120 – Implementing your Self Development Plan

Episode transcript...

Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening wherever you are in the world. I truly hope you are having an amazing week. So, we are answering some more ... Well, another question from one of our listeners, and a lady again who I have met at the event I spoke in Chester a week or so ago.

So, 'Hi Geoff. Just wanted to say loved the talk in Chester, thank you very much and thanks for the 30 minutes you spent time with me.' You're welcome. 'I have implemented many of the strategies you mentioned, but I am struggling with my self dev plan, where to go, and what to focus on.'

Okay, so for those of you who are just jumping in or may not have heard me talk about this, one of the things I am, ... obviously just like as many of the guests that you've listened to on this show as well, personal development is a really important thing. In fact, the amazing thing is, is when you, when you come into this world of personal development, and you start looking at it, I was quite embarrassed how little I did on myself, how little I ... My attitude was, I've left school, I'm not gonna really have to learn anything other than what I need to do for my job, which was very limited if I'm honest. And then that was it.

But then all of a sudden, you break through that, that barrier and you come into this realm of self-development. The fact is, is the strangest thing in the world happens. I actually enjoyed learning, mainly because I'm very passionate about it and I love what I do. But one of the things that I talk about if people want to grow ... There's a great saying and for the life of me at this moment in time, I can't remember who said it, but basically, the skills that have brought you to this point are not going to get you to your next destination. We constantly have to develop, we have to constantly push through that comfort zone and learn something different.

I remember many, many years ago, I was doing some training over in Norway and I was, ... Language is something that's fascinated me, how we talk to ourselves, how we talk to others about ourselves, all of that sort of stuff. I was doing this specific technique that, because I was teaching them in English, but what I was really fascinated about is what happened if I learned it in Norwegian. You're sitting there, and I'm sitting there with, I think it was Pimsleur or Lindor or something like that. I was going through and I was learning Norwegian. In fact, all I actually know now is and can remember now is [foreign language 00:03:12]. I'm sure I've pronounced that wrong, but that just means I don't understand Norwegian.

But, I can remember some of the language for that phrase because what I was really interested in is if we use the right language, if they're doing it in their own tongue, does it feel more powerful? Does the phrase mean different things? Later did I realise that when I asked someone from one of my clients in Norway to translate it, I didn't realise how many different dialects there was of Norwegian. Seemingly every valley has its own dialect and it's slightly different. I think [foreign language 00:03:52] meant 'well done,' but it meant something else, or it wasn't quite the same.

But anyway, but I remember the challenges of learning that. I'm dyslexic, I don't even really know my own language, but to be able to learn that language, that phrase, and speak to them about it, it was quite an amazing thing. It was one of those things where it was like, I quite liked languages and doing that. But that was the thing, so that was one of those important things about, 'OK, so I need to work on this and develop.'

I remember someone coming up and saying, 'We've done loads of trainings,' and a lot of people come over to speak English and do that, but they hadn't had someone who tried to do it in Norwegian; and couldn't pronounce the names of the people because of all of the different sorts of the ways it's could be pronounced. But I still got Brownie points for being able to do the process and the talk in Norwegian.

Anyway, we slightly digress. Pardon me. So a self dev plan is very much about setting time aside and blocking time aside, and working on yourself, and choosing how you want to do it, what you want to do, and sort of sitting down and working on that process. The self dev plan can cover loads of different things, can include meditation, can include journaling, and all of those sorts of things. But really what's important is it's making sure it fits you, and it's tailor-made to you based on your day.

I don't fall for the excuse of, I don't have the time, because the majority of those people that are saying that actually still have the time to spend four hours watching Netflix or whatever else. There's an important part of, you might not be able to do the Dev plan every single day, but there will be a moment in your week where you can actually do it. I think they call it Parkinson's law; if you have a void, you'll fill it with whatever. But actually what you need to do is you need to be very precise and follow the plan that you set.

So it's very simple. You look at your week and you just sit down and you go, okay, these are the things that I'm gonna, ... this is the 15 minutes, or 20 minutes, or half an hour, or whatever it is that I'm going to put aside to do some self-development. Quite often one of the popular ones is actually putting or waking up earlier. I did this for a little while. I'm still experimenting with it if I'm honest about getting up at 5:30 in the morning. But there is a, there is a big thing to be said that if you can find that time, or can't find that time during your day, getting up for half an hour earlier, you'll definitely find the time because normally you're asleep. That might ... There are loads of different ways you can do that. Some people choose just before they go to bed. It's about just doing self dev time.

