How To Set Up A Personal Development Team

In 2020, COVID brings the world to a halt. At the time I was midway through my Sophomore year of college. Ambiguity crept into the corners of my life from reasons completely out of my control.

I was supposed to go study abroad in Europe that summer — Portugal, Spain, Slovenia, and Greece. I put off getting an internship because of it. When those plans went up in flames I scrambled to try and get anything I could to continue growing professionally.

It was no use. Each month the thought of the world returning to normal kept being delayed.

I decided instead, that I was going to spend the summer on my own personal development; reading book after book. Putting knowledge into action. When the world returned to normal, I would be a better in all aspects of my life.

This was a launchpad into my own personal development. During that time I read 43 books. Carefully contextualizing how I could apply them all to my own situation.

I learned something very important through this experience. Self-help books will lead you to an inevitable plateau.

A year and half after diving into personal development, I lost clarity on what the next domino I could knock down was— Eroom's law.

My own personal development grew into self-deception.

As a result, I experienced a decline in personal growth due to a false perception of honesty with myself. I didn’t learn this until I met my first mentor, who is now my leadership coach.

By pure luck our paths crossed. He told me to schedule 20 minutes to talk with him and in that time my life was changed.

For 20 minutes he spent the time stating who I was at my core — it was scary. At the end, he concluded with telling me that I needed to develop a better understanding of what it meant to listen. Without that I would always be self limiting.

In the last 3 years my personal development has looked something like this:

With each plateau, I added a new member to my personal development team.

Most people believe they can grow to their potential on their own — that’s a lie.

They deceive themselves just like I did for a while. No matter how busy you may be, you need to be managing your personal development team.

It’s work to find the right people to “hire” onto it, but this is what will separate you from the rest. Companies don’t just hire anyone to their board of advisors.

It’s intelligent in the selection process.

It is intentional based on the experiences of others.

It’s organized to balance out strengths and weaknesses.

Why would you not build a team in the same way for your personal development?

Athletes have a team of people around them that enable them to perform at the highest level.

Trainers. Nutritionist. Positional coaches. Head coaches. Assistant coaches.

Why is the work you’re doing for the world any different?

Come game time you’re not under the bright lights — your life’s really the ultimate game.

Have your team there to develop:

  • Perspectives
  • Polish off skills
  • Increase your momentum

Assembling your personal development team is like putting together the puzzle pieces of your life in this moment.

To start this process, outline the big areas where you’re actively engaged in learning and growing.

For me these are currently:

  • Leadership
  • Personal growth
  • Creative process
  • Product management
  • Twitter growth/writing

Under each make a list of all the people you currently know that have a deeper understanding than yourself in each domain. Some of them can be harder to identify than others. This is where you have to ration based on what their background and achievements are.

For each person ask yourself the following questions:

Will this person meet with me regularly? (At least once every 2 months)

Has this person created anything in that domain or demonstrated they can make critical judgments related to it?

What can I provide them in return? (Do not expect to get anyone’s time for free)

Any person that doesn’t have a solid answer to the above should be crossed off the list.

Identify every area that has a gap in which you don’t already have someone that you can enlist to your team — your mastermind. These are the places we need to start looking for people to fill.

Search the internet. Ask people who they know that’s a rockstar in those domains.

Do LinkedIn boolean searches.

Search Google and reach out to different blog writers.

Listen to podcasts on the topic and reach out to the guest.

The people that can massively accelerate your personal and professional development are out there. It requires the leg work to find them — well worth the upfront investment.

Offer them money in exchange for their time when making the initial connection. Most of them have probably never been offered $100 for an hour of their time. If you’re paying them, expect more out of the time.

Eventually, as the relationship develops they’ll often stop making you pay.

People want to be included in the success of others.

I asked one of my mentors why he gives me his time without me giving him anything in return and he said:

A mentor is someone that sees something in you most people don’t and a mentor will always give you the time because they want you to reach the heights they can see. You give something to your mentors every time you progress closer to your goals and grow.

Each time there’s a meeting with a member of your personal development team update them on your progress and learnings. Come with questions and scenarios you’re facing.

If you build the right team around you the problems you’re facing and personal development aspects hiding in the shadows will quickly disappear. Momentum builds very quickly. It’s like a domino effect.


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