What Every Leader Must Know About Personal Development
by August Turak-author and Forbes contributor:
Columbia Business School published August’s popular book Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO’s Quest for Meaning and Authenticity. This led to a number of interviews-with a recurring question: “What do you do for Personal Development?”
The reason I find this question so difficult is that it assumes that personal development is something we do in order to get “success.” By success we usually mean having a successful career. It rarely occurs to anyone in our culture that someone (a Trappist monk for example) might become an artist, entrepreneur, leader, or politician as a means to personal development and not the other way around.
As a result “personal development” is compartmentalized; it becomes something we do off the clock and in our spare time in order to “get ahead” in the “real world.” Slowly and unwittingly we become like the real estate agent who religiously accompanies his family to church only because being perceived as a family oriented, God fearing man is “good for business.”
This entire world view tragically puts the proverbial cart before the horse. Whether you call it personal development, personal growth, self-actualization, self-transcendence, or spirituality does not matter. What matters is realizing that the reason you were born is to become the best human being you can possibly be. Personal development is not a tool for reaching a bigger goal. Becoming a complete human being is already the biggest and most noble goal you can aspire to.
August Turak’s entire book is an argument for making personal development the central mission of our lives rather than merely the means to a more limited end.