My three big steps in achieving personal development: choosing a growth mindset, setting goals, and taking action. These three steps can help you accelerate your growth and turn an ordinary life into an extraordinary one. You can master these steps through self-learning, getting a coach or mentor, or training.
These are simple yet powerful steps.
Let’s talk about each one, so you can make it easy for your future self to live an awesome life.
From Ordinary to Extraordinary
We can all design the life we want. Ordinary people may create extraordinary lives when they consciously pursue personal development
Most of us begin in zero, in the comfort of our ordinariness. When we are zero, we follow the crowd. No one can see us in the sea of sameness.
But when you commit to moving from zero to one, you challenge the status quo.
You are claiming a new reality and a new future. At that very moment, you stop being ordinary. In the eyes of others, you become stupid, impractical, and unreasonable. You are biting more than you can chew.
I know. People laughed at me when I said I would study in high school.
Very few people believed that I could enter college. Even after three decades, my former classmates could not believe that I was no longer the same student they laughed at and bullied.
Most of them did not know how I became a student leader.
This is why many of them are surprised to see that I am now an “international speaker.” I don’t use that title, but that’s what they say upon learning that I’ve been invited to speak outside of the Philippines
I was not a self-made person.
There is no such a person. Everyone got help from someone else. And I got support from many people, some of whom I had never met.
I studied a lot. I devoured books on personal development, leadership, innovation, public speaking, and salesmanship. This helped me during my first year as a teacher.
Then, when I was teaching, I learned that I still had much to learn. My growth was steady, though slow.
Much of what I know now, I learned 20 years ago.
But I did not use them. It was not only because I procrastinated but because I needed to see the pattern. I had the tools but needed to learn how to use them.
My hockey stick growth happened during the quarantine years. It was during these years that I was able to see things. I saw what I was truly capable of doing.
And today, I will share with you the three big steps in personal development that helped me achieve my goals.
You can use these three steps to achieve your goals too.
I am on a mission to help ordinary people achieve the extraordinary. I want them to know there are easy and doable steps to create breakthroughs.
Let my breakthroughs be yours.
You can learn my three big steps in personal development:
- Choose a Growth Mindset
- Find Your 1000x Strategy
- Practice Disciplined Execution
1. Choose a Growth Mindset
A growth mindset is an approach to life in which an individual believes that intelligence, skills, and abilities can be developed through learning and experience.
We were informal settlers.
I grew up in an environment where everything was scarce. We were renting a small room, about 6 to 8 square meters. It was too small for the five of us.
So, most times, I would rather be outside playing with kids my age.
Unlike today, there was not much to entertain us.
My father had a small transistor radio but didn’t allow me to touch it. We had no TV, so we watched through our neighbors’ open windows.
When I was young, we looked up to maton and siga, the thugs and toughies in the neighborhood.
Young girls find jobs in brothels. The beautiful ones often end up as mistresses of local police officers.
A child who grew up in a squatter’s area is swimming in a poverty mentality. We need to find out the opportunities available to us. We don’t talk about talents, gifts, and potentialities.
We were always looking for money, enough to live for another day.
I started looking for opportunities to make money when I was nine. So much of what I know about selling and earning money, I learned by selling pandesal, candles, spices, newspapers, cigarettes, and whatever I could get through consignment.
Some of my playmates ended up pushing drugs. A neighbor turned his house into a gambling place where people can play pusoy dos until 4am. It was also there where they sold marijuana. Others had allowed homosexuals to touch them for a few coins.
Another playmate, who became a pickpocket, was salvaged. In the Philippines, a salvaged person is a suspect executed without a trial.
I was never involved in any illegal or immoral means of earning money. It may be because I was afraid.
Or because the lesson I learned from my Lolo Pedro stayed with me. He said God gives us what we need; we only need to ask.
Why am I telling you all those?
I want you to know that I had a poverty mindset. It is a fixed mindset. It was an excuse for not becoming great. It was an excuse for many people to stay in poverty from birth to death.
