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. Success, especially 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. This is 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, which are currently available through MindValley.
I created the first draft of my LifeBook by doing LifeBook Online. Keeping that program got me the next program, LifeBook Mastery, for free. The first program is about creating the vision for what you want your life to be, and the second program is about creating the plan for achieving the vision.
I recommend both programs, and I mention them since I want to give credit for where I got some of the ideas for what to write here. Also, they are both valuable resources.
The top people in the world — or at least the top people in the world 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 really 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; Character; Spiritual Life; Romantic Relationship; Parenting; Social Life; Financial Life; Career; 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 of these categories in mind, think of what you want your life to be like in each of those areas. This will take up approximately 2 pages.
It’s enough to do a simple first draft for your Life Vision. Just get it out of your head. Write it or type it. And use 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, about what you need in life. 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 next three steps.
Once you’ve got your vision written out, you’re ready to move on.
Creating Your Personal Learning Plan Template
Next, think of what you’d have to learn so that you can make your vision for each of those categories a reality. This is where you get to create your Personal Learning Plan Template.
If the sheer amount of what you have to learn to make your vision a reality seems too overwhelming, then step back and take a breath.
Inhale as you count to 5 in your mind. Now, exhale as you count to 5 in your mind. Repeat as necessary until you’re calm enough to continue.
Good. Here’s a secret. A pleasant one.
You don’t have to transform all areas of your life all at once.
All areas of your life are connected. Each one affects all the others. For the moment, just so you can get started, pick 3 – 5 of the categories that 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 single category. The nice thing is that while you’re applying your self-discipline to any of the other categories, you’re also improving your Character.
If you’re like me and you’re child-free by choice for your entire life, then you can simply respect children and apply lessons that 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 a safer place for children. Maybe you’re aware of the unimaginable horrors that many millions of children face every single year all over the world. Once you know what they experience, it’s impossible to forget. What I went through 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 every day, even for a few minutes, then you’re working on multiple categories at the same time.
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, then it might be that you’re meditating.
Something that I do every morning is that I write out my Heart’s Desire List. I’ve made it so it’s a quick summary of my Life Vision. I distilled my Life Vision from 2 pages down to 1 side of a 3″ x 5″ index card. After I’ve written that out, I write at least 3 things that I’m grateful for on the other side of the index card. Doing this every day has helped me to see that it’s possible as well as inevitable that I make my vision a reality. I’m replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts.
Hopefully with these examples, you can see that it doesn’t have to be overwhelming to achieve your vision. You simply 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. In the mornings on Monday through Friday, he did meditation, devotion, and exercise. 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 on Sunday, he rested.
In Keith’s case, he chose the topic of confidence, and he chose to be a coach, consultant, and leader. That’s why he reads books about confidence, coaching, consulting, and leadership.
What do you want to learn that will help you the most and that will help 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 3 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.” Honestly, simply reading the book helps increase confidence. Of course, it helps even more to apply exercises from the book, too. And I’ve done that as well.
“When I speak on personal growth in my seminars, I ask people, “How many of you have a detailed reading plan on how you are going to grow mentally in the next year?” I have yet to find a crowd where more than 1 percent raised their hands.” – Keith Johnson
I first read that quote 3 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 or learning to pilot 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.
Once you’ve done that, report back here for further instructions…
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.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the many different methods that are 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, 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 find many newer e-books that are available elsewhere for free. Sometimes, you’ll have to provide your e-mail address to get access to 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 3 weeks.
I typically prefer reading over other forms of learning. I can read faster than people can speak. Although there are an increasing number of audios and videos where you can speed things up by 1.5x and by 2x so that you can absorb the information in less time.
You might prefer to 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 think all these forms of learning are great. I’ve used all of them. The Internet especially has helped to make so much more knowledge available for free or for very low prices.
I’m applying my Personal Learning Plan. Part of that is to learn what interests me and to keep applying the lessons that help me in creating this website.
Go ahead and get applying your Personal Learning Plan. 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, you’ll find that your vision will change over time. That will affect everything else. You’ll have to adjust your plan and the actions that you’re taking to apply your plan and achieve your vision.
So, every now and then, perhaps once a month or once a year or whatever other period of time you feel is best, you get to measure your progress. See how you’re doing and make any necessary adjustments. These might be small adjustments or they might be large adjustments. Whatever size they are, they do have to be made.
This is your quality of life we’re talking about here. 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 have to ask yourself, “Is this my life or theirs?” They get the chance to make their own lives how they want them to be, and you get the chance to make your life how you want it to be. These are not mutually exclusive.
If it looks scary to make the necessary changes to learn what’s best for you, here’s some comfort.
What looks like the worst thing that can happen to you can turn out to 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 the realization of my responsibility in the matter, I found something more. 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, your Why. Create your personal learning plan. Apply your personal learning plan. Measure your progress and adjust as necessary. Repeat these steps for all the rest of your life.
That’s it. Now get to it. These are all achievable steps, and you’re worth the effort.
As always, 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,