The personal development market was valued at nearly $10 billion last year according to Marketdata Enterprises, an independent Tampa-based research firm that tracks everything from adoption agencies to funeral homes. With almost 63 million Americans suffering from anxiety, depression, and PTSD and pouring nearly half a trillion dollars into medications to manage these ailments, it's a lucrative niche according to Marketdata Enterprises.
And with well-known self-improvement gurus like Tony Robbins, who have built billion-dollar empires, it's not surprising that so many people are venturing into the personal development space. The desire to be in personal development is growing, and the industry as a whole is being damaged by those who aren't particularly concerned about their clients' outcomes.
Unfortunately, we're seeing many people enter the market with very little experience and even less value to offer. It takes more than good marketing to provide results.
"Most personal development is B.S. -- or at least highly ineffective," says Eric Plantenberg, the chief sales and marketing officer at Humm Kombucha in Bend, Oregon. Plantenberg knows what he's talking about: He coached professional athletes, entrepreneurs, and business executives for 18 years before moving to Humm Kombucha, a company that landed on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in America in both 2016 and 2017.
"Personal development courses can be extremely valuable to people," Plantenberg explains, "but that industry is highly populated by amateur enthusiasts who start a coaching or training company without any qualifications."
The determined person's guide to real results
In my work, I encounter many people who are disillusioned about self-improvement these days because of the volume of ineffective personal development experiences out there. However, there are experts who actually help people get better results.
Plantenberg notes in this TEDx Talk, "The Anatomy of Results," that intention, state, and action ultimately create the results that people celebrate:
He says are three specific things companies need to focus on to consistently grow:
1. Put people first.
Many value intentions, or plans, as the most significant aspect of accomplishing a goal; others believe the actions they take to meet that goal are the most important.
Plantenberg found when researching elite performers that they scored state, or the energetic quality of how they show up every day, as making up 60-70 percent of the push toward a goal. You can implement that ethos in the workplace, too.
The energetic state of a conversation is the most important piece of the conversation. f actions are the only focus, you're likely to see the collateral damage as your movements impact the people around you. Slow down, and think through how your words will be received.
2. Hold your intentions lightly.
You know now that state influences outcomes more than actions or intentions, but what fuels the things you do? Intention.
I've seen many people put so much pressure on themselves to succeed or to accomplish their dreams in a certain time frame. That pressure can crush not only your motivation, but also your spirit. Plantenberg agrees: "When you squeeze your intentions, you snuff them out."
"When I went to Mt. Everest, I told everyone I had a 30 percent chance of succeeding," he explains. "People said, 'That's not a very positive attitude for a motivational speaker!' But another guy on the mountain said he was going to summit or die trying, and he's still frozen to the side of that mountain. Ours was the only team that year with a 100 percent success rate for the entire team."
3. Strike a work-life balance that works for you.
I have found that it's really important for people to take time off work. You need space to create new thinking, and it's important to customize what time off looks like for you. We're all different.
Instead, ask yourself questions to personalize your balance of work and play: What do I need for self-care? How do I get energized for my life where I am right now? Once you know the answer -- whether it's two weeks at a spa annually or long weekends all summer -- put it on the calendar, and set expectations with those around you.
Personal development is a worthwhile endeavor, but self-help "experts" are a dime a dozen. The truth is you have to use what you have in the right state and with the right intention to get to the right actions.