A poor person will find justifications for staying poor. That’s because it is not easy to accept that poverty is our fault. (And please don’t assume that it is our fault.)
Those with a fixed mindset have many excuses:
- Politicians steal money from the poor.
- There are no opportunities.
- Only intelligent people have the chance to become rich.
- But intelligent people who do not know anyone will not make it.
- We are not lucky enough.
- We are not handsome enough.
- We are not good enough.
These excuses are symptoms of a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset is a belief that some things are fixed and that whatever we are now is our destiny.
A poverty mindset is the default excuse for failure.
And even though I studied many great minds, the poverty mindset limited me.
I still have it. It is part of who I became. It will stay with me until I die.
But even if one had a poverty mindset for 50 years, it does not mean he is doomed to failure for the rest of his life.
It does not also mean that those born rich had no fixed mindset. Poverty or scarcity mindset comes in many forms.
Say goodbye to excuses. Silent your fixed mindset.
Choose a growth mindset.
Remember, the fixed mindset governed my life decisions for decades. Choosing a growth mindset over a fixed mindset is unlike flipping a switch.
Deliberately choose a growth mindset.
In 2006, I dreamt of becoming a motivational speaker. I thought I could earn 5,000 for every speaking engagement.
So I said I had to dream big. Well, being paid 5000 in a day was already thinking big for me.
But later, I realized I picked that figure because it was small and safe.
I did not believe someone would pay me more than 5000 pesos for a speech.
During those times, I followed the advice of David J. Schwartz, who wrote the Magic of Thinking Big.
I thought I was thinking big. But in reality, thinking big was the ceiling of my fixed mindset.
Years before, I read The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino. It was inspiring. It made me feel that I could increase my value a thousandfold.
But when it was time for me to commit myself to increase my value, I chose to play safe.
Was I able to get paid 5000 for speaking engagements after that?
No. My first speaking engagement was six months after quitting my day job. And it was free. I had to spend for my transportation to speak for free.
One day, my mentor, Vic, challenged me to charge 60,000 pesos for a two-day public speaking training.
It was surreal.
A big part of me said that it was a mistake. I wanted to protest and tell Vic it was impossible. The biggest I had charged for one-day training was 4500 pesos.
But I went to Vic for advice. He said I had to break the ceiling of my fixed mindset.
I closed the training contract for 60,000 pesos.
But I still kept playing safe.
After that, I continued to set my value at 5000 pesos. Why? Because I thought I just got lucky. I was afraid to fail. And because of that, I kept failing.
Choosing a growth mindset is a big decision.
And since I got tired of failing, I chose to do the unreasonable. I started charging 20,000 pesos per day. Then, I raised it to 25,000.
In 2011, I closed a deal of 375,000 pesos for five-day training. Then, six months later, I got paid 250,000 pesos for a three-hour speaking engagement.
The first big step to personal development is a change in mindset.
The poverty mentality presents itself as a safe option whenever I make a decision. I questioned myself. Even though I have delivered talks to thousands of people, I still doubt my capabilities.
I still have impostor syndrome. I still have the beliefs that I am not good enough.
But I also know that to make breakthroughs, I must do what makes me afraid. I have to do something which I have not done before. I have to choose growth.
My Lolo Pedro told me this, “Kapag gusto may paraan. Kapag ayaw maraming dahilan”.
When you are overthinking or giving many excuses, a fixed mindset wants you to play safe. It is the default mindset.
A growth mindset is a deliberate choice. Choose it no matter what.
One more thing. Those with a fixed mindset debate whether the glass is half-empty or half-full. You can fill the glass to the full. And you can refill it too.
2. Set Goals
I was in an MLM business orientation meeting. The speaker of the day was Mario, a very enthusiastic speaker. He told his stories to the crowd, most of whom did not know what the business was about. There were many products in front of us.
But he kept saying that we should work smart, not hard. He said the secret to success is not selling the products but leverage. By that, he meant that the secret to his success was recruiting people as downlines.
