Announcing the new LifeSkills Development Program

PathSince starting ChrisAkinsdotCom in July 2009 I have been writing on a variety of personal development topics, with the goals of helping others and myself develop as purposeful and happy human beings.  During this journey I have learned a lot about myself through the cathartic experience of writing, and through the feedback of many of my readers.

About two years ago I decided that it was time to put some of that learning into a more structured study program, and began developing the LifeSkills Development Program (LDP for short).  The LDP is a 12-week intensive program of self-exploration and learning designed deepen one’s personal awareness and development, and to establish a life-long personal development journey.

What the LDP is, and is not…

This program is not an e-book compilation of my previous blogs labeled remade into a self-study personal development program.  It is not a self-paced, passive approach to personal development.  And while it is suitable for both those who are just starting to focus on self-awareness and personal development, or those who are far along their own path, it is not for anybody who is not willing to commit to 12 weeks of work.

The LifeSkills Development program is delivered through a combination of self-study (homework), and web-based group sessions, and web-based individual sessions that is designed to help participants develop core LifeSkills, such as:

  • Developing a meaningful personal development plan, including self-reflection practices
  • Problem solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Effective communications
  • Decision making
  • Relationship building (including boundary setting)
  • Empathy
  • Managing emotions (sometimes referred to as Emotional Intelligince)
  • Stress management
  • Influencing others in a positive way
  • Networking skills
  • Increasing motivation

And many others…

In order to get the most out of this program participants must be willing to commit to attending the group and individual sessions, and complete the recommended activities during each week.  Like any personal development program or plan, you get out of it what you put in.

While many learning skills programs are designed as therapy programs for people suffering from mental illness, or who are in recovery from addictions, the LDP is not.

The LDP is best thought of as a coaching and development program suitable for people who are mentally healthy and are interested in embarking on or continuing a life-long personal growth practice.  The program relies heavily on self-reflective practices to better understand ourselves as individuals, and how we as individuals interact with the world around us.

While the LDP is a structured approach to personal development, it is also a flexible approach.  Personal growth and development is a highly personal thing, so while you will learn specific skills during the program it is up to you to determine how you integrate those learnings into your own personal development, and daily life.

How is the LDP organized?

The LDP is organized into four modules, delivered over a period of 12 weeks. Due to the nature of the course, I will be limiting the class size to 10 people per class.  Research has shown this class size is optimal for these kinds of learning groups.

Module 1 (Awareness) is the core of the program, and is delivered over the entire 12 weeks.  During this module participants will learn and/or develop self-awareness and self-reflection skills that form the basis of a deep personal growth and development practice.

Some of the tools participants will focus on during Module 1 include developing mindfulness through meditation, and self-reflection and processing life events through journaling.

Participants will also be invited to join live weekly webinars to reinforce and integrate the weekly module lesson, and to learn from each other by discussing their self-reflective experiences.

Module 2 (Critical Thinking and Decision Making) focuses on out thought processes and how we receive, evaluate, and assign meaning to the world around us.  By understanding these dynamics, we can then explore how we make decisions and solve problems.

During Module 2 participants will learn specific skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and rational decision making.  We will also explore how our environment, culture, and the media affect our values and the way we create our maps of reality.

Module 3 (Interpersonal and Communication) will focus on developing the skills we need for successful communication and relationship building.

Some of the topics considered in Module 3 include nonviolent communication, active listening, boundary setting and maintenance, empathy, teamwork, networking, and others.

Module 4 (Coping and Self-Management) discusses how we manage our emotions, including recognizing the stressor and thoughts that trigger them.

In Module 4 participants will explore topics such as building confidence, self-soothing, effective coping skills, time management, managing anger and anxiety, goal setting, and many others.

The work, and commitment…

As I mentioned earlier, this program is not a “read the e-book” and you are done kind of program.  It is aimed at starting, growing, and/or deepening your personal growth and development practice.  As with any skill, new or old, personal development takes effort and commitment.  While nothing is graded, or mandatory, participants will be asked to actively work on their personal development by completing a variety of activities.  Some activities may include (among others):

  • Developing a regular self-reflection practice, including forms of meditation and journaling.
  • Reading selections from recommended books, articles, or blog posts.
  • Participating in live weekly group and individual webinars.
  • Engaging in online discussions with group members on personal development and practical LifeSkills topics.

While this may seem overwhelming, rest assured I realize we all have busy lives.  Again, you will not be graded, and I will not be lording over you demanding things of you.  However, to get the most of this program I estimate you will need to find between 6 and 10 hours per week, or about an hour to an hour and a half per day to complete the self-reflection practices, readings, and webinar sessions.

Participants who complete all of the required coursework, and at least 50% of the optional work for all four modules, will receive Certificates of Completion.  Those who complete all of the required and optional work for all four modules will receive a Diploma in addition to the Certificate of Completion, as well as a free lifetime membership in the Life Skills Institute Alumni Association.

Membership in the Life Skills Institute Alumni Association includes:

  • Discounts on coaching and hypnotherapy sessions
  • Discounts on future Life Skills Institute course offerings
  • Discounts on webinars, seminars, and ebooks offered through ChrisAkinsdotCom
  • Access to alumni community chat rooms and forums (as they are developed)
  • Advance notification and early registration of upcoming LSI and ChrisAkinsdotCom events

The cost

As insane as it may sound, I actually considered offering the LDP free of charge.  But one thing I have learned as a coach, and through my clinical practicums during my Masters and PhD studies in clinical psychology, is that participants who do not make a material commitment do not complete programs.

So what I am asking of you is a financial commitment of $7 per week, or a total of $84 (payable at the time of registration) for the complete 12 week LifeSkills Development Program.  All required readings in the LDP will be offered free of charge, although you may choose to purchase optional recommended books from a place of your choosing.   I will also provide links to Amazon.com for these titles within the course room.

The payoff

The ultimate payoff of completing the LSD is the beginning, or deepening for some, of a life long journey of personal growth and development.  You will also gain new skills that will help you develop better relationships and be more effective in your navigation of the world around you.

Through the 12 weeks of this program, you will also have received…

  • A minimum of 12 hours of group coaching
  • A minimum of 12 hours of individual coaching
  • Mentoring and coaching in developing or deepening your meditation practice
  • Mentoring and coaching in developing or deepening your journaling practice
  • Introduction to new ideas and concepts through group discussions
  • And if you graduate, lifetime membership to the LSI Alumni Association
  • And quite possibly, new and valuable relationships with those who undertook this journey with you

If you are serious about your personal growth and development, about developing or deepening practical life skills, then the LDP is a fantastic opportunity.

Sessions starting March 15!

To register, click the Buy Now button below (Registration is via PayPal), or email me at chris@chrisakins.com to make other arrangements.




Photo by Just-a-Name-Thingie, who has loads of awesome images on Flickr

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