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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Is Personal Development a Scam?

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Hi there everyone!!

I'm a professional working in the personal development industry. For 18 years, I've participated in all the various disciplines of personal development programs. Even with this extensive knowledge of the industry, I still sympathize when I meet someone at a networking event who rolls their eyes and questions or criticizes the personal development industry when I tell them my profession. I have to admit that I can understand why they think that this industry is full of scams!

To the unsuspecting public there are so many different programs out there! Every speaker has the ultimate secret to life to share with us. Every tape program has the 12 keys we need in mastering success. How is this possible? This leads many to ask, aren't they all just saying the same thing and making millions from it?

Today, personal development is a maturing industry with highly accelerated growth. Economist Paul Zane Pilzer says that the "wellness" industry will hit $1 trillion by 2010. Now, I want to personally ask the question myself. Is personal development a scam?

The concept of personal development is marketed to us in various forms. We've called it professional development. We've called it self-help, self-improvement and peak-performance. We have broadened the term to encompass so much. Now it's the wellness industry that includes vitamins, energy healing, and spiritual enlightenment. Where does it end?

Take coaching for example. It seems everybody and their brother is a coach. This aspect of the industry is experiencing such phenomenal growth that it begs the question, what qualifies someone to be a coach? Technology - that's another enabler in this booming industry. It is so easy for anyone to "self-publish" a book at relatively little cost. So now everyone is a potential author. Again, what qualifications do individuals really have in helping other people?

It is clear that there is no regulatory body in the personal development industry. This is, in fact, very dangerous. Customers can't rely on the quality of products/services they are buying because there are no standards to measure them against. The medical industry has a regulatory body. Our education system has a regulatory body. Lawyers are bound by legal practice and CEO’s are now being offered certification programs. Even the relatively new information technology industry has courses that are universally recognized. Why then doesn't the fast-growing personal development industry have any means to assure the true credibility of a speaker or coach?

Just like there are good doctors and there are bad doctors, there are good speakers and bad speakers. And different doctors relate to different people just like different speakers relate to different people. So is the personal development industry a scam? Well, not more than any other industry may be. The difference is, with a doctor (for example), we know all the education and training they went through. With an author, speaker, or coach, it's a different story.

So what can our industry do about this? We can begin to set standards for our profession. We can establish a regulatory body that monitors the activities of those practicing our profession. We can provide training, counsel and certification for the industry.

How do we go about this? I propose establishing an association for practitioners. Membership would be essential, and teaching, mentoring and personal contribution would be part of the makeup.

It is up to us, to prove our credentials in this manner, and to demonstrate to our clients and the public at large, that we are truly certified to practice our craft. Public perception is so important to the success of any industry. Ours isn’t any different. The next time I am asked the question “is the personal development industry a scam?” I want to be able to proudly tout the certification and on-going education that is required to become a professional practitioner in my chosen field. In the end, however it’s up to you to decide.

Let's love the world together...

Love,
[)anish /|hmed, blind visionary

1 comment:

  1. Very thoughtfull post on Personal Development. It should be very much helpfull.

    Thanks,
    Karim - Positive thinking

    ReplyDelete