Lessons Learned for Continuous Personal Development

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

It is difficult for me to wrap my head around the notion that I have been knocking around the business world for over 40 years. What is interesting to me as I take a long look back is that early on in my career, I made a conscious commitment to continuously develop myself personally and professionally.

Believe it or not, the easiest part of that development was on the professional side. Formal education, continuing education requirements to maintain my credentials and such kept the learning discipline alive. But the personal development side was much more challenging as it required a process of continuous reflection and introspection—growing the ability to be critical of my own actions, interactions and performances in a way that allowed me to benefit from both mistakes and successes.

One thing I can say with certainty is that every day presents each of us with an opportunity to learn. But that learning only has value if it is internalized and made part of our overall being. Active learning requires a belief that we can be better than we are professionally, technically, socially, introspectively and more. When a commitment is made to continuous self-development, we make a commitment to self-mastery—and that is a journey that truly never ends.

One of the techniques I used during the peak of my professional career was to end each day by completing a personal …

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"Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater."

- Albert Einstein

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