One of the things that we're doing is, and one of the things Alison's talking about is she's struggling about where to go. So there are loads of different places depending on what it is that you're wanting to learn. So I'm not, ... I think the strategies we talked about were productivity and being a better entrepreneur and those sort of things. So once you've sat down and looked at your diary and gone, 'Okay, these are the times that I'm gonna put into the best of my ability during the week.'

You'll find that when you listen to the people on the podcast, they dedicate hours and hours to their time, to self-development, but they cover a lot of things under self-development. So getting fit would be self-development, meditation and journaling, as we've already mentioned, praying is their self-development as well. It's also their self-time as well, which is another key thing that we talk about and what I teach.

If you're looking for resources to do that, some really, really easy ones; Feedly is an RSS platform where you can put all your art rather than it bombarding your inbox, which I cannot stand. I'm not sure about you, but I try to remove all of the, ... not that the articles, they're rubbish, but all of the stuff that is not essential to my day to day communications or business practices. I don't want them coming in my inbox. So what I do is I use Feedly as a way to collect all of the articles and the blog posts that are coming from the platforms that I really like. You can also choose which ones you're really interested in and they'll send that into that as well. But we'll put the link to Feedly on. There's a free plan. I think there's a pro plan as well.

Another really useful platform is called Pocket. I absolutely love Pocket. If you see something that you really find interesting, then all you literally do is you share it to Pocket, Pocket stores it and it keeps it like almost like a little magazine. It keeps it like a magazine. So when you're actually looking at it, all of the articles that you have got in there will be stored and easy to access.

I'm looking at my pocket now at the minute and I've got articles from Hack Spirit. I've got Zapier. I've got ones from Success.com. I've got things from Trello. So they'll collect RSS feeds, Entrepreneur, and then like Gary Vaynerchuk, Amy Porterfield, all of those sort of things. I just literally put them in there. So what I love to do on a Sunday morning with a cup of coffee, is I'll go down and I'll get my iPad out, and rather than reading a newspaper that 90% of the time is filled with crap and stuff that just wants to depress the hell out of you. I actually choose the content I want to absorb and allow in my head rather than the shit that generally goes around. Those two are really, really great platforms.

If you are wanting to write, take notes and that sort of thing, I'm a huge fan of Evernote. We talked about ... We've mentioned it quite a few times as a couple of guests that I have joked on about it. I'm actually thinking certainly in when I was interviewed on Fire with John Lee Dumas, one of the questions was what's your favourite platform? You're not allowed to mention Evernote, so it shows how popular it is. But there's a new one clicking at heels, and it's called notion. That one looks, an interesting app as well. It's great for note-taking.

So I think the way that I use it is if that something that really interests me, I have it go on Pocket or something like that. If the stuff I want to write about what I've learned and reflected on what I've read, something that may be a little bit deeper, then what I'll do is I'll shove it in Evernote and I'll do some notes about it as well. It might be useful content for a blog that I'll eventually get to write, or it might be useful for some sort of topic that I want to do on the podcast. It just allows me to do those sorts of things.

And I think that those two are really, or those three are really ... or four, actually, are really, really useful platforms for you, Alison, to start one collecting and curating content, and the other one is, you know, reflecting, but of course you can use notes and you can use a piece of paper in a journal. It doesn't, ... and a notebook. it doesn't matter. It's just about you allowing yourself to get that content out and do some learning from it.

So what's next? Okay, yeah. Then we have obviously the audio side. I don't know about you, but I wish I was a fan, but I'm not a huge fan of reading. I say that looking behind me, and there's probably about 300 plus books; that many of them I probably haven't read, but I've probably listened to in some way, shape, or form. I do this very archaic thing, which is what I used to do when I was younger. I don't know whether you guys are old enough or young enough or whatever it is. When you used to get a cassette and you used to read along to the story, generally that's what I do. I'll get the, ... it absolutely will. I'll get the digital version on Kindle, and then I'll listen to it on Audible.

One of the benefits is if I can get both if I'm reading it and listening to it, it will automatically jump to where I started and finished. I love that. But if I really love the book, like there are quite a few books I absolutely love and I've got the physical copies as well. Certainly I do this now, so like Jack Canfield's success principles, virtual-preneur, both Chris Ducker; Youpreneur is another one with Chris Ducker. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Those sort of books, I actually get the physical book as well. So I can write notes in and certainly it doesn't look anything like my old files from school cause that was January full of drawings, and that was including in English. But what I do is I just allow myself to write notes in there.

