Happy Today!

When I decided it was time to lose my pregnancy weight, I put together a workout bag which included tools which would help me to get in the workout mindset.  Things I included were pretty common:

  • Workout clothes
  • Sneakers
  • Swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Hygiene bag
  • Backup clothes
  • Pedometer
  • Water bottle
  • Towel

I kept this bag in my car which removed obstacles for me taking a break during the day or after work to get to the gym.  The days I had my bag, I found time to work out even if it was walking around the park.  Then when I decided to train for 5Ks I again put together a workout bag and I looked for opportunities to spend my free time walking.  Walking was necessary for my training and I had to commit to it.

“The time is now. Stop hitting the snooze button on your life.” – Mel Robbins

When I decided a few years ago to take my personal development seriously, I took the time to make a toolkit for that as well.  Yes, I made a toolkit.

What is a toolkit?

I define a toolkit as a compilation of tools.  Dictionary.com defines toolkit as a collection of tools or other useful equipment; a collection of expert skills, knowledge or information for a particular activity.

Why a toolkit?

A toolkit removes provides the user with a set of tools, resources and supports which help to accomplish given tasks.  A user can start with a basic kit or be customized for specific purposes. For the sake of this conversation, let’s consider a novice handyman’s toolkit.  It contains basic tools like hammer, screwdriver, wrench, nails, screws, etc.  A basic kit can be purchased from your local hardware store.  But a contractor’s toolkit is more advanced and it is customized to the job he is doing and/or plans to do.

You need a personal development toolkit

Personal development is self-improvement

Personal development is self-improvement.  In order to improve you must have a desired area of life you want to improve in.  Once you identify that area, creating a toolkit becomes a little easier.

Basic Personal Development Toolkit

The global pandemic was a reminder to everyone of the need to make some changes in their life.  If you think back a few months or a year ago this time, you will likely remember a few things you wanted to learn or do differently while you were confined at home.  A basic toolkit allows you to start on that journey and you likely have these tools in your possession.

  • Library Card
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Journal
  • Vision board
  • Internet Access
  • Personal Development Plan

I said this list was basic and it is as basic as it comes.  Now let’s consider why these are tools you need.

  1. Library Card – The library gives you access to books, ebooks, audiobooks, events & classes, reference materials and opportunities to meet with people of like minds.   My local library offers book clubs, crochet clubs, genealogy clubs in addition to resume writing and information on grant funding.  It costs $0 to obtain a library card and $0 to borrow their resources.
  2. Phone – A smartphone would be preferable as it allows the user access to the internet and email.  But a basic phone will also allow you to call and be called.  If you put a book on reserve, you can leave your number and the librarian will call you when its time to pick it up.  If you register for trainings, sometimes you can request to receive a text or phone reminder.  There are also websites which require a two factor authentication and selecting call me or text me is often a more desirable option when computer access is limited.
  3. Email – Let’s face it email as replaced your home address these days.  It is the primary form of communication for job sites, meetups, eventbrite and enrollment in online coursework.  There are often free classes which you can enroll in to improve your curiosity, skillset and mindset.  Not to mention the opportunities to subscribe to email lists.  One of my favorites is Marie Forleo’s toolkit to Start Your Dream Business With No Money.
  4. Journals – There are a variety of ways to use a journal but the best known method is likely Dear Diary.  I haven’t used my journal for Dear Diary but I do use it as my own personal cheerleader which is a tool for encouraging and inspiring myself.  You want a journal which is portable and they come in a variety of sizes to include paper & digital. But it doesn’t need to be anything special, it can be a notepad you pick up for free at a conference, back to school giveaway or networking event.  You want to chronicle your improvement journey.  The journal can include your goals, objectives, activities, fears or complaints.
  5. Vision Board – This is a life forecasting tool.  It can be filled with pictures or descriptions of what you want in your future.  I have a mind map in my journal which refers me back to my framed vision board.  It’s preferable that your vision board is located in a common area so you won’t lose sight of what you are working towards. Remember this is supposed to be a life tool not an artistic endeavor.  Don’t get all caught up in making it Instagram ready that you lose sight of its purpose.  Now I am not an expert in this area but I like the way Steve Harvey explains this concept.
  6. Internet Access – There is nothing you can’t achieve with access to the internet.  You can take free classes through Coursera, Harvard University, and Stanford Online. When I entered management, I had a supervisor who told me to never doubt myself.  According to her, if no one else could help me –  the internet can.  I once listened to a TedTalk by Constance Carter which illustrates the benefit of the internet.  Which by the way, internet access is great for listening to TedxTalks and podcasts.
  7. Personal Development Plan – None of these tools will do anything for you if you don’t have a plan.  It should include goals with timelines.  Be as specific as possible, add a target date and find someone you trust to hold you accountable.  The combination of the three elements help you choose your tools.

This is as basic a toolkit as they come but this list should be personalized.  Take a little time this week and identify which tools you need to help you achieve the goals on your personal development plan.  You can choose to add tools as you proceed through your journey.  Remember this is an ongoing process.

Til next time,

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” –Les Brown

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