In 2004, I felt lost and unfulfilled, unsure of my path and purpose in life. 

Then, one fateful Monday, I crossed paths with a mentor named Francis. 

He was a professional speaker and successful businessman who exuded confidence and happiness. 

As I grew to know Francis, I became inspired by his wisdom and insights. 

He attributed his accomplishments to a set of 12 steps for personal development, which he generously shared with me. 

Determined to transform my life, I followed these steps and, over time, became a professional speaker and a successful entrepreneur. 

Steps to Success

Now, I want to share these 12 steps with you, hoping they will help you find the same fulfillment and success I have experienced.


1. Begin with Self-Assessment

Begin your journey by reflecting on your strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and desired results. Self-assessment will provide you with the foundation you need for personal growth.

Take the time to understand what truly matters to you and what areas of your life you want to improve.

My first recommendation is to keep a journal. A journal provides you with opportunities to reflect on your experiences. You may write once a day or as many times as you desire.

A journal helped me become aware of what’s happening to me and mindful of my actions. You only need to buy a notebook (costs less than a coffee at Starbucks) and a ballpen.

Though I can record my thoughts and reflections in Evernote, there is something about physically writing my journey that gives joy to my being.

Another thing you can do is to answer a SOAR worksheet. I hinted at this above. SOAR is an acronym for Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Results.

I recommend this tool because it allows you to discover what you already have and build on it.

Maintain a Personal Development Journal

Maintaining a personal development journal involves consistent writing, goal setting, and self-reflection. Track your progress, express gratitude, visualize success, and address fears. Learn from mistakes, seek inspiration, and plan actions toward your goals. Regular journaling can help chart your personal development journey, enhancing self-awareness and personal growth.

2. Set Clear Goals

Once you clearly understand your values and aspirations, set clear and measurable goals. By defining clear objectives, you will stay focused and motivated on your journey to personal development.

I find clear and compelling goals as effective tools for personal development. In my experience, people tend to procrastinate when they don’t have clear goals.

So, it cures procrastination.

And it bridges idea to action, and strategy to execution.

I know that there are many performance gurus who say that goal setting isn’t important. They say that it is not for everyone.

Of course, I won’t debate against their experiences for I only can speak about mine.

When I set goals, I use this formula: From X to Y by When.

It is simple.

But goal setting isn’t really simple. That’s because you can think of a thousand things that may require you to set goals. But we don’t have all the time and resources.

We, mortals, have to understand what really matters to us. We can do 80/20 or 95/5 to find out the most compelling and desirable goals.

We cannot skip this step.


One of the most popular acronyms for goal-setting is SMART. It is likely that you have already encountered this too. People often attribute different meanings to each letter, but all of them agree that S means specific. I wrote a piece on SMARTER GOALS. Find out how “E and R” make your goal-setting more powerful.

Personal Goal Development Worksheet

I learned that many are looking for personal goal development worksheets. This is somewhat similar to the 90-day Leadership Project I share with leaders. So, I created one for those who need a personal goal development worksheet. This is not the same as the personal development plan I recommend to professionals.

3. Create a Personal Development Plan

A Personal Development Plan (PDP) is a structured and deliberate approach to setting personal goals, identifying areas of improvement, and mapping out a plan to achieve them.

You can use this tool to take control of your personal and professional development as it provides a framework for self-reflection, goal-setting, and action planning.

It is typically a comprehensive plan that outlines all the steps you need. It is something like a blueprint for how you intend to devote your next 12 months.

But it doesn’t have to be comprehensive and complicated. No one really knows what will happen in 12 months, 6 months, or even tomorrow.

At best, a personal development plan is an expression of how you intend to grow.

Most personal development plans are centered on the self. It doesn’t have to be. I encourage people to consider its ripple effects.

I recommend that you use the Influence Model Framework. It is an excellent tool that will help you achieve your goals. It is based on behavioral psychology.


4. Prioritize Self-Care

Ensure you prioritize activities that nurture your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Incorporate regular exercise, meditation, healthy eating, and sufficient sleep into your daily routine. You will be better equipped to tackle your personal development goals by taking care of yourself.

Self-care is not a one-size-fits-all concept. It’s a personal journey and what works best will vary for each person. It’s important to listen to your body and mind, recognize your needs, and adjust your self-care practices accordingly.

Exercise regularly. Regular physical activity is a cornerstone of self-care. It helps maintain physical health, reduces stress, improves sleep, and boosts mood.

This doesn’t necessarily mean intense gym workouts; it can be as simple as taking a daily walk, practicing yoga, or doing a home-based exercise routine.

Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Stay hydrated and moderate the intake of processed foods, sugary snacks, and alcohol.

Make sure to prioritize quality sleep by establishing a regular sleep schedule, creating a quiet and comfortable sleep environment, and practicing good sleep hygiene.

5. Embrace Life-Long Learning

Continuously seek opportunities to expand your knowledge and skills in various areas. Attend workshops, read books, listen to podcasts, or take online courses to stay up-to-date in your field and explore new areas of interest.

Be genuinely curious about the world around you. Be always ready to explore new ideas and perspectives. Ask questions, seek out new experiences, and be open to change. Be willing to push your boundaries and explore areas outside your comfort zones.

Lifelong learners are proactive about their education. Set your own learning goals and take the initiative to seek out resources and opportunities to achieve them. Read books, take online courses, attend workshops or conferences, and so on.

You are responsible for your own learning.

Learning often involves facing challenges and overcoming obstacles. Lifelong learners need to be resilient, able to bounce back from failures, and keep going in the face of difficulties.

Therefore, be persistent, do not give up easily, and always look for ways to improve.

