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The Growth Zone

These 5 Personal Development Ideas Will Change Your Life

Searching for your next step? These 5 personal development ideas really could change your life. We're breaking down the pros and cons of each.

Throughout the first twenty or so years of our lives, we define time in a series of deadlines and milestones. First steps, first words, first day of school, graduation, first day of a first “real world” job. We’re hooked on achievement and are driven by the pursuit of personal development, often following the path that society has pushed us toward.

After speeding through these major accomplishments, we may find ourselves looking at the future with a sense of confusion and general feeling of “is this it?” Are we going to continue the routine of getting up, going to work, coming home, eating dinner, and heading to bed every day for the rest of our lives?

You were meant for more. You were meant to not only scale mountains, but to move them - not only to create, but to inspire.

Interested in learning more about how a work and travel program could change your life? Click here to get started.

So how do you start living on your terms? When do you begin to live your life with meaning and purpose? You have a few options to choose from when you’re contemplating making a life change:

Apply for an MBA program or other post-grad personal development opportunity

If you’re thinking of heading back to school and getting an advanced degree, we applaud you. There is definitely something to be said for broadening your horizons and diving deep into a topic that has always interested you.

Pros: Post-grad personal development opportunities can be great ways to advance your career (or switch your focus to a new field) while networking with others who are pursuing similar passions. You’ll be able to work with scholars from cities around the world on meaningful projects, all while earning a degree and becoming a thought leader in your chosen field.

Cons: These programs can be expensive - like the hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of debt kind of expensive - and likely won’t give you the in-depth real world experience that you’re looking for. If you’re clear on where you’re heading, a post-grad program can be a great investment. However, if you have trepidation about moving forward, or if you’re unsure of your direction, this cost can be an enormous undertaking.

While you will have an opportunity to create connections with others, these relationships may  be built within a bubble of academia and aren’t always global in nature. As the world becomes more interconnected and dependent on mutual understanding, the ability to draw on global experience is increasingly necessary for success in any field. Depending on which post-grad program you enroll in, you may not have a chance to be exposed to other cultures or meet people who come from diverse backgrounds. Though each individual in the program will have a unique story to tell, basic interactions won’t allow you to have as deep an understanding of their local culture as you would in a more immersive environment.

Another common misconception about post-graduate programs is that they will unequivocally prepare you to jump into a life of entrepreneurship. In fact, many people attend business school because they want to be able to start their own business one day. Many MBA programs don’t actually focus on entrepreneurship or the skills that you need to develop to become a successful business owner.

If what you’re searching for from a post-grad program is the opportunity to expand your network to include a diverse group of professionals, including other entrepreneurs that you can learn from firsthand, and build on professionally-applicable skills in an environment that pushes you out of your comfort zone, you might actually be looking for a work and travel program.

Pursue your personal growth goals and move to a new city

A change of scenery can be an instant mood-adjuster. When you’re surrounded by new and inspiring views, you feel like you can take on the world, laptop in hand. Which city will you make your new home? This can feel like the greatest - and sometimes only - conversation point. Where do you want to “settle down”? How do go about picking a city to make a permanent move to? What happens when you aren’t ready to put down roots, but just want to make a change in the moment? Before you go ahead with your move, consider the pros and cons.

Pros: Making a cross-country (or cross-continent) move is undeniably exciting. You’re getting a chance to build familiarity in a new place, push yourself outside of your comfort zone, and visit all of those Instagram-worthy coffeeshops you’ve been scouting online. It’s an opportunity to become a part of an entirely new community and create a new network of friends in a fresh landscape. The idea of a brand new home or apartment can be enticing and might be just the change you need to reset your mindset.

Cons: Eventually the reality that you are starting from scratch starts to sink in. You’re in a brand new place, where you don’t know anyone and aren’t yet accustomed to “the way things work”. Let’s face it, it’s just plain hard to make new friends in a new city. Most people are already settled and you’re the new neighbor on the block. Without a network to support you, you’ll be left to figure out basic necessities (like which phone service is the best for your region and which grocery store you can count on to stock your favorite coffee creamer) on your own, all while adjusting to a new geographic location and potentially a new professional role.

On top of the stress that you’ll feel from just existing in a new environment will be the overwhelm associated with the lead-up to your move. Finding a new place to live, negotiating the terms of a new lease, exiting your old living agreement, moving all of your belongings - figuring out these logistics on your own is enough to make anyone balk at the idea of making a move.

Change can be difficult. However, when you decide to shift your mindset by joining a work and travel program, you’ll benefit from the stability of an incredible community and logistics that are handled, so that you can consistently shift location to keep your mind focused and motivated by the new world you are experiencing, without feeling alone in your journey.

