We’ve done numerous blog posts on how to build a better business, but in this blog post we want to focus on personal development. Ask any top entrepreneur and they’ll tell you that personal development is an important aspect of business development. Focusing on personal development will help you become a better salesperson, a better business owners, a better employer, etc.
If the concept of personal development is new to you, it can be difficult to know where to start. What books should you read? What presentations you should watch? Because your time is valuable we want to give you a few suggestions to get you started, and a few ideas to get you thinking.
50 Cups of Coffee
Create yourself a list, of 50 living people, you’d want to sit down and talk with over a cup of coffee. They can be anyone from local politicians, business people, to celebrities, and world leaders. Building this list will give you an opportunity to think about why you want to sit down with them, what do you want to learn from them? Perhaps they’ve built several successful businesses, perhaps they have amazing stories to tell.
Don’t worry about creating this list all at once. It will continue to grow and change over time. You will hopefully get to meet some of these people and cross them off your list, while other people will emerge that.
A really interesting talk on time management comes from Laura Vanderkam. To summarize her talk, time management is not about shaving 5, 10, 15 minutes here and there to give yourself an extra hour every day. It’s about prioritization. We can say we don’t dust our blinds because we don’t have time, but if someone said they’d pay you $1,000 if you dusted your blinds, you’d find the time. The reality is that dusting blinds is not a priority. It’s not about not having time, it’s about those things not being a priority.
You are in control of your time. What are your priorities? This applies to both your professional career and your personal life. If you’ve decided you want to get fit or lose weight, then exercising and eating right need to be a priority. When you have your priorities, put them into your schedule first. Color code them in three categories: personal, careers, and relationship. This will serve two purposes, to help you remember that you need to have priorities in each category, and to help you see how your priorities are balanced.
There are 168 hours in a week, and if you take away the time you sleep and a 40 hour work week, you still have 72 hours left to do everything else. Which is really a lot of time. What are you doing in those 72 hours? Tying it back to the previous point on prioritization, if you say you don’t have time to exercise, how many of those 72 hours are spent watching TV or playing games on your phone. How much of your time is spent commuting? Could that be used to read or listen to a book? What are you doing that is not a priority?
Wake up early
Could you wake up a half hour or hour early, without compromising your health? You’d get 3-7 extra hours a week to do things. Especially if you’re more productive in the morning, you can take that hour to exercise, read a chapter in a book, write, or even spend time with your kids or partner. That half an hour may simply allow us time to get ready for work at a gentler pace, allowing us to not feel like we have to rush.
Open to change
A woman was cooking a ham, and she always cut both ends off the ham before putting it in the oven. When her husband asked her why she did that, she didn’t really have an answer, “It’s just the way we’ve always cooked ham, my mom used to do it.” When she asked her mom why she cut off the ends of the ham, she didn’t really know either, “It’s the way my mom cooked ham.” When they asked the grandmother why she always cut the ends of the ham off, she said, “Because the pan was too small for the ham, so I had to cut the ends off to make it fit.”
Oftentimes we do things without thinking about or knowing why we do them. In business and in your personal life saying “I’ve always done it this way,” is dangerous. It prevents growth and change that is required for you to move forward personally. Take a look at the things you do and critically ask yourself “Why do I do it this way?” and “Is there a better way?”
What’s right for you
Personal development is going to be different for everyone. Here are a few other suggestions for you to try:
- Tony Robbins – 28 day CD course
- TED Talks – There are hundreds of talks by experts in their fields
- The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Meditation – This may be different for each person. There is no one way to meditate. It may be guided or simply sitting in silence for 10 minutes.
- Books by Norman Vincent Peale
- Books by Napoleon Hill
- Books by Steven Covey
- Interviews with / speeches by the Dali Lama
- What Happy People Know by Cameron Stauth and Dan Baker
Surround yourself with positivity. If there’s someone in your life who is consistently negative, you may find that their attitude is influencing your attitude. We suggest limiting the amount of time you spend with them, and attempting to stay positive when you are with them (perhaps your positivity will rub off).
Take at least 3 of the things from this blog post and implement them into your schedule next week. And allow yourself the opportunity to try them out. That means, don’t just do it once, think it doesn’t work and then abandon it. It takes time to change and develop new habits.
Make personal development a priority.