personal development for leadership

I’ve been building a new relationship with my personal development for leadership growth lately. I realized that most of my relationship with personal development was built on a false pretense.

I had confused personal development with what happens on the other side of growth, the result. I didn’t realize actual growth is the period in between, the period before the other side of growth.

The culmination of growth is achievement and fulfillment. But the period before, that’s what I call the “in it” phase of growth.

What is the “in it” phase of personal development for leadership?

The “in it” describes the time period when growth feels uncomfortable. Put plainly, this is the “in it” phase of growth. It means you’re in essence, in the middle of it and the only place to go is through it. 

One of the things I’ve realized in my journey of personal development for leadership is when I can recognize where I am, it’s much easier to get to where I want to be.

I think sometimes I forget to slow down enough to take stock and reflect on the moment long enough to benchmark myself to my goal. And even more importantly,

I notice that sometimes I get so focused on the goal that I forget to enjoy the journey. The “in it” is the part of the journey we often forget to enjoy. 

The “in it” represents all the times when the journey was difficult. The times when you had to leave behind a part of yourself, in order to step into a new version of yourself.

The “in it” is the juicy part and yet, is the most often glossed over part. We don’t often take ourselves or others back into our pain cave. And as such, we confuse growth with what’s on the other side of growth.

How can I shift my perspective when I’m in the “in it” phase of personal development for leadership? 

Look, this is really simple. Growth feels uncomfortable and my perspective on that discomfort determines how I will experience it.

If I choose to look upon the discomfort through the lens of my excitement for learning and growth I might even find myself enjoying the discomfort despite it’s, well, discomfort. 

David Goggins is a great example of someone who has fallen in love with being in the “in it”. Goggins is an American ultramarathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist, triathlete, public speaker and author. He says, “the pain that you are willing to endure is measured by how bad you want it.” 

There is some truth in that. You may have noticed that change is often preceded by pain. Things simply have to get more uncomfortable than the alternative before we take action.

This is called learning the hard way and it is a path many of us have chosen. I propose that if we understand we are in the “in it” we can shift how we learn and create a more peaceful and enjoyable journey. 

I understand this is contrary to popular thinking on personal growth for leadership. Most of what I read tells me that I need to step onto a hustle wheel and push past any difficulty in order to achieve the goal I set my target on.

I’ve lived my life that way and you know what happened? I had three minor strokes and a near-death experience. That reality forced me to consider an alternate way of living, growing and giving. 

Step 1 – Know when you’re in the “in it” phase of personal development for leadership

I’ve recognized that the key to an easeful journey is to simply know where I am on it. Life goes through a cycle of learning, expansion and integration.

I’m always in one of those three phases, the only question is which one. The “in it’ is when we are in the learning phase, so start by noticing that you are in the “in it” by the amount of discomfort you are experiencing. If you have discomfort you are growing.

Step 2 – Determine how far into the “in it” phase of personal development for leadership you are 

You’re starting to notice the level of discomfort on board and when you tune into it for the first time it can be a bit intense. It is discomfort after all.

When you’re in the “in it” you need to know how deep in the “in it” you are to begin bridging your way back. You can measure how deep you’ve gone by tuning into how much discomfort you feel on a scale of 1-10. This simple measurement can be a savior for recognizing where you are quickly. 

Step 3 – Shift your perspective on the “in it” phase of personal development for leadership

So you’re in the “in it” phase of growth. Awesome. Congratulations! Every break down leads to a break through. But first, you need to learn the lesson.

Instead of focusing on the discomfort, focus on the lesson and the gift the experience is teaching you. The discomfort is pointing you to an area of misalignment that you are ready to deal with and shift into alignment again.

So look at what’s falling apart around you and ask yourself, what area of my life is being affected? How is it being affected? If I could wave a magic wand and create anything, what do I really want to create here? Focus your attention on what you want to create and it will help you shift what you want to shift. 

Also don’t forget to checkout Operationalizing Vision for Personal Development for Leadership.

Step 4 – Double down on your creation 

I’ve learned a pretty powerful lesson through my own experience of being in the “in it”. It’s that manifestation happens in three simple steps; thought, word and action.

When I’m ready to learn the lesson I spend time with the vision of my new creation and I ask myself, what do I need to shift out of my life in order to create it? What do I need to bring into my life to create it? What feelings inside of my body do I need to shift?

What thoughts in my mind do I need to shift? And then I double down and ask, what do I want to shift them to? Then I imagine the other side of learning and what it will feel like to arrive.

Sometimes I create a list or a vision board to really cement the vision if it’s a big lesson or a pattern I’m breaking. Check in with your accountability group along the way and tell them how things are going. Ask for input, lessons and tools that can help you. 

Step 5 – Settle in to the in it phase of personal development for leadership

There’s no rushing the “in it” and if you’ve paid attention you’ve noticed that the way out of the “in it” is a gradual process to simply go through it.

There is no big reveal. So it’s best to settle into the “in it” and just get comfortable with learning. Use your new perspective to enjoy as much as you can, but also remember not to bypass what comes up for you.

These lessons are hard, that’s why they cause growth. And sometimes you just need to be in the “in it” until you’re not. Try to cut yourself some slack and double or triple your normal self care practices because you’ll need it.

Most importantly, be kind to yourself. You’re in the “in it” and that’s an uncomfortable place so nourish yourself with kind words, kind thoughts and kind self care practices. 


Growth is uncomfortable, there’s no denying it. However, it can also be fun if we can simply get excited about the learning. To get excited about learning this skill for personal development for leadership we need to feel like we’re in control and have a handle on what’s happening.

The best way to get some semblance of control is to recognize where you are, tap into your inner circle for support and reach into your toolkit for some self care tools. 

There’s no way to know how long we’ll be in the “in it” phase, but we can be certain that we will grow during it and when we reach the integration phase the density will begin to lift and make way for the expansion phase where our new self fully emerges into the light of day. And that’s when we’ll forget we were ever even in the “in it” to begin with.