If we look at some audible content to be able to help you with that. So one of them is obviously Audible. If you're going to look at a book place, there's probably the biggest book company in the world. That's Amazon. Amazon have a huge selection of books and stuff; and Audible is their audio version, I guess. You're looking at seven 99 to 14.99 a month. One gets you one credit, one gets you two credits.

I think for me the only challenge is, is when you have something on Audible, the credits become like gold dust. It's like I really don't to spend this on a crappy book, I only want to spend it on a really good book. So there's like this internal struggle with all these books on your wishlist that you can like want to buy. But Audible is brilliant. I'm a subscriber of Audible.

There's a one that I talk about all the time called Scribed. Now Scribed is great because it's 7.99, and you get unlimited access to everything that they have. That includes audiobooks, electronic books, also sheet music. It's not my sort of thing, but sheet music, articles, magazines; all of those sort of things comes on it as well.

The great thing is, is that if you sign up to it, you get, to my knowledge, six months free of something that we're going to talk about next called Blinkist and Pocket as well. You get that free. So it's definitely worth a look at because you'd no longer have to worry about what you're spending it on. You just have to curb how much you can put on your wishlist, and you know that you've got to listen to it. So that's another, a really, really good use for.

One of the ones that I absolutely love, and that is called Blinkist, and that literally is, ... how would I describe this? So Blinkist is basically, it looks at all of these great books. It has tonnes of brilliant books, a lot of them bestsellers, and it just focuses on the key takeaways. Granted, it's the takeaways from the people at Blinkist, but to get an overview of what these book's been, the fact that they break it all down and they have it on audio version or written version. They basically give you insights in 15 minutes.

When you look it, and I'm on their website now, so it says insights in 15 minutes, over 3000 titles. You imagine being able to get the golden nuggets of gems in 15 minutes from these books, and be able to do that. One of the things I absolutely love, if I'm going for a walk, one of the things I love to do is I drop my wife off at her work and then I walk into the city. It takes about half an hour. What I do is I shove on Blinkist and I'm listening to two books. By the time I get to the, ... Normally, by the time we get to the place I'm having my meeting or sitting down, if I'm doing a cafe day, actually, I'm listening to two books. It is a truly amazing resource, Alison, for you to get; and anyone else who wants to look at it.

I can't remember how much it is a, ... Well, hang on, let me while we are alive, I will jump over to it and I will tell you how much it is. It's 29.99 for the year to my knowledge. Then after that it's 59.99. That's in pounds. You'll have to go over and have a look. Although just looking at it now, they have 50% off their first year of premium. So jump on now children. That'll help you have a look at that sort of thing to be able to do that.

They are loads of great resources. So if you're a reader, they're all gonna ... you've got Friedly, Pocket, Blinkist. If you like listening, there's Audible, there's Scribed, there's Blinkist as well. But of course, there's also the podcasts. A plethora of podcasts can be heard about what you want to listen to.

I've got a friend who's a member of my mastermind group. She loves listening to knitting podcasts. I didn't even know they were a thing to be absolutely honest until she told me about it. But she loves listening to those sorts of things because that's something she wants to do. But she also, however, listens to a load of other stuff about developing herself and developing her business.

There's all sorts of things. There's a couple of sites that I absolutely love and highly recommend. There's Pat Flynn, passive income. There's Chris Ducker, who I'm a huge fan of Youpreneur. There's impact theory, which has got some incredible guests on. Chase Jarvis. Again, he's a photographer, videographer, and he owns this company called Creative Live, which we're gonna talk about in a second. But he interviews amazing, and he puts that so artistic spin on it as well like he does.

Then there's the inevitable Tim Ferriss, who I absolutely adore. I love listening to his stuff. I love his books. He's got one of those ... He's just that naturally inquisitive person that is amazing at breaking stuff down. In fact, I recommend most of his books, the 'Four Hour Work Week' I recommend. I also recommend it's going to go [inaudible 00:19:23] for two seconds, 'Tools of Titans' and 'Tribe of Mentors,' as well. They are some hellish thick books that go really deep. There are probably going to take me until I'm about 65 to read, cause I'm an extremely slow reader. Unfortunately they probably wouldn't work as an audio format, but they are definitely books to have a look at.

Then, of course, we have the video; so many different platforms or online courses. I mentioned Chase Jarvis, he does one called Creative Live. If you are interested in certain areas, if you're a photographer or videographer, or you're a creative, or you're looking at things in the business, they have this great model, which is basically they do a live show, an educational programme, which is completely free to watch live. Now it's great if you're in Canada. I think they're based in Seattle, so not too good if you're in the UK. It takes ... you've gotta be up sometimes quite late to watch them, but then what they do is once it goes, once it's off live or while it's running life, I think they sell it at a slightly reduced rate. Then once it's finished, they sell it at a full rate. Some absolutely brilliant programmes from that.

