Personal Development Tools
There are a ton of valuable personal development tools that have come from the collective minds of philosophers, psychologists, business gurus, spiritual gurus and personal time management experts. There is also a ton of crap out there. We have spent a lot of our time sifting through the crap to select the tools that have had a real, positive impact on our lives.
We happily acknowledge that not every tool is going to work the same for every person. That’s what makes this so much fun. Put a golf club in Jennifer Lawrence’s hands and she’s not going to create the same magic she’s able to create in front of a camera. Hand that same club to someone like Tiger Woods or Annika Sorenstam though… You get the idea. We will use some baseline tools to define the overall tool set that will best assist you in building out your personal development plan.
Let’s start with defining the baseline tools.
Myers-Briggs Personality Test
This has become the granddaddy of all personality tests. We use the Myers Briggs in our first Know Thyself step. 16 personalities has the easiest access to the test and they do an excellent job explaining the different types. The Meyers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) sets the stage for introspection and is a good first step in your personal development plan. You can check out our experience here in using MBTI and SWLS.
Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS)
The satisfaction with Life Scale is more of an index than a tool. This is very similar to a net promoter score but instead of satisfaction with a product, the SWLS gives you an index of your satisfaction with your life. This works well for some and not so great for others. It is a super fast evaluation and that alone makes it worthwhile for most. SWLS was developed by Ed Diener, Robert A. Emmons, Randy J. Larsen and Sharon Griffin as noted in the 1985 article in the Journal of Personality Assessment. Check this out for a deeper study of the SWLS.
Character Strengths and Virtues (CSV)
The Character Strengths and Virtues tool set is pulled directly from the theories of positive psychology. We use these tools to identify the strengths that most strongly define us. This should not be confused with core values. While your Character Strengths and Virtues are a key component of your core values, they are not the only variable that makes up our fundamental beliefs of who we are. CSV helps us uncover what those fundamental beliefs are. You can find an example and a deeper understanding of CSV in our blog.
The Five Love Languages
The 5 Love Languages provides a tool that allows us to understand how we want to receive love. When we understand how we want to receive love, we can also understand how our partners wish to receive love. Conflict in relationships can occur in those areas where these love goals do not align. Understanding how those goals do not align leads to much great communication in a forum that is beneficial to looking for answers. This tool is certainly not going to solve all of your relationship problems but it will certainly give you a different perspective on why friction arises between you and your partner. Here are some of our experiments with the tool.
Balanced scorecard is the methodology that we use to take you from knowing yourself to a true personal improvement plan. Balanced Scorecard is typically a tool that is used in business to provide a framework to execute on a company’s vision and strategy. The scorecard is a way to fill in all of the gaps to take you from abstract, big picture goals all the way down to tactical, actionable goals to execute on the strategy.
We utilize this idea to build you personal development plan. We use the tools listed above to help you define your personal vision. Once we have a personal vision we use the methodologies of balanced scorecard to build out the SMART goals that will make up your scorecard. This scorecard becomes the primary tool that guides you to a better you.
SMART is an acronym that allows us to set goals that actually matter. Different people use different words for the acronym. Here is how we define it:
- S – Specific. We can’t boil the ocean and expect results. SMART goals are specific.
- M – Measurable. What we measure improves.
- A – Attainable. We can stretch, but we are only interested in goals that are possible.
- R – Relevant. The goal needs to be relevant to your personal vision and plan.
- T – Time-bound. Goals need to be accomplished by a certain time.
We utilize setting SMART goals when building out our scorecard.
WOOP is an acronym for Wish-Objective-Obstacle-Plan. This is a great tool for setting short term goals that was developed by psychologist Gabriele Oettingen. WOOP is a form of mental contrasting that allows us to avoid some of the laziness that sometimes settles in from spending too much time on positive-future visualization. We did a full blog post on WOOP, read more about it here.
We will continue to add tools to this page as we integrate them into the product. In the meantime, please check our blog for progress.