Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.”-  Jim Rohn

Increase Your Value

Do you work hard at your job? Most people do. A lot of people work incredibly hard and long hours. However, working hard in a job is being like the little hamster running round in its wheel, working hard but getting nowhere at all by any real measure. Early in my career I was fortunate to have a wise manager ask me “How good do you want to be in business?”. My answer was “Good”. OK, I wasn’t great with words back then! He pointed out to me that to be better than average I would need to work at my own learning and development. Which is what I’ve done ever since.

If someone works a thirty-five hour week that’s 1,645 hours each year. But if they pay little attention to personal development then they could end up at the same level, worth only the same pay, as the previous year. Some companies push training on their employees which will help some of them, but as a business owner you have to take care of yourself. Just 10% of the time learning would be 164 hours a year, or about half an hour a day. These days as a Business Coach I invest a day every week on my own development; it’s an investment. Occasionally it will be a whole day but usually it’s a series of planned hours. On average I read a business book every week. It’s easy to find excuses not to do this. “I don’t have the time!”. OK, get up an hour earlier or go to bed an hour later and gain 7 extra hours per week. It’s all about discipline.

Feel Motivated

The more you do, the more you feel like doing. You recognise that you’re making progress and look at things differently, with more drive and enthusiasm. Push yourself – the hardest step is the first one.

Be Committed

It’s important to set yourself goals. I hear many people talk without commitment, with vague intentions that I know won’t happen unless they get a push. My clients know I’ll stop them in their tracks if they use the language of non-commitment. The banned words “try”, “hope”, “want”, “wish”… all indicate lip-service rather than true commitment. “I’m going to try and find a training course sometime this year” is a typical example. What I hear is “going to” means a vague intention; “try” means have a go at it, but maybe it won’t happen; “sometime this year” again means deferring any action. If you don’t mean it, don’t say it and fool yourself.

Make real commitments. “I’m going to identify a training course today and book it to attend before the end of next month”. No get-outs, no ‘try”, no “hope to”… just do it. Now! Make a commitment to spend some time every week on your own personal development. If this seems hard in your schedule, start with finding just one hour per week. It’s a start and will make a difference. But I recommend daily or every other day so that the progress is more noticeable and consequently you’ll feel more motivated. If you struggle, think about when you feel most motivated – a walk, listening to music, whatever it takes – put yourself in the right frame of mind and do it.

Work harder on yourself – so, what could you do?

There are many things you can do, so do what works for you and motivates you. If you don’t like reading books, try audio books on an iPod, especially if you have long journeys. If you can’t get to seminars then try ‘webinars’ where you can attend online. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

  • Read Books or listen to audio books
  • Think where you’d like to be in 5 years, and what it would take
  • Attend a seminar or workshop – there are good free ones available
  • Join a relevant trade association
  • Read magazines/journals related to your business
  • Contact like-minded professionals and suggest a meeting
  • Get out of your comfort zone: Identify an opportunity to present or teach
  • Surround yourself with positive influences
  • You-tube is an increasingly good resource – search a topic of interest
  • Search the web in your field of interest and follow key people – or publish yourself!

What are you doing for your personal development, or to develop your staff? Leave a comment and let me and other readers know how you work harder.