Then of course we have Udemy. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of courses on there that you can look at and develop. But never forget YouTube and Vimeo. YouTube, there are so many times now where I want to learn something, or I want to look at something in it. It could be learning something to do on something like, I don't know, Excel or even some sort of platform, or getting a review to be able to learn a little bit more. YouTube is an amazing resource. It's the second biggest search engine owned by the biggest search engine. So you're gonna find something there that's going to help you; and Vimeo as well. Vimeo has a load of content as well.

So there's, there are loads of different platforms you can go to. What you have to decide is, is how you're gonna fit them in your day. That is based on how much time you have, how much time you're willing to have and in some cases what you're prepared to give up. Are you prepared to sort of go, 'I'm going to give up a half an hour of my sleep in the morning' and I would recommend it in the morning rather than night, because I think sleep is vital. You've got to make sure you get it. But, are you going to give up and wake up a little bit earlier to be able to do that, or are you going to listen to it in your car on your commute? If you've got a half an hour commute, even a 15 minute commute, ... A 15 minute commute, you can listen to a Blinkist, and you can listen to some books.

One of the other great features in Audible is ... when you're in the, ... You've got these things when you're walking, you just click and you can press a note on it. You can just very quickly tap a button and it bookmarks it, the book. It allows you to go to that specific point in that audio book to be able to go, okay, it's done. Looking at that, are you prepared to give a bit of time in? Are you prepared to stop watching a bit of telly in order to get that done?

I dedicate a certain part of my day on a Thursday to self development. It might be that I go and I'll sit in a cafe, and I'll have my journal with me. I'll have some audiobook going. I'll just use that to help me in a moment of learning.

One of the ones I'm learning at the minute and it's a skill ... even though I'm journaling all the time. I've been trying to do and I say 'try' because it's a habit, because it's a very different form of journaling for me. It's something called the 'Daily Stoic' by Ryan Holiday. I'm loving his work. I just don't ... There's a perfectionist OCD thing in there with me about dates and stuff, which is a long story, but it's a brilliant thing. It goes through the philosophies of stoicism, asking you questions every day to think on. That's something I'm sitting down and thinking about, and mulling over.

There's always something that I'm looking forward to learning from. Or sometimes it's a Thursday sitting down and learning how to use a platform. One of the ones I'm trying to get my head around is something called Slack. Loads of people telling me I should be using it to communicate with my team and mastermind members, and God knows what else. But I really just don't understand it. I'll get there, but it's ... Again, that's something else. The curve of being incompetent to competent. You've got to give yourself time. When you're doing this and you're doing it for the first time, it's gonna feel really uneasy. It's going to feel like, yeah, I'm just gonna ... I'll just dump this for half an hour that I said I was gonna do, and I'll catch up on my emails. You've got to realise that your development of yourself is crucial for you to take yourself to that next level. Because the more confident and competent you are in different skills around who you want to be, and how to move your business to that next point, or how to move you to the next point. That is crucial.

To me, it's just as important as getting fit, getting a good night's sleep, and making sure you hydrate. The self-development, when you do your self dev plan, it's really just about sitting down and going, well okay, this is how I'm going to do it. I'm going to give myself permission to sit down with a cup of tea and learn because you're still improving yourself. You sometimes can be just as productive sitting down and learning about how to become more productive than you can be running around like a headless chicken trying to do things. So look at that.

One of the best examples of that was when I read two books. One was called the '12 Week Year.' It completely changed the way I did my business myself and also how I taught people to set goals and plan. It just completely re-changed the way I looked at things. The other one was 'Essentialism.' They were crucial books that allowed me to, ... There's loads of others as 100,000 more, but they are the things that made me do that move.

Resources Mentioned in this Episode


  • The Success Principles - Jack Canfield
  • Youpreneur - Chris Ducker
  • Virtual Freedom - Chris Ducker
  • 4 Hour Work Week - Tim Ferris
  • Daily Stoic - Ryan Holiday
  • The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
  • Essentialism - Greg McKeown
  • 12 Week Year - Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington

Apps & Platforms:

  • Evernote
  • Notion
  • Pocket
  • Feedly
  • Audible
  • Scribd
  • Blinkist
  • Creative Live
  • Udemy
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