4 Practical Ways to Develop Yourself

In a world that is fast paced and full of distractions we can sometimes overlook the basics. I know this can be true with personal development. Remembering the practical ways to grow our selves is essential. Self development can help both rookie and seasoned leaders. Before listing some practical ways to develop yourself, here are 3 benefits that come from personal development:

  1. It raises your leadership potential.
  2. It creates forward movement, allowing you to be moving toward your potential and success.
  3. It adds value to you and your people.

During your busy days remember and apply these practical ways to develop yourself:

1. Read- It’s important to read everything you can on the topic of leadership and your personal talents. If you want to always be leading and developing yourself then you need to take time to read. Harry S. Truman said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.

2. Audio- Listen to audio books, trainings, and teachings is important when it comes to development. Personally I have found using my driving time to listen to audio books and lessons beneficial to my personal development. It also allows me to effectively use my time while in the car. By doing this, your commute time can be turned into personal growth time.

3. Mentorship- Finding and having mentors is an essential factor to leading successfully. It’s important to remember that one mentor is never enough. This is because one person can’t or does not know it all. The key is to find different mentors for the different areas you desire to develop in. Remember to find people who have already done what you want to do and who are experts in their field. Author and speaker Bob Proctor said, “A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.

4. Practice- This is one of the best ways to develop yourself, because it allows you to put your personal growth and theories into action. Remember the above steps can allow you to learn then apply what you have learned into your leadership. Learning and practicing is essential for staying ahead and moving forward.

Question: What are some other practical ways you can develop yourself?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I agree with all the points. I especially like “Practice”. We won’t grow and stretch if we don’t apply what we learn on our reading, mentoring and listening.

    Great post.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting Ngina. Do you have a mentor? How have they helped you?

      • Yes I do. They have helped me grow and stay focused. From defining and pursuing my dreams, starting businesses, serving in the house of God, being a leader, becoming a better person and spouse e.t.c – their input in my life has been invaluable. I thank God for them!

        • Sounds like great people:)

          What a blessing to have others who lift us to a new level, right:)

          Keep stepping out and moving forward in your calling. Your doing a great job.

          • Thank you Dan.

            I really believe that there are certain levels and heights we wont without the input of others who have gone ahead of us.

  • For me, blogging has been wonderful at expanding my knowledge and courage. I have met so many wonderful people that challenge, inspire and motivate me to push forward!

    • I totally relate and agree with you. Being able to both write and read other blogs has helped me become a better person and leader. I really like you community aspect of blogging. Thanks for sharing,

  • I know you touched on this a few times lately, but one of the keys for personal development I believe is actually listening to everyone, even the people that a person is helping lead. Not everyone is going to have great ideas, but to actually stop and look at things from their perspective is beneficial, put your self in their shoes so to speak.

    I’ve tried to make it a point in doing that even with people not associated with business and it’s fascinating what one can gain from others when they know we’re truly engaged in what they have to say.

    Probably one of the best books I’ve found on leadership was Jim Collins, Good To Great. It focused on doing the right and moral thing and letting everything else take care of itself. (over simplified overview)

    • Floyd,

      I believe if we open our eyes and ears,we can learn from any person or any situation. It requires putting on learning glasses though.

      I really like Jim Collins books. They are all full of wisdom and insights. Have you read his newest book Great by Choice?

      • No! I haven’t heard of it! I gotta check it out. Have you read it?

        • Yes I have. It’s a must read for any leader or business person. I can always let you borrow or have it when we meet up in the summer time.

          • Thanks, but I try to go out of my way not to borrow books and I like to keep the ones I’ve read, especially good ones that I can go back and reread or quote later.

            I’ll be over in your neck of the world next week. Maybe we can hook up mid week?

            • I totally understand. It would have been hard for me to let it go but I would have:)

              Nice, the best days are Wed./Thur. either in the morning or afternoon. Just let me know and we can make something work.

  • I think that the mentorship is by far the most important, to be able to communicate with leaders one on one creates much more lasting, real impressions, where you can really see what works and what doesn’t, rather than what works in theory on the pages of a book (which can be insightful, but also very forgettable)

    • Tyler,

      I think a balance between all of the ways we can develop is important. However having a mentors is an essential factor. Have you found some good mentors in the San Diego area?

      • Yea, I moved to Oceanside to be an intern, so the pastors at my church have been great to me

        • That’s great! Hope it’s going well.

  • Good stuff Dan. My pastor always says, “Leaders are learners.” It’s so true. I’m especially fond of the reading point. I think it’s the most overlooked path to self-improvement, especially among younger generations (of which I am a part).

    • Grayson,

      I also enjoy reading and found it very beneficial in my development. Have you read any good books lately?

      Agreed about people “overlooking the path of self-improvement,” so many people want to be successful or be an expert but overlook the process of growing and learning. This only holds them back from reaching their potential.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and reading.

      • A Traveler’s Guide to the Kingdom by James Emery White and Love Does by Bob Goff. Definitely recommend the first.

        • I’ll have to check it out. I’m reading Great Leaders Grow by Ken Blanchard which is a great book. Thank you for sharing.

  • Here’s a few more:

    Attend leadership conferences
    Spend time with other leaders(not necessarily mentors)
    Get out and into the real world

    • Great additions Joe. Thank you for mentioning them.

