If you want to be wealthy and happy, learn this lesson well: Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job. Jim Rohn
Don't leave your growth and development in the hands of someone who in no way could possibly care about you and your future the way that you should. All too often I have clients who say that they aren't personally going to pay for a course because that's the company's responsibility. If 'they' aren't paying for it then 'they' aren't going to benefit from it. But who really benefits? Warren Buffet puts it this way...
Generally speaking, investing in yourself is the best thing you can do. Anything that improves your own talents; nobody can tax it or take it away from you. They can run up huge deficits and the dollar can become worth far less. You can have all kinds of things happen. But if you've got talent yourself, and you've maximized your talent, you've got a tremendous asset that can return ten-fold.Investing in yourself is the single most important investment that you can make in your lifetime. If you want to have 'more' in your life than you currently have, in any facet of your life, you have to become more than you currently are. We shouldn't consider that we are students only when at school. Life is the biggest school that there is and we are therefore all students as long as we continue to breathel. Start living your life as a student, become that life-long learner.
Focusing on your development means that you are constantly evolving and creating opportunities for yourself. Many of those opportunities are ones that you likely wouldn't have envisioned for yourself previously because you didn't 'know' what was possible. Uncover your possibilities by using some of the following suggestions to contribute to your growth.
- Take a course. On line, in person... it doesn't matter. What's something that you have always been interested in? Go out and take a course in it, learn about it. There are tons of free courses offered by many universities, even MIT offers free open courseware. How cool would it be to take a course from MIT?
- Read a book. You want to play with the big-wigs around the senior table? Read what they are reading. Learn the latest buzz words and theories. Bring something new to the table by getting a jump start on something still in their 'to be read' pile! Look for new ideas that could be applied to your area. I typically have 3 books on the go at once and am never without at least one in my briefcase (more if I have my ipad with me!). If I find myself with downtime because a client is running late I spend time with a book rather than checking on the latest facebook post.
- Follow blogs. Many subject matter experts are writing regular blogs where you can follow some of their latest thoughts. Consider subscribing to their feeds or set yourself up on something like alltop.com where you can key in what your interests are and what blogs you'd like to follow. They compile it for you on your personalized home page, making it a one-stop resource. Add and delete as your interests and focus shifts. When you find yourself with a moment or two, check out some of the titles, and read a post that hits home. Not sure what or who you'd like to follow? Give Stumbleupon a try and see what you come across. Follow or bookmark sites that interest you.
- Create learning files. I love using a 'shared' system like dropbox for this. Whenever I am browsing for one thing on the internet, I inevitably stumble across an article, website, resource relating to something else. Instead of getting pulled off track or losing out on the new information, I save it to my dropbox file so that I can return to it when I have a moment. This means that whenever I find myself with a moment or two (waiting for appointments is always a popular one!) I access that file from any device and catch up on items I might have missed otherwise. Sometimes important and informative, sometimes merely interesting, they often come together down the road in unexpected ways.
- Listen to books. Many people don't like reading themselves, in which case audio books are a great alternative. I love reading, but I listen to books in my car all the time. If you spend time in a commute, spend time in the gym or on long runs, want to listen to something while you work on finishing that car engine or jigsaw puzzle, consider listening to a book, lecture or training program rather than music. Use the time you have to learn something you might need.
- Check out TED talks. If you haven't already you should. Here you can listen to talks from the best of the best. If you only have 5 minutes, do a search on 5 minute talks. Search by topic, see what's new. I have watched some talks on topics that I didn't think I'd be interested in only to be fascinated by new science, new technology, new research. A great resource to access and a great platform for learning. Or give youtube a closer look. It is much more than simply a place to watch viral videos or talking animals.
Become what you need yourself to be to achieve what you want. It's that simple and that challenging. It does require you to start though. Do one thing each day to move you forward. Reading this was a good place to start.