The Downside of One-Size Fits All Self-Help

We are all unique human being, and we all have talents and personality traits that help us learn and apply new skills and habits in our lives. Yet, we somehow expect generic self-help resources and systems to work for us as if they are created for us specifically.


Over time, we may find that one size doesn't always fit. Discovering where your preferences and talents lie will help you figure out the types of activities and resources suit you best. That knowledge can help you transform your life, and create real change and growth.

Are you ready to learn how to tailor your off-the-rack self-help?

Absorb what is useful. Discard what is not.


Bruce Lee

Whether you go by your star sign, learning preferences, human design chart, 16 personalities profile, or whatever other descriptors of your personality and talents you can think of... one thing seems very clear, we are all as unique as the snowflakes that flutter down on a winters' night. It's amazing to explore yourself through these types of personality tests, and I do so often. It lends great insight into my responses to the world and helps me better understand why certain situations and people leave me feeling drained, while others lift me up. 


As much as I love these trips of self-discovery, I try not to let them define me too much. Rather than letting the results dictate who I am, I simply use the input as a starting point for self-exploration. As a trained teacher I quickly picked up on the fact that these personality traits and preferences didn't just inform me about where I was on my life's journey, but would also hugely impact how I could incorporate new learning and personal growth into my life. Because self-help resources are usually created by coaches, therapists or experienced experts, there is sometimes a lack of thought about how information is presented, and if this suits people with different learning styles. That doesn't make the resources bad or useless. It just means that they are likely going to be most efficient for people whose learning preferences resemble their creators.


I am not saying that in any way to berate on the creators of these resources. The materials I have created myself over the years also show my personal preferences, as well as the cultural and societal training I've received about how we're supposed to learn. It's human nature. It simply means that, as life-long learners, we are invited to empower ourselves by adjusting and utilising resources in ways that suit our particular blend of superpowers.

Who are you?
Who are you?

It takes a shift in perception

One of the greatest challenges we likely face when trying to personalise our personal growth is that our starting point more often than not is to 'fix our flaws.'  In Collaborative Intelligence (2015) Dawna Markova and Angie McArthur explain that when we’re obsessed with fixing our shortcomings instead of maximising our strengths, our talents sometimes end up hidden behind other, less desirable traits.


So, if we're to make the most of our personal superpower, we have to shift our focus from fixing flaws to exploring our potential. In a podcast I recorded for SwanWaters.com in 2017 I called this perspective shift The Personal Growth Paradox. It is the need to be simultaneously accepting of who and where you are and also motivated to grow and change. It can be a bit of a tight rope sometimes. Yet, what helped me navigate this particular challenge is to embrace the idea of learning over the need to change. By making this shift in my mindset, I was much less focused on the elements of my life and person I wanted to change and much more on the journey ahead. 

Get your ticket for this training (or any of the others) by clicking the image.
Get your ticket for this training (or any of the others) by clicking the image.

As a trained educator I enjoyed working out my personal lesson plans and resources. I began to look at my preferred learning styles and multiple intelligences to work out how I could maximise my learning. I realised that podcasts were an amazing resource for me, as were audiobooks. I also learned that journaling worked well. I understood that talking my new ideas through with others was an important part of internalising my new wisdom. Then, I began looking at the times of day that worked well, how much time I spend alone and with others, how I would look for new mentors and teachers... The more I dove into creating a learning environment that helped me thrive, the more fun my personal development became. Simply because I was honouring my own needs, rather than insisting I fix myself within the paradigm of others.


If you want to make a start to create a learning environment that works for you, check out my Put The Person in Personal Growth video series on IGTV.

Every Great Idea Starts with a great question

In order to create a learning environment that is catered specifically to our preferences, we need to start asking ourselves questions, lots and lots of them.


When we look at the results of a personality quiz, we should ask ourselves how we can incorporate these results into our journey. Are you an introvert? Then creating alone time to process your learning is important. Are you a manifestor? Then make time to create vision boards about the life you're trying to create. You catch my drift. Start looking at the results not just to gain understanding in your responses in the world, but as a guide to how you can facilitate for yourself.


Take inspiration from teachers and mentors that were particularly inspirational in your life. What about their teaching style made you feel drawn to them? Can you replicate that with the things you are currently trying to learn?


Have regular parent-teacher conferences. Well, check-in with yourself from time to time to see how you are doing. Not just how well you have progressed but also how much you've enjoyed the process and how you are talking to yourself while you transforming your life. 

Create a personal growth environment that supports your need and get back to doing epic shit!
Create a personal growth environment that supports your need and get back to doing epic shit!

As you discover more about your own preferred learning style, you will become a much more effective learner and teacher in your journey of personal growth. But, maybe even more importantly, you will enjoy the process much more. You will learn to listen to your body and mind when it tries to let you find the easiest way to reach your goals. That's not a short-cut, either. Or maybe it is. In which case: LOOK AT YOU GO!


Finding ease and creating a life that is custom-made just for you is what life is all about. Why struggle towards goals and habits you just feel obligated to chase, when you can happily dance with the butterflies on your way to dreams that make your soul sing!

So often, as soon as we wake up our mind flood with everything that we should be doing that day. All the chores and tasks that are on our mental to-do list. From the moment we wake up, we find ourselves in a state of overwhelm. 


 Who even has time to think about 5 year goals, let alone achieve them?