Dear Lifelong Learner,
You are too important to leave your growth to chance. The sooner you accept that and do something about it, the better off you’ll be. Sustained and lasting success requires a plan. A plan that you’ll apply and adjust as necessary. As with many other things in life, it helps to have a template to follow. In this case, it will be your Personal Learning Plan Template, your path for intentional growth.
Defining Your Vision – Your Purpose for Learning
This step and the three that follow all come from the LifeBook Online Program and the LifeBook Mastery Program. Both programs are by Jon Butcher and Missy Butcher, and are currently available through MindValley.
I created the first draft of my LifeBook by doing LifeBook Online. Keeping that program got me the following program, LifeBook Mastery, for free. The first program is about creating a vision for what you want your life to be, and the second is about creating a plan for achieving that vision.
I recommend both programs and mention them to give credit for where I got some ideas for what to write here. Also, they are both valuable resources.
People who are worth emulating have a definite vision for their lives and a plan for achieving that vision. They follow the four steps outlined here (Vision, Plan, Apply, and Adjust).
Now it’s your turn. What’s your vision?
Why do you want to learn, and what do you want to learn?
Get clear on that. Make a list. Check it twice. Or more.
To use the example of the LifeBook programs, there are 13 categories in life:
- Health and Fitness;
- Intellectual Life;
- Emotional Life;
- Spiritual Life;
- Romantic Relationship;
- Social Life;
- Financial Life;
- Quality of Life;
- Life Vision; and
- Sex Life.
The Life Vision category is a summary of your vision for all the other categories.
With each category in mind, think of what you want your life to be like in each area. This will take up approximately two pages.
It’s enough to do a simple first draft for your Life Vision. Just get it out of your head. Write or type it. And use the present tense. Show yourself that you’ve already achieved your vision rather than projecting it into a future that never arrives.
As long as it’s in written form, you’ve shown yourself that you’re taking things seriously. You matter. Your growth is real. You’re intentional about your growth and what you need. Your vision doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be better. Better, in this case, refers to having it in writing and not only in your head.
Your vision is a work in progress. You’ll update it as you go through life and as you continually go through the following three steps.
You’re ready to move on once your vision is written out.
Creating Your Personal Learning Plan Template
Next, consider what you’d have to learn to make your vision for each category a reality. This is where you get to create your Personal Learning Plan Template.
If the sheer amount of what you must learn to make your vision a reality seems too overwhelming, then here’s a secret — a pleasant one.
You don’t have to transform all areas of your life simultaneously.
All areas of your life are connected. Each one affects all the others. For now, pick 3 – 5 categories you will focus on.
For example, for Character, you can focus on increasing your self-discipline. Increasing your self-discipline is THE key to achieving your vision in every category. While you’re applying your self-discipline to any other category, you’re also improving your Character.
If you’re like me and are child-free by choice, then you can respect children and apply lessons you learn from them, such as unconditional love, playfulness, and being happy for no reason. That can take care of the Parenting category.
Or you might dedicate your life to making the world safer for children. Maybe you’re aware of the unimaginable horrors many millions of children face yearly. Once you know what they experience, it’s impossible to forget. What I experienced is extremely mild in comparison. There is hope for the children, but only if enough of us rise up to protect them. Will you be one of their protectors?
Another example is meditation. Meditation is a part of multiple categories, such as Health and Fitness, Emotional Life, Spiritual Life, and Quality of Life. So, if you meditate daily, even for a few minutes, you’re working on multiple categories simultaneously.
Meditation can take on multiple forms as well. There are active types of meditation, including walking, writing, and singing. If you’re relaxed and an activity helps you focus, you might be meditating.
Every morning, I write out my Heart’s Desire List. I’ve made it a quick summary of my Life Vision. I distilled my Life Vision from 2 pages to 1 side of a 3″ x 5″ index card. After I’ve written that out, I write at least three things I’m grateful for on the other side of the index card. Doing this every day has helped me see that it’s possible and inevitable to make my vision a reality. I’m replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts.
Achieving your vision can be manageable. You handle whatever you can and take things one step at a time.
In “The Confidence Solution: Reinvent Your Life, Explode Your Business, Skyrocket Your Income,” Keith Johnson shares his personal learning plan. He did meditation, devotion, and exercise on Monday through Friday mornings. On Monday and Tuesday evenings, he read a book about confidence. On Wednesday evening, he read a book about coaching. On Thursday evening, Keith read a book about consulting. On Friday evening, he read a book about leadership. On Saturday morning, he listened to a CD by one of his mentors. On Saturday evening and Sunday, he rested.
