Is Personal Development a Skill — and Do I Have It?

Some people are exceptionally skilled at becoming incredible humans. They’re always reaching new levels of awesomeness, leaving you wondering whether they possess innate personal development skills that you simply don’t have. You may ask yourself, “Is it because personal development is a skill or talent I wasn’t given?” If that’s the case, you might feel like just giving up. Fortunately, there’s much more to personal development as a skill than being something you either have or don’t have.

Personal development is, in many ways, a skill that you can cultivate. By learning how to grow and change effectively, you can move toward becoming the person you want to be. The more you work on it, the better you’ll get at achieving personal development success in your life.

Do you still have questions about whether personal development is a skill? I don’t blame you. Let’s look at personal development skills from a few different angles. We’ll explore how this could be considered a skill. We’ll also talk about ways to strengthen and apply this skill in your own life.

Is Personal Development a Skill That Only Some People Have?

“Maybe she’s born with it…” That might be your suspicion when it comes to personal development skills. As in, you’ve either got what it takes to go after personal development, or you don’t. And if you weren’t born with the ability, you’re just out of luck.

Nope, it’s time to turn that line of thinking around. Personal development is not an inborn talent. It is a skill that anyone can pursue. If you want to grow as a person, you can choose to do so.

Personal development is a collection of practical character traits and experiences that grow over time. You can develop anything essential to your personality and keep doing so your whole life.

Does Growing Your Personal Development Skills Happen Automatically?

Since anyone can put personal development skills into practice, it might seem only natural that they will do so. Not so fast. Just because you have the potential to do something, that doesn’t mean you’re gonna do so. As with any skill, there’s a learning process involved.

Think about walking; that’s a skill. Nearly everyone is born with the potential to walk. It doesn’t happen right away, though. First, babies learn to pull up. Then, they figure out how to stand independently. The first wobbly steps come after that. With lots of practice, little ones finally become steady on their feet and blossom into full-fledged walkers.

So if you’re just starting out on your personal development journey, you could think of yourself as a toddler learning the basics. Perhaps you don’t have it all together just yet, but that doesn’t mean you will never get there. The more you invest in growing your personal development skills, the better you’ll get at it.

One thing to note is that babies don’t make a conscious choice to learn how to walk. Or at least not in the sense that we usually mean. It’s a process that starts to unfold naturally as they explore and interact with their world.

Don’t carry this walking analogy too far and assume that the same thing will happen with your personal development skills. Sure, you may surprise yourself with personal growth here and there at times, even if you weren’t trying. But getting serious about growing your unique abilities calls for a deliberate choice to commit yourself to the process.

Is Personal Development a Skill That You Can Enhance?

Absolutely, you can grow your personal development skills!

I know that just from looking at my own life. I didn’t start as a guy writing articles on personal development. Instead, there was a time when I was a guy simply relearning how to walk and talk properly. After an accident that damaged my skull and my brain, that’s where my life was at.

Not only that, but I also had to figure out how to relate to people once again. My social skills had taken a severe hit. I could either apply myself to learning and growing in this area, or I could spend the rest of my life isolated and depressed.

One day, I finally made the choice to get better. I read books, I attended seminars, and I did whatever it took to change and grow. In the process, I started learning what was involved in achieving personal development. And, of course, I didn’t stop there; I’ve kept learning and growing ever since.

Looking back, I can clearly see how my personal development skills have deepened over time. I’ve explored the concept and invested effort into boosting my abilities.

In doing so, I haven’t just accumulated a whole host of flashy skills to show off. No, I’ve put those skills into practice to become the me that I want to be.

That’s the thing about personal development skills; when you have them, you use them. And in doing so, you bring yourself closer to the person you want to be.

One more way that I know I’ve grown in this area is that I now have strategies for helping others do the same. That’s what my work as a coach is all about; I help people build up their personal development toolkits so that they can build businesses that work for them. The stronger their skills are, the more they can grow toward becoming their true, authentic selves.

How Can You Grow Your Personal Development Skills?

Wanting to get better at personal development is the first step. It certainly can’t be the only step. This isn’t a situation where you just cross your fingers and hope things go your way.

Rather, you’ll want to put some work into it. Like pretty much any skill, you sharpen your abilities through practice and commitment.

What does that entail? There are plenty of options, and you’ll have to find the ones that work best for you. But some of the many ideas include:

You’ll want learning to set effective personal development goals to be a key part of your plan. Remember, the best personal development goals are actionable. They don’t depend on outside circumstances. Rather, you get to be in charge of whether they come to fruition.

If you need more help with writing personal development goals, make sure to check out my article on the topic. You’ll learn more about what personal development goals are and start brainstorming the ones that you’d like to set.

Is Personal Development a Skill to List On Your Resume?

Most job applicants probably don’t include personal development on their resumes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. Perhaps you’re quite pleased with how you’ve committed to personal development and proud of the growth you’ve experienced as a result. If so, that might be something you’d like to highlight for potential employers.

In fact, doing so may catch some hiring committees’ eyes. Maybe they’ll be intrigued to see a skill that’s different from the same old same old that’s listed on every other resume. Their first reaction might be “Oh, good, this person likes to improve!”

Of course, if you opt to go this route, be prepared to explain what you mean. You’ll want to have specific examples at the ready in case you’re asked to elaborate during an interview.

For instance, a hiring team might want to know:

  • How do you define personal development?
  • What examples of personal development in your own life can you share?
  • What personal development books have you read lately?
  • How do you measure your effectiveness with personal development?

It’s possible you’ll choose to include this on your resume on a case-by-case basis. You might check out the company culture first. If you get the vibe that the organization will value your personal development efforts, then go for it.

In your life, there are probably going to be some people who value your personal development abilities and others who don’t. That’s fine; it’s not your job to convince everyone that your personal growth is worthwhile.

Your role is to focus on yourself and your own evolution. Cultivating your personal development skills would be a great place to begin. Maybe today you’ll start by picking up a new book (if you haven’t read Jen Sincero’s book You Are a Badass, I’d highly recommend it as an all-purpose personal development book), exploring the practice of meditation, or taking a thoughtful walk.

If you want to get better at personal development, you can. It’s a skill that anyone can cultivate through focused attention and an eager desire to learn and grow.
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