I knew what he was saying. As a result, I learned a little about leverage in my physics class. For example, who said that if you give him a lever long enough, he will lift the world?
But I was wondering what would be his fulcrum.
If you have tried multi-level marketing before, you know that some people become rich by recruiting others. But, unfortunately, I met many of them who told me there was no need to work hard.
But they don’t tell you that 98% of those who tried the business failed. That less than one percent earned millions because they worked harder, something they did not do when they were employed. They invested time and money, again something they could not give to their jobs. They changed themselves.
I was told that no one becomes rich by being an employee. But I met many executives, all wealthy employees.
I also know some people who are not earning enough though they call themselves business owners.
Those who worked harder and wiser eventually found leverage.
The Hedgehog Concept
Some years ago, I got hold of Jim Collin’s Good to Great book. I learned about the hedgehog concept. Simply put, if you want to become successful, you define the core value proposition.
If I were to apply that in personal development, we can ask ourselves these questions:
- What are you deeply passionate about?
- What can you be the best in the world at?
- What drives your economic engine?
I highlighted the last one because it has something to do with my 1000x strategy.
I am passionate about inspiring and equipping people. I looked at my life and saw myself doing these with passion, even as a student. I saw it when I was a seminarian, activist, and teacher. I am passionate about making a difference in the lives of people. I want to uplift people’s lives using my talents and skills.
I can motivate people through speaking. I am a strategic thinker. I sell, and I market goods and ideas. I am a problem solver.
I always knew all these. But I was not aware of my economic engine. I was unaware I could follow my passion, use my talents, and make a more significant impact. I need an economic engine.
I can be a professional street activist, teacher, pastor, politician, trainer, speaker, author, or entrepreneur. All of these can help me do what I love to do. Each is a lever. But some levers are longer and more potent than others.
I realized that I could follow my passion and become the best in the world at providing practical education to leaders — and I can do all these as an entrepreneur. And as an entrepreneur, I need to find my 1000x strategy.
What is 1000x strategy?
A 1000x strategy is a think big plan of action. This means that while doing my work (to earn a living), I look for ways to help me multiply my results a thousand times for less time and effort. It does not matter how much money I have or how extensive my network is. I need to find a strategy to help me reach my desired clients in less time and effort.
For example, there are many things I can do to reach more people and earn more money as a speaker. Let me give you some examples.
- Speak for free (I have done this a hundred times)
- Host live webinars for free
- Upload videos on youtube
- Publish articles and blogs (you are reading it now)
- Join associations and be an officer
- Establish associations and be the founder
- Write a book
- Write lots of books
- Send marketing materials to prospective clients
- Create assets
- Create a marketing engine
- Build an ecosystem of value
If I want to spend more time, I can probably list 100 possible ways. If I study books on tactics, I can make it to a thousand. Maybe, I can be a guerilla marketer too.
A hedgehog, according to Jim Collins, does one thing great. And this is why I am looking for that one thing that can produce 10, or 100, or 1000 times than what most people do.
I am experimenting with my 1000x strategy. It is a work in progress.
You can do the same for your personal development.
The example I have shared with you targets my financial goals. Though it is a business objective, it is also personal. So you bet I have a financial PDP (personal development plan).
But note that it is very much related to all other areas of my life: relational well-being, physical wellness, emotional health, spiritual wellness, and intellectual well-being.
When looking for a 1000x strategy, it is essential to consider improvements in other areas of your life. Like the organs of our body, we cannot simply take care of one and ignore the others.
3. Take Action
My three big steps in achieving personal development are changes in mindset, strategy, and execution. I hope the discussions on mindset and strategy demonstrated the importance of starting it right.
I will talk about execution next. But before that, note that the change in mindset helps us think and play big. This is why we are not afraid to set big goals. Let’s talk about taking action.
I used 4DX (Four Disciplines of Execution) in crafting a personal development plan. Though often used in building a business, you can use 4DX in action planning for personal excellence. That’s because it bridges and makes the most significant strategy easy to execute.
