It's no secret that I'm a life coach and earning my doctorate in clinical psychology, and as you may guess from those identities alone, I'm passionate about helping people become the best versions of themselves.

However, where I differ from many professionals in the world is that I practice what I preach. I do my best to continue my own personal development because I've seen how much it's improved my life and the lives of people around me.

Despite struggling with depression in my adolescence and young adulthood, I am now embodying that which I knew I could become. I spent many years of my life ignoring my intuition, covering my inner voice, and refusing to engage in the practical advice I gave others.

Now when I give advice, it comes from both my depth of academic knowledge and my own personal transformation, which is a never-ending process that continues to this day.

Here are seven steps to rapidly accelerate your self-growth and be the person you've always wanted to become:

1. Engage in honest self-reflection.

It's easy to avoid honest self-reflection when you're surrounded by screens and millions of people avoiding their issues too. We live in a world of luxury and pleasure, which makes it even easier to deny that you have areas of growth that are preventing your true self from blossoming.

Take the time to eliminate some of these distractions and then take note of your strengths, weaknesses, and key unresolved issues that are impacting your daily life. Don't be afraid to ask others for feedback--that information can be very helpful and enlightening.

2. Maximize your strengths.

Take what you learned in your self reflection and then improve your strengths. The process of self development doesn't have to be negative, in fact, it should amplify your unique gifts so that you can share them with the world.

3. Work through your weaknesses.

It is important, however, to address your weaknesses. Sometimes the best way to work through old issues is engaging in therapy or life coaching. If you only maximize your strengths, then you may be able to get by in life, but you'll never experience the deepest fulfillment that every person deserves.

4. Commit to long-term therapy.

This is where most people fall short.

There's a difference between wearing trendy lululemon clothes and deeply engaging in a yogic practice. Similarly, there's a huge difference between talking about self development and committing to being vulnerable in front of another person.

It's not possible to continue maximum self growth without working with a professional, so if you're serious about self improvement, then you need to overcome your resistance and schedule an appointment today.

5. Practice meditation.

Another must for people serious about improving themselves is regular meditation. I'm not saying to quit your job, move to an ashram, and meditate 24 hours a day. That may work for some people, but even as little as 10 minutes of silence a day will start to transform the way you engage with yourself and the world.

6. Exercise, diet, and read.

Growing is a holistic process, so don't just focus on your feelings. You need to make sure that you're engaging in a whole body, mind, and spiritual practice for the maximum benefit.

Find an appropriate diet and exercise regimen that works for your body so that it can support all of the work you're doing elsewhere in your life. Similarly, make sure that you continue to expand your mind.

Your mind is a tool that needs to be worked in order to function at a high level, and reading is one of the easiest ways to keep those gears oiled and ready to perform.

7. Give back to others.

Self development is not selfish. When you take charge of your own life, you're not only improving yourself, you're transforming your relationships and becoming a better parent, partner, and professional.

If you want to experience genuine happiness, develop authentic confidence, and be the best possible version of yourself, then start the never-ending journey of self growth.

We all want to see changes in the world, we just don't want to be the one to change. Stop being average, and start becoming the change you'd like to see.

Like a flower, when you blossom, others will be attracted to your radiance and inspired by your desire to reach the sun.

Published on: Aug 23, 2016