We all get a little sticky, awkward, and cringey about the word “self help.” It conjures up images of cult members thrashing around, screaming like demonic beings on a documentary while they guzzle down Kool-aid or crunchy, natural people that wear loincloths, live off the land and sing kumbaya in a circle every morning. I prefer to call it “personal development,” and it lasts a lifetime.

I used to think personal development courses, books, and speeches were about a quick fix. I would take the course and get in touch with my inner child and answer questions about my biggest fears. I would read the books and for the next 2 months spout off quotes about about the law of attraction in an enlightened manner, often telling people how to become their best selves and stop binge watching Peaky Blinders on Netflix. I would listen to the speeches and pump myself up while Tony Robbins yelled at me every morning over Youtube before deflating like a popped balloon at a rained out carnival by evening. Every time my changes didn’t last I would get frustrated with myself for not sticking to the new version of me.

However, this year I have experienced some devastating events in my life and I realized I needed a fresh start. This meant I would once again dip my toe into the pool of “self help,” and hope I didn’t fall in and drown.

I was watching a Mel Robbins live stream and one of the viewers asked her how to continue using the tools she had shared with the audience once the course was over, and she said something quite profound, that really struck a chord with me. She told everyone watching that self help is a life long process, and nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of. We are not trying to “fix” ourselves, but we are trying to evolve. We should be constantly growing and learning as human beings.

Which is why, over the last few months, I’ve stopped trying to make my life perfect, to fix myself, to look for that one magical cure for whatever problems I assume I have, and I’m allowing myself to slowly evolve as a person.

We are perfect right now, just as we are, but as human beings we must grow mentally and emotionally as well as physically. There will never be a point where you no longer need to learn, and you’ve gotten to an enlightened stage of pure perfection, that’s impossible. To be your best self only requires that you listen and learn from others. Even Tony Robbins and Oprah have things about themselves they still work on, and people they learn from.

Below are five inspirational people that I’ve been learning from the last couple of months, and I guarantee you will learn something from them as well.

1. Mel Robbins

TEDx Talk: How To Stop Screwing Yourself Over

I first found her through a viral Tedx talk she did in 2011 called “How To Stop Screwing Yourself Over” (how is that for enlightened, huh?) In it she talks about her 5 second rule, the fact that our brains are on autopilot, and how to become happier. She strikes a balance between an empathetic and tough love approach which is really what most of us want in a therapist, am I right?

Mindset Reset

At the end of 2018/beginning of 2019 she launched the “Mindset Reset” training program, and it’s completely free! It comes with a 10 page guide where you can go through and rate/reflect on various areas of your life during 2018 and create goals for 2019, a morning routine guide to start your day on the right foot, and a playlist on Youtube with 35 days of video courses.

In the videos she talks about limiting beliefs, and how it’s your mindset, not your circumstances, that is really holding you back. Basically, taking action towards our goals is easy, but getting yourself in the correct mindset to actually do these things is a whole different ball game and she teaches you exactly how to do this.

5 Second Rule

At one point in her life, Robbins was in severe debt, her marriage was crumbling, and she was depressed. The only thing that got her out of bed in the morning was counting down from 5 and “blasting out of bed like a rocket.” You can listen to her talk about this in a speech she did called “How to Beat Self Doubt in 5 Seconds,” or read her book “The 5 Second Rule.”

A New Talk Show

The Mel Robbins Show, her new daytime talk show will be premiering nationwide in the U.S. on September 16!

2. Brené Brown

Vulnerability

In 2010, she gave a powerful TED talk on vulnerability that many people related to on a deeply emotional level (it’s one of the top 5 most viewed TED talks in the world.) What makes Brown so interesting to listen to is that she has studied feelings like courage, vulnerability, and shame at a scientific level, and doesn’t just say things for the sake of saying them. Every single thing is backed up by strong data and research.

Another thing that is so great about Brown? She speaks like you’re two friends out to lunch, with a humor and wit that makes you wish you really could hang out with her.

Netflix Documentary

Her new Netflix special, The Call to Courage, is another talk she gives in which she shares humorous, emotional, and relatable anecdotes to back up her research. She left audience members in tears as she talked about some of the deepest feelings human beings experience.

3. Gabrielle Bernstein

SuperSoul Sessions

I first came to know her through one of Oprah’s SuperSoul Sessions in which she talked about her fertility struggles, letting go, and asking the universe for help. In this speech she said something so profound: “Your plans are in the way of God’s plans. It’s time to surrender.”

The Universe Has Your Back

Her most recent book, The Universe Has Your Back, is a #1 New York Times bestseller, and she says of the book, “My commitment with this book is to wake up as many people as possible to their connection to faith and joy. In that connection, we can be guided to our true purpose: to be love and spread love. These words can no longer be cute buzz phrases that we merely post on social media. Rather, these words must be our mission. The happiness, safety and security we long for lies in our commitment to love.”

4. Jada Pinkett-Smith

Red Table Talk

Sitting around a literal red table, Smith, along with her mother Adrienne Banfield-Jones and occasionally daughter Willow (who throws out insights so deep she sounds like the Dalai Lama in a teenage girls body) invite guests, or talk amongst themselves about life, career, marriage, and self love.

In one particularly jarring episode she talks to her husband Will Smith and they get real about the issues in their marriage. They speak about her mid-life crisis as well as the time Will broke up with her when she cursed at him. The Smith family are deeply self reflective and real about their personal issues.

5. Brendon Burchard

The Day Planner

I just bought a one year supply of “The High Performance Day Planner” yesterday, and I have no regrets. I’ve spent months now trying to motivate myself, and find the perfect daily routine that would keep me productive, and working towards my goals at all times.

This day planner doesn’t just help you plan meetings and dentist appointments, but asks you to truly reflect on your behavior, performance levels, and what you’re working towards in your career.

The planner asks you to start your day with morning prompts, and end the day with evening questions as well as a scorecard.

The High Performance Day Planner “is based on the world’s largest study of high performers and how they increase productivity, set goals, prioritize, and create the positive mindset and habits needed to win the day.”

Personal development, just as self love is a life long process in which you will continually evolve as you change, shape and mold yourself into who you want to be. It takes a variety of self help tactics, from spirituality, to planning, and from daily habits to emotional intelligence.

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