In Keith’s case, he chose the topic of confidence and being a coach, consultant, and leader. He reads books about confidence, coaching, consulting, and leadership.
What do you want to learn that will help you and others the most? You can use Keith’s personal learning plan as a template to help you create your own.
I saw Keith Johnson give a speech three years ago at the Get Motivated Business Seminar. I enjoyed his speech so much that I knew I had to read one of his books. I chose “The Confidence Solution.” Simply reading the book helped increase my confidence. Naturally, it helps even more to apply exercises from the book. And I’ve done that, too.
“When I speak on personal growth in my seminars, I ask people, “How many of you have a detailed reading plan on how you (will) grow mentally in the next year?” I have yet to find a crowd where more than 1% raised their hands.” – Keith Johnson
I first read that quote three years ago, and the importance of a Personal Learning Plan has stuck with me ever since.
Brendon Burchard has recommended learning one new skill every month, and it doesn’t have to only be skills for business. It can be skills like learning to play a musical instrument, piloting an aircraft, or learning to dance.
You came so that you might have life and have it more abundantly. Now go and create your Personal Learning Plan Template.
Applying Your Personal Learning Plan
You wrote out your vision for your life. You created your Personal Learning Plan to address what you need to learn to make your vision a reality. Now you get to apply your Personal Learning Plan.
There are so many different methods available for learning, such as books (both physical and digital), audios, videos, seminars, programs, courses, lessons, etc.
For books, if you prefer digital like I do, it’s easier than ever to build up an extensive library, one that you can take with you everywhere you go. I have thousands of books, probably many more than I’ll ever read. I got quite a few of them for free, and you can, too.
You can go to www.Archive.org and download books for free that are in the public domain. There are many file types available there. You can also borrow digital books for an hour at a time on that same website.
You can find many newer e-books that are available elsewhere for free. Sometimes, you must provide your e-mail address to access the e-books. Other times, no sign-up is required.
You can borrow e-books from libraries as well. My closest libraries let me borrow books for three weeks.
I typically prefer reading over other forms of learning. I can read faster than people can speak. However, there are an increasing number of audios and videos where you can speed things up by 1.25x, 1.5x, 1.75x, and 2x to absorb the information in less time.
You might prefer to read or watch videos of book summaries rather than reading entire books. Depending on the quality of the book summaries, you might be learning the best information from those books in as little as 20 minutes or less per book.
I’ve used all these forms of learning. The Internet especially has helped to make so much more knowledge available for free or at very low prices.
I’m applying my Personal Learning Plan, and I invite you to apply yours. Your life depends on it.
Remember to rest sometimes, too.
“… Much study wearies the body.” – Ecclesiastes 12:12
Measuring Your Progress and Adjusting as Necessary
As you progress on your path of lifelong learning, your vision might change over time. That will affect everything else. You’ll have to adjust your plan and the actions you’re taking to apply your plan and achieve your vision.
So, once a month, once a year, or whatever other period of time you feel is best, you measure your progress. See how you’re doing and make any necessary adjustments. These might be minor or significant adjustments. Whatever size they are, they do have to be made.
If you’re not learning what’s best for you, then it’s time to make a change to learn what is best for you. Sometimes that will be painful. Sometimes that will go against what others want you to be learning. You must ask yourself, “Is this my life or theirs?” They can make their own lives how they want them to be, and you can make your life how you want it to be. These are not mutually exclusive.
If making the necessary changes to learn what’s best for you looks scary, here’s some comfort.
What looks like the worst thing that can happen to you can be the best thing that could have happened. I’ve experienced that multiple times. I’ve discovered strength within myself that I didn’t know I had. Past the heartbreak and realizing my responsibility, I found new beginnings and fresh starts. I found more to life than what I had thought was possible.
Sometimes making adjustments is quite pleasurable. Life isn’t one note. It’s a whole symphony of sounds and sensations. Explore the music of life.
Write your vision, your purpose for learning, and your Why. Create your personal learning plan. Apply your personal learning plan. Measure your progress and adjust as necessary. Repeat these steps for the rest of your life. These are all achievable steps, and you’re worth the effort.
Remember that you’re greater than you think, stronger than you know, and more powerful than you realize.
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Until next time,