Business success and personal development are so intertwined. For the success of your business, you must be willing to put the time into both business improvement and self-improvement. If not, you and your business will be stagnant, at best.
Building a business is really just that – a building process. It requires base level planning, working out the foundational pieces, and then at that point you can build into higher-level functions. All of this takes an increasingly sophisticated understanding of business operations and the interdependencies that influence those operations.
Even if you know business inside and out, if you don’t keep up with business processes and best practices, which continuously change with generations and technology, then you’ll be unable to maintain a thriving business. Remember, “A” level talent wants to work for “A” level companies.
Keeping up with all of this is where the personal development comes in. When you make learning a priority and a part of “what you do”, you might be amazed at how almost everything you learn can somehow be applicable to business.
- Think about parenting – one of the best training grounds for management. If you read books about parenting a teenager, you might find yourself thinking about your staff.
- Or a movie might inspire you to evaluate your team and improve your communication and accountability.
The idea of improving your business will just become a part of your culture and not something that gets pushed to the side and eventually off the priority list.
While there are great ways like this to interrelate your everyday activities with your personal development, you also need to be purposeful about it.
- Identify and focus on specific areas that need improvement.
- Figure out how to turn what you’ve learned into something that is directly applicable to your business or your clients’ businesses.
- Take the opportunity to talk with other people about things you’ve learned – this is when it becomes fun and maybe a bit addictive!
There are a bazillion ways to improve your knowledge. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Read articles & blogs over a cup of coffee or lunch. If your clients or prospects have blogs – be sure they’re on your list. Talking to them about their writing will definitely win you points.
- Use the Reading List by Amazon on your LinkedIn account. You can add books you’ve read and write reviews, and you can see what books your clients and peers are reading. Talk to them about the books and discuss how you see the information relating directly to their businesses. Now, you’ve not only increased your knowledge, but you’ve improved a client relationship as well (and perhaps their business).
- Follow business people on Twitter. Let other people do some of the work – find people who are interested in topics in which you want to improve. Read the articles they share and the conversations they have – they know all the good sources. Follow people in your industry who are in different marketplaces, or follow people who are in different industries. There is a lot to be learned when you get outside of your own sphere of influence.
I’ve found there is a direct correlation with learning, success, and happiness: The more focused I am on learning and educating myself, the more helpful I am to those around me, and the happier and more satisfied I am personally. And thus continues my commitment to...