“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are almost three-quarters of the way through the year!  This is a good time, again, for seasonal reflection of goals, alignment, and setting up for a strong year-end finish.

Recently, I was thinking about a creative painting session I had with my daughter, Ariel.  I realized that the process of developing my painting had parallels to aspects of my own personal development.  Where we start, what we experience, and how we respond to unexpected challenges are all a part of the picture of who we are today.  After all, when it comes to our personal and professional development, we are all “a work in progress.”

On painting day, we started with a blank piece of paper and some gouache paints (opaque watercolors), a print out of the intended finished picture, and a YouTube video by artist Sarah Cray.  Unlike Ariel, I am NOT a skilled artist and this was my first experience with gouache paints.  Fortunately, though, I had all the resources I needed and was being guided and taught by Ariel and Sarah.  While painting, we were able to pause the video to allow the extra time needed for me to catch up.  I learned that mistakes are ok.  Just give them a little time to dry and paint over them, or change the intended end product to incorporate them.

At one point, while painting the nose of the puppy, I thought there was no way to recoup this picture.  It was a disaster!  Had Ariel not been there to encourage me, I probably would have just thrown away the half-done picture and quit.  And, where it took the expert painter in the video only an hour and a half to create the picture, it took me nearly twice that!  When we finished, I put the picture on the fridge, like a Kindergartener proud of their artwork.  Shockingly, it didn’t look as bad as it did up close.  And, the further away I backed from the picture, the better it looked!  A different perspective made it appear differently.  Not only did I have a cute picture at the end of the session, but I greatly enjoyed the time of learning a new skill, as well as talking and laughing with Ariel.

The parallel between the painting and personal development rendered some good lessons we can remind ourselves of.  It’s important to know where you’re starting from and where you want to be (and by when). Gather resources, mentors, teachers, and encouragers around you.  Don’t be overly critical of where you are right now, and don’t compare yourself to others who are masters in a particular area.  Allow yourself the time for learning, reflection, making mistakes, adjusting, and applying your newly developed skills.  Step back to get another perspective of where you are. Don’t lose sight of the forest (big picture) for the trees (up close view of details).  And, enjoy the process!

As you pause and reflect on what you desire to accomplish by this year’s end, in terms of personal development, let your DISC strengths assist you.  Also, be aware of the DISC strengths of those around you who might be able to help.

Questions, by DISC Style, to Ask About Your Personal Development:


Natural Characteristics: Dominant, Driver, Determined

Ask “What” Questions

  • What is the bottom line or benefit of development in a particular area?
  • What does success look like?
  • What resources, relationships, or disciplines do I need to achieve the objective?
  • I

    Natural Characteristics: Influencing, Inspiring, Impulsive

    Ask “Who” Questions

  • Who can I surround myself with that will aid in my development?
  • Who else wants to develop in the same areas I do that I can collaborate with?
  • Who, besides me, will benefit from my development?
  • C

    Natural Characteristics: Compliant, Correct, Creative

    Ask “Why” Questions

  • Why is this particular area of development important?
  • Why do I, naturally, tend to be critical of myself and/or progress?
  • Why does it matter how I reach the objective?
  • S

    Natural Characteristics: Steady, Supportive, Stable

    Ask “How” Questions

  • How can I make development consistent?
  • How can I facilitate development with processes or systems (which I’m good at)?
  • How do relationships affect my progress?
  • We’re all a work in progress, developmentally speaking.  We, and those we work with, have so much to gain from developing technical and soft skills. Organizations tend to set goals in terms of SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based). It’s wise to also think of our personal and professional development goals in terms of SMART, and periodically, take time to reflect, adjust, and continue growing.


    Wishing you much success in your development goals!

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