Lifelong learners don’t just consume information; they reflect on what they’ve learned and find ways to apply it in their lives.

Write about their learnings, discuss them with others, or use your new knowledge to solve problems or create new projects.

Understand that real learning occurs when you’re able to connect new information with existing knowledge and apply it.

growth mindset

6. Develop a Growth Mindset

Cultivate an attitude that embraces challenges, perseveres through obstacles, and sees failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. By adopting a growth mindset, you will be more likely to make progress on your personal development journey.

A growth mindset is a more realistic way of appreciating your life and your stories. It gives you hope that one day you will become the person you want to be.

It helps you grow day by day.

It allows you to accept that you are not perfect, and perhaps you will never become perfect as long as you live.

But you will know that you can be 10x better than who you were 10 years ago.

In fact, 10 years ago, I would have told you that what you need is a positive mental attitude. In a way, I can tell you the same thing today, but not in the way I explained it to people 10 years ago.

People who choose a growth mindset learn from their failures. And we all have failures in life. No need to ignore or deny them.

Kapag Gusto…

My grandfather used to say, “Kapag gusto may paraan; kapag ayaw, maraming dahilan.” This is my earliest introduction to a growth mindset. Explore the difference between Growth and Fixed mindsets.

7. Network and Seek Mentors

Many Filipino professionals lament the fact that when it comes to getting the best jobs, “it is not what you know, but who you know.”

They think it is unfair to them.

That’s a mistake. People don’t know what you know if they don’t know you. We work with people we trust. And for people to trust you, you have to make yourself known to them.

More importantly, you must show that you can add value to their lives.

Build your network. Be a connector. Always be valuable to others. Make your thoughts visible by sharing your ideas with others.

Surround yourself with supportive people who can offer guidance, encouragement, and feedback. This can include friends, family, colleagues, or mentors.

When you build strong relationships, you will be better equipped to navigate your personal development journey.

8. Practice the Attitude of Gratitude

Regularly express gratitude for the positive aspects of your life. By focusing on what you are grateful for, you can maintain a positive outlook and increase your overall life satisfaction.

The Filipino word “salamat” has an Arabic origin which means peace and blessings.

When you have an attitude of gratitude, you see the blessings around you. You do not focus on what you do not have. Instead, you are grateful for what you have.

For whatever you have you can use. For whatever you have you can multiply. Because we can grow what is available. You will not feel lacking in many things for you have many things to multiply.

Amazing, right?

So, I encourage you to practice the attitude of gratitude.

9. Cultivate Resilience

Filipinos are known for their resiliency. That’s because we have always struggled as a nation. And we develop the ability to bounce back.

The kind of resiliency we need, however, is not bouncing back. We don’t have to be back where we were from. We need to bounce forward.

We must learn from our mistakes so we won’t commit the same mistakes again. But more importantly, we can improve the way we live.

Adapt and bounce back from adversity by developing coping strategies and focusing on problem-solving. Resilience is a key factor in personal development, as it enables you to overcome setbacks and continue to make progress.

communication skills

10. Improve Communication Skills

I believe that the most important soft skills are communication skills. Those who can communicate become better leaders. And those who aspire great leaders build themselves to become better communicators.

You can learn how to improve your communication via email. Most email communication is like playing ping pong, the same email keeps coming back. That’s because many professionals send messages as if they were on Twitter.

You may also become a better public speaker and presenter. You can join workshops, or perhaps join Toastmasters.

I observed that better communicators are conversationalists. I recommend that you study how to improve your ability to start and sustain conversations. If you can tell stories, then you’ll be able to build the ability to create many red threads.

Enhance your ability to effectively convey your thoughts and feelings to others and actively listen to their perspectives.

Strong communication skills will benefit you in all areas of your life, from personal relationships to professional success.

Public Speaking and Personal Development

Public speaking is a key skill in personal development. It involves effectively communicating your thoughts and ideas to an audience, which can boost your confidence and improve your ability to influence others.

By working on your public speaking skills, you can become more comfortable in various situations, which can lead to personal growth. This growth not only enhances your communication skills, but also improves self-confidence, leadership qualities, and critical thinking abilities.

Essentially, mastering public speaking can open doors for you both professionally and personally, making it a vital part of your overall personal development.

Learn more about public speaking.

11. Evaluate and Adjust Your Plan

One thing I like about SMARTER goals is that you can evaluate and adjust. Your goals are not laws that you need to implement. They are your initial thoughts on how you can make things happen.

The same is true when you turn your goals into plans. Your plan is how you imagine you will work on something. But our realities are often different to what we imagined.

Some people underestimate themselves. Most people overestimate their capacity. Your personal development plan is most likely to succeed when you embrace the idea that it is always beta.

Periodically assess your progress on your personal development journey and adjust your plan as needed. Stay on track and ensure your goals align with your values and priorities.

12. Celebrate Your Achievements

Recognize and celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small. Acknowledging your successes will build confidence and maintain motivation on your personal development journey.

I encourage you to embrace these 12 steps and embark on your personal development journey. 

Remember that personal growth is a continuous process requiring patience, dedication, and perseverance. 

As you follow these steps, you will gain new insights, unlock your potential, and achieve success in various aspects of your life.

Stay committed to the process, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you encounter setbacks or obstacles. Remember that every experience, both positive and negative, can teach you valuable lessons that will ultimately contribute to your growth.

As you progress, share your experiences and insights with others. You never know who you might inspire or help along their path of personal development. 

Just like Francis had a profound impact on my life, you, too, have the potential to make a difference in someone else’s life.

So, embrace your personal development journey with an open heart and mind. Believe in yourself and your ability to grow and succeed. You can create the life you desire and become the best version of yourself. Good luck on your journey!

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