Disciplined execution is 10x better than the typical SMART Goal Setting. The so-called SMART Goal Setting does not inspire action and accountability.
You can go to Personal Development Plan to appreciate the process. I also gave examples that may inspire your development planning.
I will give you a quick summary.
Let us use the acronym FLEA
Goals refer to your desired results. It is the end-point, the destination. Or, in the case of personal development, the transformation you desire in your life.
In the book Good to Great, I learned about the Big Hairy Audacious Goal. It is your life goal. Your goal can be a BHAG.
In 4DX, the goal is your Wildly Important Goal (WIG). You are not necessarily looking for the biggest goal. It can be a goal that, when accomplished, will make other goals, even the BHAGs, easier to do.
Somehow the concept of WIG is related to ONE THING. The book taught me that to make the most significant impact, I need to look for the one thing that, when accomplished, will make all the other goals easy or even unnecessary.
It is the book One Thing which made me appreciate 4DX even more.
Focus on one personal development goal that will make the most significant impact in your life. Find that one goal that will improve your financial, spiritual, social, intellectual, emotional, and physical well-being.
Each is so related to the other that a change in one area may change others. An improvement in one may help improve the rest. But it is not always the case. For example, an option to make more money may sacrifice your time for family, health, and spiritual well-being.
When you focus on one goal, you are exploring options. You are playing, and you want to win.
If you are earning a minimum wage today, how long do you think having a million pesos in your bank account will take?
Many people won’t even have a chance to have six-figure savings because they live from paycheck to paycheck. Yet, some people spend millions on luxury bags and shoes.
We will always get the same results unless we change how we do things. What brings results are the actions we take.
The 80/20 Principle explains that 20 percent of our actions bring 80 percent of the results. And since 80/20 is fractal, it also means that 4 percent of what we do gets 64 percent of the results.
That’s mind-blowing, I know.
But let that sink for a while.
Not all things we do are equal. However, there are very few things that may multiply our results when we do them again and again.
We can work eight hours for a job that will give us 1000 pesos daily. Or we can work on a business that will provide us with 5000 pesos each hour.
It is different from working smart in the MLM industry. They often say you can live on your passive income by inviting your friends to the business and that it does not take hard work. That’s a lie. Those who succeed in the MLM industry do what others are not doing, the vital few actions. And yes, they work harder than anyone else.
To me, disciplined execution is about playing big. So I looked for the vital few actions that would have the biggest impact.
I chose to be a business owner because it was once my goal. Every quarter, I looked for new goals to accomplish. For each new goal, I identify three actions.
Of course, I still do other things. But the three actions are non-negotiable. These are actions I ought to do no matter what.
This is about ensuring that I keep doing what I must do. I am building momentum. And one effective way is to keep a scoreboard.
I record how many times I do the vital actions.
I record the initial results that I have.
I record my milestones.
And I keep them visual.
You will find examples in Personal Development Plan.
When I took ownership of my personal development, I saw significant change. This is my life, and I am responsible for what will happen to me.
Circumstances will change. People will change. The environment may not always be friendly. But it is I who decide how I will play the game.
My life is my game.
Every week, I learned how to review my progress. It takes less than 15 minutes to do this with a group.
Though I can see my progress through my scorecard, and somehow I know what to do next because of the scorecard, the time to meet with myself is an opportunity also to evaluate my actions.
I learned that vital actions are not always obvious. But they somehow appear when you are already playing your games and learning from experiences.
Because of accountability meetings, I see many growth opportunities.
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.
Do the Three Big Steps
I invite you to take the three big steps to achieve personal development. I encourage you to do it with others too. Share these ideas with your friends and co-workers. Use your own words. You will learn faster when you teach these to others.
Once again, here are the three big steps.
- Choose a Growth Mindset
- Find Your 1000x Strategy
- Practice Disciplined Execution
Personal Development Articles
Here are articles you can read to get started in personal development. But before you do, write your three personal development questions. Because when you start reading with questions in mind, you may find answers.