The Importance of Personal Development

Personal development, also referred to as personal growth, personal potential, or self-improvement is the idea that you always have room to improve. Usually, this concept refers to things such as:

  • Understanding what you value in yourself and others
  • Learning to act with integrity
  • Learning to control anger
  • Skills and strategies to overcome trauma, obstacles, fear, laziness, etc.
  • Setting goals and making a plan to achieve them
  • Investing your energy in positivity
  • Changing your mindset


The list could go on and on. Personal development is the idea that you are committed to continual growth, an open mind, and curiosity for a better future for yourself and for others. Choosing to prioritize your personal development means understanding what you are currently focusing your time, energy, and attention on and how you want that to change. This includes your decision, actions, and who you surround yourself with.

How to Focus on Personal Development

If you break it down, personal development is the sum of the following aspects of each one of us:

  • Emotional
  • Intellectual
  • Spiritual
  • Physical
  • Financial
  • Interpersonal
  • Aspirational
  • Professional 


Together, these eight aspects of ourselves aggregate our personal potential and help us understand where to focus our goals for personal development. Sometimes, you may want to focus on one of these eight things that is in particular need of some help. For example, if you get injured playing a sport or doing an activity, you might need to prioritize your personal development in the physical aspect.

This might look like making sure you are making time for physical therapy, researching ways to help your body heal, listening to your doctors and medical professionals,following their recommendations and taking your medications responsibly and as prescribed, etc.

Sometimes you may want to focus on more generalized self-improvement. Maybe you just feel like you are in a slump and are unhappy with your path or just need a jumpstart and some inspiration injected into your life. Regardless of the ‘why’, focusing on generalized personal development is a great place to start.

5 Things to Start to See Personal Growth

Whatever made you decide to focus on growth and development, we all are after the same thing: fulfillment. Personal growth is exciting, difficult, inspiring, tiring – all the emotions. Knowing where to start can often be the most difficult step, so let’s cover 5 ways you can get started on your personal development journey.

1. Personal development never stops

This may sound daunting, but it’s actually really exciting! You will never be exactly the same as you were a week ago, a year ago, a decade ago. You can fully appreciate the person you were while still excitedly jumping into who you want to be in the present and in the future. One of the best and most exciting parts of life is how we change and grow over time through our experiences, thoughts, and interactions.

2. Look at the list of the eight areas for personal growth above. Ask some of these questions:

a. Do any of these specifically speak to you?
b. Do you think you are particularly good in any of these areas?
c. Do you know you struggle in any of these areas?
d. Do any of these areas scare you?
e. Do any of these areas excite you?

Consider spending some time with the list of each personal development area and think through these questions. It could give you some clarity and direction for how to focus your energy and time and help you set realistic goals for improvement.

3. Focus on long-term growth.

If you’ve ever put a dollar in an investment account, you know that if you look at it every day, it can be exhausting seeing how slowly it grows, or even terrifying when the total dips below the original amount you invested. This is the same for personal development. Although it can be difficult, focus on how far you’ve come overall instead of focusing on the granular day-to-day ups and downs. When you can focus your time and energy on the small victories over time, you learn to not get discouraged when something doesn’t go the way you expect it to.

4. Find a mentor

Working with a mentor is one of the best ways to push yourself to grow and develop personally. A mentor will gently push you to set and achieve your goals. They are there to help you celebrate the victories, stay grounded in your successes, and to remind you to hold your head up during difficult times. A mentor is someone who has likely gone through similar difficulties and challenges in their life and can provide thoughtful, experience-driven advice and insight throughout your personal development journey.

Positive Presence offers mentorship to young adults between 12 and 25 that uniquely matches a mentor with a mentee based on shared life experiences, goals, and interests. You get to build a relationship with a person who is 100% invested in YOU, your success and your personal improvement.

5. Set goals and stay consistent

The best advice available is to set a goal and then stay consistent with your plan to achieve that goal. It certainly helps to have people in your corner helping you stay accountable and encouraging you to obtain your goals. However, at the end of the day, you are doing this for you. Only you can decide how to spend your time and energy and what you want to work towards. Remember to set small attainable goals as opposed to massive sweeping declarations that are impossible to achieve. Here are some examples of personal growth driven goals you can use for inspiration:

  • I want to incorporate more fruits and veggies in my diet. Goal: eat one serving of both fruit and vegetable at least 3 times a week with dinner.
  • I want to save $xxx for a _____. Goal: I will put x% of each pay check into a savings account and not touch it unless absolutely necessary.
  • I want to find ways to be less angry. Goal: I will figure out at least one strategy that helps me calm down when I get angry and I will write down each time I am successful using this strategy in a note on my phone.
  • I want to graduate high school with a 3.0GPA. Goal 1: I will set aside 1 hour each night to study for any upcoming tests so I am more prepared for the next one. Goal 2: I will make sure to finish my next essay with enough time to have a tutor review it before it is due.
  • I want to be more in tune with my emotions instead of feeling empty or numb to my surroundings. Goal: each night before bed, I will plug my phone in across the room and spend 20 minutes focusing on my breath.
  • I want to be a better friend. Goal: I will respond to my friends when they text me within 24 hours (even if the response is that I need more time to respond).

An attainable goal is a smaller part of what you want to accomplish overall. If you just set the goal to “be a better friend”, you might struggle to figure out how to do that or to find victories when you realize you are in alignment with that goal.

Everyone struggles with self development and everyone falters on our personal growth journeys. It’s not about how many times you falter, but about how many times you stand back up and keep going. Personal development is one of the most rewarding gifts you can give to yourself and those around you. To learn more about how a Positive Presence Mentor-Coach can help you or someone you love, email

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Jessica Waugh

Special Projects Director


Jessica has roughly 20 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, curating premier wine programs in Las Vegas and developing educational programs for the largest beverage distribution company in North America. In 2022, Jessica altered her focus and is now utilizing her educational, management, and organizational skills to positively impact others on a grander scale. She is now developing multiple modalities focused in emotional intelligence, executive functioning, meta-learning, and positive psychology for struggling teens and young adults.

Favorite Mindfulness Techniques:

Meditating with sound bowls!

A Fun Fact:

I was the architect for my grandmother’s house

State: Nevada

Positive Presence Corporate Team

Missy Vandenheuvel

Sales Manager


Missy is a revitalized mother of two teenagers who understands the resilience it takes to raise children in the midst of a global pandemic. She is a passionate mentor because she recognizes there isn’t nearly enough support for the overwhelming number of people silently struggling. Her sincere and compassionate personality is what makes her thrive as a coach and a leading member of our company. As our Sales manager she recognized that her role is to listen and learn as much about your child (or yourself) as possible. While listening, I am identifying a mentor coach that I believe your child will not only like based on their personality, but also one who has experienced and overcome similar pain points, and areas of opportunity, optimizing relatability. Ultimately, setting your child up for growth and fulfillment socially, mentally, and physically. 

Favorite Mindfulness Techniques:

My Favorite Mindful technique is to Shifting Thought Patterns by focusing on the Grounding Technique. Starts with a big belly breath in. Then, you tap into your 5 senses, to quickly and effortlessly shift your current focus. Choose a sense- any sense, and count down from 5 (order or senses can be altered): 5 things you see, 4 things you smell, 3 things you feel, 2 things you hear, 1 thing you taste.

A Fun Fact:

 I travel to Florida from Wisconsin 3-4 times a year, and we plan to relocate somewhere with the state in 1.5 years. I’ve been dreaming about this since I first saw the ocean at the age of 14 years old. 

State: Wyoming

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