How my Obsession with Personal Development Affects my Birthday

Personal development has totally changed my life in the past 20 years, and it’s definitely safe to say that I’m obsessed with it. Even to the point that it affects how I celebrate my birthday! When I was a kid, my parents would make a big deal out of birthdays so they were always special. 

I’d start celebrating my birthday on July 1 and make it last all month. This is definitely a tradition I carried into adulthood, but it was all about me – what food I’d eat, where we’d go and what gifts I wanted. This has changed drastically over the years, and I celebrate my birthdays very differently now.

My personal development journey

I was first introduced to personal growth in my mid-20s. My only exposure to it before then was Tony Robbins infomercials and walking past the self-help section of the bookstore. My small town hometown community didn’t exactly promote growth, if you know what I mean.

Then, as part of my MBA program, I was assigned a stack of books to read about how to succeed in business, and I began to be exposed to a truly transformative way of thinking for the first time. 

When I started out as an independent consultant for a direct sales company, I was technically running my own business. But I was really a freelance salesperson, so it was more like training for future projects. 

I soon noticed that I had a lot of self-sabotage in my head that was preventing me from creating the results I wanted. The senior leaders began recommending books on personal development to teach me how to succeed. 

Although I dismissed it at first, I started to see similarities between these self-help books and those written by the CEOs and Fortune 500 business owners I’d had to read back in my MBA days. That’s when the penny finally dropped. 

Your business is an extension of who you are in life. The way you do anything in life is the way you do everything in life. If your personal life is a mess then your business will follow suit. 

Employee mindset vs entrepreneur mentality

There is a big difference between these two perspectives. I realized at an early age that I didn’t want someone else controlling my life. I knew I wanted to succeed as an entrepreneur, but I didn’t know how.

So, I took the books that had been recommended and used them as a playbook for my life.

I adopted those authors as my coaches in both my personal and business lives. From that point forward, my obsession was born.

I became obsessed with mastering the skills, tools and mindset shifts that are written about in those books. Over the last 15 years, I’ve read at least one book per month (sometimes one a week) to help me accomplish my life goals.

I even stopped watching TV and movies and reading fiction books because I became so enthralled with creating my own magical life. I preferred this to merely watching other people creating their dream lives.

How personal development has changed me

This journey has created massive life changes for me. I’ve been able to completely shift my financial situation and rewrite the financial legacy that I will leave to future generations. 

On top of that, I’ve learned:

  • The power of manifestation
  • The laws of attraction, action and gestation
  • Mindset and emotional management
  • How the human psyche works
  • Emotional intelligence
  • How to work with people
  • How to lead myself
  • What to expect from others
  • How not to depend on others
  • How not to react to the world around me

Of course, I still work on myself all the time. I’m a work in progress and I’ve still got a long way to go. But, when I look back on who I was – a consumer in the world – I realize that I didn’t understand the power inside of every human being. 

I thought about how I could fit in, be accepted and get what I wanted. Now, I look for opportunities to make an impact and create amazing experiences.

How does personal development link to my birthday?

I no longer need the perfect party with an amazing cake and “surprises” throughout the day. Don’t get me wrong…I still celebrate, and everyone loves to feel special! 

I definitely still carve out time to celebrate, but I celebrate life, my growth, and my progress. I think about my priorities and my plans for the coming year.  I focus on gratitude for all of life’s little gifts.

My favorite mentor, Menachem Mendel Shneerson, says:

“A person’s birthday is the day that God decided that the world couldn’t exist without them.”

On someone’s birthday, their mazel, their life force, shines even brighter. On this auspicious day, God allows them to bless other people and honors those blessings. 

Instead of expecting people to give me gifts, I want to give you a gift. Once I realized the power of the energy that exists on our birthday, I wrote a poem.

It’s become an annual tradition for me to share this poem with the people that I love, and I’m sharing it with you as my birthday blessing to you. I hope you will receive it as my special gift.


Birthday Blessings

I am grateful beyond measure that God has put each of you in my life.  
Some for a reason, some for a season, some for a lifetime.  

Since there is no such thing as coincidence, luck or chance, 
I know for sure that our souls were instructed to share in this dance.

We learn from each other and accomplish missions as a team, 
Some face to face; some across a sea and a computer screen.

What you each mean to me, I wouldn’t know where to begin…
But you’ve helped me become better, to make a home in this skin.

So, to bless you today with powers from Above…
Is my gift to you, in gratitude and love.

I bless you with happiness and Light for all days,
Abundance in both material and spiritual ways.

Health, wealth, life, love, and all things eternally…
Emotionally, spiritually, physically, mentally.

Life can’t always be easy, since that’s not the plan,
But you will have strength for the task and a backbone to stand.

The courage to seek and live by the Truth,
Even when you have nothing to show as your proof.

That you will be tired from work, not tired from worry,
And you will learn that life mustn’t be lived in a hurry.

That every ounce of pain will multiply your gain,
And at least once per year you should dance in the rain!

You will hold your head high, with a big happy grin,
And scream to the world, “It feels so good to win!”

The race isn’t against anyone else or the clock,
It’s against your old habits and old mental blocks.

You’ll never stop trying, or learning or growing,
You’ll always be grateful for all that’s unfolding.

You’ll say “Thank you”, “I’m sorry”, and “You’re right” when they’re needed,
And always listen carefully to advice when it’s heeded.

We can grow up, old, angry, or wise…
Not all of these are healthy, but who am I to advise?

Humility requires a strong and quiet inner power.
Just this one sacred secret could lead to your finest hour.

If there are no big tests, then there is no big victory
So, how do you want to write your own history?

As I wrap up this blessing to your heart from mine,
The key is to smile from your HEART and choose JOY every time.

Love, Chaya

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Chaya Ben-Shabat
Chaya is a mom, entrepreneur, success coach, athlete, student, dreamer, and world traveler.   She is also the founder and CEO of an up-and-coming international school system, designed to revolutionize global education.  She works with highly determined women to help them bust through their obstacles, discover and channel their inner superpowers, and master the tools and skills necessary to design and create the life of their dreams.

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