things. We can train ourselves to run faster, jump higher, play a musical instrument, read faster, explain ourselves more effectively, etc. Psychological growth may also be described as a qualitative improvement in those attributes that make an individual what can be regarded as a 'better' and more enlightened person, expressing higher values and capable of making a greater contribution to the overall welfare and well-being of society. If you compile a list of those human beings who have been most admired and respected, you can easily identify the characteristics associated with psychological growth - living for an ideal, courage of conviction, willingness to take risks, integrity, kindness, generosity, service toward others, etc. Others acquire perfect external manners, such as the teachers and students in Mona Lisa Smile, but how they behave outwardly does not really reflect how they think and feel inside. Our progress from a point to a sphere is a progress on the dimensions described briefly in this article and explored in greater detail in the Psychology Portal and Spirituality Portal. So while we speak of them as distinct from one another, we think it better to recognize their interdependence. Are you a constant daily learner, or perhaps you are committed to unlearning any bad habits? Someone with a personal growth mindset knows that they are unlikely to be good at new things immediately. You can take comfort that you did the best you could at that time and resolve to learn from the experience so that you may do better next time.
If you focus on the experience rather than the end result, you will have a lot more fun and you might, unwittingly, find something which you are actually good at.
These changes help us more fully and effectively utilize the developed capacities of our personality for higher social accomplishment.
According to Eastern spiritual tradition, that form or structure, known in Sanskrit as swarupa, is the form which the soul has taken for birth during this life time and it remains unchanged through all experiences of this birth. Still others, such as Jane Bennet in Pride & Prejudice, have achieved a level in which their inner feelings are fully in accord with their external manners. Mary Bennet may become well-read and well-trained but she can never develop the mental acuity and emotional depth of her sister Elizabeth. If we want to raise our accomplishment beyond this level, we need to expand our personality, which is what we mean by psychological growth. They truly mean and feel what they say, but the form of their personalities is largely determined by the social norms and standards of the society in which they were raised. Still others have a formed character that is capable of higher accomplishment, such as Darcy in Pride & Prejudice.
In the past, I would have considered this and decided against taking on the challenge.  However, with a personal growth mindset, I decided that this was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
Setbacks rarely faze you because you know that new opportunities lie just around the corner.
Then there are a few at the level of personality and true individuality who have developed to the point where they can transcend the limitations imposed by society and their own upbringing. All you really require is an open mind, a desire to try new things, and awareness that you can improve your performance with commitment and effort. For the past 6 months, I have been researching, learning and experimenting and the results have surpassed anything I would have expected.
Mikhail Gorbachev exhibited real personality in undermining the monopoly on power of the political party and government which he headed. I still only know a minute percentage of what there is to know but I am really enjoying the experience and I have identified a number of exciting new challenges for the next 6 months.  Without a personal growth mindset, I would have missed out on this opportunity and the happiness that it has brought. As I began to work with Corinne, overseeing her series, I was quickly impressed with her knowledge of the field, her poise and comfort with a broad array of guests, and her personal integrity, style, and camaraderie. LEE AND A MESSAGE FROM THE BEYOND – from Are We Spiritual Yet FEAR AND THE SMALL STUFF – from Are We Spiritual Yet?



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  1. 28.01.2016 at 16:11:20
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    King writes:
    Bending forward and pulling backwards, mastery spiritually vibrant or doesn't.