  • Excellent post. Mentorship has become very important in my life. I have mentors that I meet with occasionally and mentors that I read and listen to their material. Practice is important because it action. We can read and listen to great material and have mentors that impart great wisdom into us, but it is not until we take action that we can move forward in living to our full potential.

    • Thanks Bernard:)

      I think you bring up a great point about mentors, both ones we meet with and those who mentor use through their books and audio(and who we might never meet) is important. I consider people like John Maxwell and Brian Tracy mentors even though I have meet with them in person.

      Thank you for sharing and commenting.

  • Hey Dan!

    I add prayer and mediation. Taking the time to connect with your Creator is always a way to develop yourself personally. And mediation (for me that is on scripture) is another way to renew your spirit and get those things deep down on inside of you.

    I’m a huge fan of the audio stuff. My car is a university on wheels! :)

    • Marlee,

      Great addition. I personally believe connecting with our “Creator” and reading the Bible, the best and most beneficial way to become a better person and leader. Thanks for sharing that.

      I like your wording, ” University on wheels.” So essential when it comes to personal development and maximizing our time.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  • Great points Dan, one that I just wrote about is eating right and exercise. This gives you energy and discipline that you can use to develop other area’s of your life!

    • Kimanzi,

      Great point, making sure we exercise is important, it can also allow us to listen to audio books. When you workout do you listen to audio?

  • randygravitt

    Great post DB. Keep up the good work!

    • Thank you for reading and your support.

  • I don’t watch a lot of TV these days, but I do like to watch good and educational documentaries.

    • What a great way to save time. I watch TV but I’m careful in how much time I spend watching it. For the most part it’s watching a movie or TV with my wife. Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • DS

      We’ve found that not watching TV is one of the best decisions our family has made. We stay more focused, share more time together, and consume more things with positive information.

  • I think being accessible to others and offering your help or receiving help of others. Bonding with them and creating synergies that allow everyone to grow. I love listening to audio in my car and audio books. I love also sharing other people’s info that helps me so others get the same info I get. Thanks Dan, great points here.

    • Great thoughts Lincoln Parks. Thanks for sharing.

  • DS

    I think your 4 tips really knock it out of the park. You have to keep learning, you have to keep applying through practice, you’ll do better with a mentor, and who doesn’t drive a ton these days? Simple, practical, yet incredibly valuable tips. Thanks for the post.

    • Glad you liked the post. I think learning and moving to the next level are closely connected with each other. Thanks for stopping by and taking time to read and comment.

  • Loving the 4 examples, man. Audio books are great for my runs- initially I didn’t think I’d be able to retain the info during exercise, but I was surprised. It’s actually a great idea for self-development. Thanks for the thoughts, man.

    • Exercising and audio go together like peanut butter and jelly, right:)

      Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.

  • I’ve just started investing in Audio books and must say, they are extremely beneficial in allowing me to multitask while learning.

    Great post!

    • Lee,

      What a great investment. It’s a great way to grow, especially while driving or exercising. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • Dan,

    Great list. “Been there. Done that” is a cute phrase but a terrible leadership concept. Leaders should always be growing and experiencing new things.

    I agree with reading. I recommend Derwin Gray’s book Hero. It’s awesome!


  • The big thing for me is learning and reading. I love to learn and I love to read, so those passions help me develop who I am becoming.

    I might be getting a job here soon with an hour commute one way. If that’s the case, I will be listening to a LOT more sermons each week. Kind of looking forward to that if it happens.

    • Jason,

      Great passions to have. They are so needed for leaders. Have you read any good books lately?

      I’ll be praying you the job:) glad it will allow you to listen to audio during the commute. Let me know if you get it:)

  • I’ve found that reading is so crucial. Fitting little bits in here and there through the day really adds up and transforms us into true leaders.

    • I agree with you. Great point about reading a little bit throughout the day. Thanks for commenting.

  • Loved those points, Dan! I’m always reading and learning something, but definitely haven’t made anything out of my driving-time. What podcasts or audio teachings do you recommend?

    I think one more thing I do to Develop myself is to reflect a lot on the things I do and how they work/ don’t work. I think it’s crucial to stay honest and humble enough to constantly assess and evaluate ourselves and the impact our leadership is having. Sometimes things just don’t work the way we’ve envisioned them and that’s okay. What matters is admitting it to ourselves and the people we lead and trying an other (hopefully divinely inspired) strategy :)

    • Daniel,

      Great to hear you make it a point to read and learn. Anything from John Maxwell, Dave Ramsey, Andy Stanly, Jim Collins, Rick Warren, Bill Hybel’s are great!!! The next time you want to read a book instead of getting it in print, get it in audio and listen to it in your car.

      Great additional point about reflecting. It’s important to take time to reflect on our work and life so we can become better.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  • Of all the thoughts on personal development, perhaps none have as much potential as making sure we educate ourselves through attending conferences. I have personally found attending conferences to be a major key to success for three reasons: (1) the strategic insights I gain, (2) the quality people I meet, and (3) the time and energy I save by not having to learn things the hard way (i.e. through trial and error). Thanks for sharing, Dan!

    • Attending conferences is so essential and beneficial. You listed some important reasons why to attend a conference. Thank you for sharing:)