A personal development quest focuses on transforming some aspect of your life in a significant way. Alternatively, you may be changing something in your external world that affects you. In other words, it is a transformative journey.
Note: A personal development quest is your journey, and no-one else’s. Even if your quest focuses on improving situations for others, you usually experience major change on a personal level.
Our lives are a series of personal development quests
Humans being human are continually striving to improve themselves for the benefit of themselves, others, and the world around them. If you’re like me, you’ll love learning things about yourself, the value you have hidden inside of you, and how you can share this with others in your world.
Like all journeys, the Hero on a personal development quest has a destination to move towards. This is their goal or the reward they seek. However, the journey is rarely about the goal or the reward. It is about what happens on the journey. In addition, transformative stories focus on the personal challenges the Hero faces. The journey changes the way they think, feel, act, or communicate.
A personal development quest is not paint-by-numbers
The Hero’s reason for starting out on a quest is not always clear, and in many cases the goal or reward isn't either. This is normal in any personal development journey. If a person is handed a “paint-by-numbers” map with very little work required on their part, they will be unlikely to experience major change.
It’s like booking a seat on a whistle-stop group tour of Europe. You may cover a lot of ground in a short time, but one day blurs into the next. You barely scratch the surface and are never given time to immerse yourself in new places and cultures. Some people on tours don't even know what amazing place they've stopped in each day.
In my 20s, I independently travelled through Europe. Six weeks into my tour, I arrived in Venice, Italy. I was exploring, walking the paths beside the canal. I had a New Zealand t-shirt on, and a couple stopped me. They wanted to know if I was from New Zealand. It turned out they were too. Then they asked me what city they were in!
Clearly, their question stunned me. Then they told me they had whizzed through so many places in the last 10 days. They were on a 15 day bus tour covering a large portion of Europe. This left them exhausted and confused as to where they were.
Are you a tourist, or a traveller on your transformative journey?
“Tourists don't know where they've been, travelers don't know where they're going.”
A Hero on a transformative journey is a traveller. In fact, many Heroes act on a vague feeling that something is not right in their internal or external world. They set off on a journey of personal exploration, open to the challenges on the road ahead. I did this when I left my nice safe job working for a bank. I based my decision on my need to develop and grow personally. The only quest I had in mind at the time was to discover what made my heart sing.
The reluctant Hero
Heroes can be reluctantly called into action. Some disaster happens. They become forced into correcting an injustice. Or they need to protect someone or something they care about. Or they have to rebuild their world after experiencing a life-changing event. It may not start out as a personal development quest, but along the way, personal growth happens.
Again, I have experienced this personal growth journey after being shunted onto a major detour when a series of violent earthquakes struck my home city in 2010 and 2011.
There’s no fast road to personal transformation
Where most people “fail” on a personal development quest is that they want results NOW! They want to reach the destination and claim the reward without having to go on the journey. I’m as guilty of this as the next person. I have lost count of the number of New Year’s resolutions, personal development goals, and other wishes I’ve made, that have been forgotten about within days.
Why is this? In the past, I have focused too much time on visualising how my life is going to look when I’ve achieved my goal. Then I start to think about all the TIME and WORK it’s going to take to reach the destination. As a result, I get overwhelmed, and give up before I’ve even begun.
Get curious about the road to personal transformation
In the next post I will show you how I've learned how to avoid becoming overwhelmed. This simple trick helps me to begin my personal development quest. Moreover, it keeps me committed to reaching the destination I’m aiming for.
In the meantime, I invite you to get curious about the different facets of your life, and think about what you might like to change in the coming year. And, if you haven't already read my book Your Transformative Journey, please complete the form on the homepage to download your complimentary copy now.