The Tachometer of Personal Development

The tachometer in your car tells you how hard you are pushing your engine, usually measured in RPM’s. When you push it too hard, the needle goes into the red; this is redlining.

  1. drive with (a car engine) at or above its rated maximum rpm.
    “both his engines were redlined now”

Tachometer of Personal Development

We can think about our bodies and minds in the same way. The Tachometer of Personal Development (TPD) is a model for this. The TPD meter has 4 sections: Idle, Comfort, Growth, Overwhelm.


If you lay in bed all day, your tachometer is at idle. This is the couch potato state.


Everyone has their “comfort zone”. You have a set of skills that you know you do well, so you continue doing those things. It’s a safe choice. The TPD reads “Comfort”.


Challenging yourself pushes you out of the “comfort zone”, into a state of growth. This state encourages mastering new skills, taking calculated risks. In this state, the TDP reads “Growth”. On the upper edge of the growth zone is maybe the best place to be, since when you are highly challenged, you grow the fastest.


Worst of all is overwhelm. Overwhelm is the state where your engine is redlining. My mind, body, and spirit weren’t designed to be run at this RPM. This is where people ‘burn out’. When you are in overwhelm, it’s impossible to grow; growth stagnates. You’re constantly fighting fires, and the whole you’ve dug keeps getting deeper. You need to take your foot off the gas in order to dig yourself out.

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