Stay home and keep doing you

Be honest - the idea of making any change can be very intimidating. Although we’ve included it in this list, we don’t believe that maintaining the status quo is actually a great idea for personal development. But, we know how comforting it is to spend your nights binging the latest docu-series on Netflix, so we’ll indulge you.

Pros: Continuing on the same path that you’ve been on for awhile may be the most appealing choice if you’re weary of letting go of your routine and stability. You don’t have to put in any extra effort, and you’re already comfortable living this way. You have friends! Established haunts! You know your way around your current city and you know exactly how your day will play out each morning when you wake up. You're already living the life you've created for yourself thus far.

Cons: Spoiler alert! This non-decision is actually still a decision - and it won’t result in much change. No one has ever made significant progress in their life by adhering to the way things are instead of wondering about the way things could be. If you’ve been feeling restless for awhile and feel that you’re ready to break free from a predictable everyday routine, it’s time to consider making a major shift. That growth that you’re looking for isn’t going to happen on its own!

Hear from a few friendly faces the reasons behind why taking the leap and giving their life a 180 was the best decision they ever made.

DIY work and travel

If you’ve decided to make a life change, solo travel could be a viable option. You’ve already gone down the internet rabbit hole and have heard that travel is the quickest way to pull back the curtain on your comfort zone and expose yourself to experiences that may have given you pause in the past.

Pros: The allure of finding your purpose while exploring a new corner of the world is strong. It’s a much-discussed personal development opportunity that truly delivers on what it offers: growth. Travel has a way of making you take a look at your habits and preconceived notions and tossing them to the side in favor of a more open mind and heart. You quickly find out that the routines and norms that you’ve taken for granted all this time can be changed, and oftentimes must be adjusted, in order to reach a new level of personal awareness.

Cons: If you feel most alive when you are creating, producing and working with others, travelling on your own may not be conducive to your desired socially-fulfilled lifestyle. Do you thrive in a community that supports you and encourages you to chase after the dreams that you’ve always thought were impossible? As you move from city to city around the globe, you’ll be forced to make new friends every week - and sometimes every day. This constant quest to create connection will leave you exhausted and frustrated that you were unable to get to know people beyond surface level questions like “Where are you from?” and “How long have you been on the road?”

P.S. It also takes so much time, energy and responsibility to effectively plan your own travel, making sure that you’re booking the most cost-effective flight, finding the most comfortable, creative places to live, and securing a spot at the most inspirational coworking spaces in each city that you’ll be travelling to. All of that planning takes away from time that could be spent building relationships and making new friends, time that you could be spending actually experiencing each destination and achieving the personal growth that you’re looking for.

If the experience that you’re searching for is one in which you can see the world without having to worry about details like flights or accommodations, continue to excel in your work, and surpass professional goals alongside a community who’s with you every step of the way, we give you...

...the Work and Travel Program.

Work and travel programs are incredible opportunities for anyone wanting to make a major life change. They are a chance to do away with the doldrums of an everyday routine. Imagine the excitement that you’ll feel when waking up in the morning is the first step in a day filled with endless possibilities.

Work and travel programs not only take you on the adventure of a lifetime, exposing you to local cultures along the way, they provide you with the tools that you need to successfully work remotely around the world, like great WiFi and access to the world’s coolest coworking spaces.

In a work and travel program, you’ll find your place in a community that will be along for the ride, no matter where your journey takes you. The bonds that you will build with every member of your program will be bolstered by shared experiences, interests, and moments that solidify your relationships for years to come. Though to the outside world this will seem like a journey of places, you’ll come out of your time on the road knowing that life is about so much more than where you’ve been - it’s about who you’ve been there with.

Work and travel programs save you time, (invaluable time that you’ll instead spend creating memories with the other inspiring people on your program), by taking care of the logistics. You want to focus on the important things like excelling in your career, while absorbing everything that each of the cities that you live in has to offer, not whether your luggage is going to make it to its destination or whether you’ll be able to find a quiet place to work. However, if you have a love of finding airfare deals and Airbnbs that are hidden gems, work and travel programs offer you the opportunity to branch out into DIY territory with your newfound friends for adventures on the side. You won’t have to think about how these side trips will affect your professional life - great WiFi and connectivity will be waiting for you when you return.

This is the personal development experience that will let you enhance the path that your life is taking, or take a detour onto the road less travelled. Everything that you’ve created and encountered before this moment makes up the person that you are. You’re not looking to hit a reset button. You’re looking to refresh your outlook on life and, in the process, shake up your future.

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