Learn the fundamentals of a strong personal foundation, stage two of a seven-stage personal growth plan.

Personal Growth, a seven-stage process of personal development, begins with a Healing stage, followed by this second stage focused on forming a strong Personal Foundation. For reference, one might wish to refer to the full Seven Stage Personal Growth Plan.

When guilt, regret, and inner pain are reduced or eliminated – the Healing stage – one can move forward to the second stage of a personal growth plan, the Personal Foundation. To achieve a solid base for growth, one must build a foundation on

  • strong boundaries,
  • personal standards, and
  • a means of satisfying personal needs.

These form the foundation for further personal development and self improvement.

Setting Boundaries

A boundary is a virtual moat or wall of self protection. As in building a physical wall, an effective boundary takes thought, planning, and construction. Boundaries are personal, what annoys or feels like a violation to one person may be barely noticeable to another.

A good way to identify one’s boundaries, according to Life Coach Cheryl Richardson, is to “pay close attention to the situations when you lose energy, feel a knot in your stomach, or want to cry.”

When a boundary is breeched it may feel like a violation. For example, if a stranger stands too close one may feel uncomfortable, preferring some distance around oneself. With reflection and self awareness, a person can make a list of desired boundaries of self protection.

Enforcing Boundaries

With a list of desired boundaries in hand, the next task is to prepare a method of enforcement. To be comfortable enforcing boundaries, be armed in advance with a strategy.

A sound strategy is to make the issue about you, not the other person. For example, “I’m sorry, but when someone stands very close to me I become very uncomfortable, so I’ll appreciate it if you give me a bit more room.”

A good reference is How to Say No and Make it Stick: Without Destroying Relationships.

Personal Standards

A personal standard is an expectation one has about their own performance and behavior. Behaving below the standard probably disappoints, while exceeding the standard may elicit pride.

As a person progresses along their personal growth plan, standards will change. To begin, become aware of current standards.

Reflecting upon situations where a behavior resulted in personal disappointment or pride will indicate the current standard of behavior for that situation.

Evaluating Personal Standards

When considering current personal standards, one should refrain from judging them or feeling guilt. Instead, position the present interest as an opportunity for personal growth.

Which standards might be improved? What areas of opportunity call for attention? Observing admired others may yield ideas.

Making a list of situations and the desired behavior standard will help a person react appropriately when that situation arises.

Fulfilling Personal Needs

A personal need is like a vacuum that must be filled for one to be happy. As an individual progressively grows in personal development, needs will be internally fulfilled and diminished. But in the early stages of moving along a personal growth plan, unmet needs are real and must be fulfilled.

Rather than spending time and energy doing things that one hopes will bring recognition, set up a process of automatic fulfillment. This can be accomplished by alerting family and friends to normally unmet needs, asking them to be aware of opportunities to fulfill the need.

The next stage of a Personal Growth Plan is: Maturity, Vital to Personal Growth

Build a Strong Personal Foundation