I know you can divide people in lots of ways but I want you to consider one that rarely gets a mention even though it makes a massive difference to your continued success: perpetual self-development; those who do and those who don’t!
At the end of this post I’m going to give you a simple 5-step self-development regimen you can adopt and a wicked freebie cheat-sheet you’re going to love.
But first, let’s see if it’s really worth the effort.
By perpetual self-development I mean constantly learning and adopting new ideas; tools, techniques, methodologies or even whole philosophies.
The deal is this: the world around you is moving at such a pace that if you stop learning you will be left behind. Fact!
“But seriously, do I need to do this? Look at how successful I am.”
I bet the people at Kodak, Woolworths, Myspace, Yahoo, Pan Am and GEC (of the UK) wished they hadn’t taken that view as the world changed around them”. Kodak even invented the digital camera in 1975 but saw it as too much of a threat! Beggars belief doesn’t it?
My advice is to avoid looking at the future through the eyes of the past. What has gone before is not what is going to be.
You have to continually evolve or die.
I recall the introduction of email to business in the 90s and you simply would not believe the number of people who decided it “wasn’t for them”. To this day I even recall a client saying to me “why do I need email when I have a fax machine”.
Laughable now but at the time lots of people shared the same belief.
A similar thing happened with social media. Some people in business genuinely thought they could “opt out” of being on social media. Kind of like opting out of using email I’d have thought.
Well, you can but if you do you simply kiss good-bye to one of the most powerful business tools around today. Those people who use it properly (and I accept many do not) are more successful.
The deal is new things are emerging all the time and you simply cannot choose to ignore them!
So why don’t we learn new things?
Mostly because of a lack of time; or at least that’s what we tell ourselves. Of course it’s just another bullshit story that doesn’t stand up under scrutiny.
I could sort of accept it if you needed to attend courses or seminars or sign up for new qualifications or even spend hours reading books. But you don’t.
Two things have come to pass in recent years that has changed everything: –
- Everybody has less free time to invest in themselves
- The internet allows to you find and absorb something new in only a few minutes.
Some years ago we conducted a study of the effect a fully adopted CRM system can have on sales productivity. I used myself as the guinea pig.
Turns out I was nearly 300% more effective at sales than people who didn’t use CRM when measured in terms of the number of prospects I could handle and the speed I could convert them into clients.
OK it wasn’t a large study and it wasn’t conducted under strict scientific conditions but 300% – that’s like trebling your sales team for no extra cost. Even if I was 100% out that’s still a massive productivity leap.
So why did I embrace CRM when so many others did not? Because I took the time to research it, experiment (fail a lot) and finally develop a system that was easy to use but delivered that kind of productivity increase on less than 7 minutes a day!
In short, I developed myself.
OK, so self-development is a good idea (and if you don’t agree I fear you may be a lost cause) but how can you fit it into a life that is already full?
Well here are 5 steps that will help:
- Commit to learning something new every day. Forever.
- Examine your typical day and identify 20 minutes learning space – we call it Green Time. Immediately before or after work; your commute; lunchtime or even whilst watching TV at home in the evening. (I listened to an e-Book by Gary Vaynerchuk on the way to work this morning).
- Have an open mind. Don’t just go for the obvious “productivity boosts”. They’re useful but won’t change the way you think.
- Get the Diigo app so you can record, tag and then easily find again any really cool stuff you find on the internet.
- Choose your sources:
- TED.com: It’s packed with 20 minute videos on a pretty much everything. A must do!
- Social media: follow the right people on Twitter and LinkedIn for great new content!
- Audible: so you can listen to books and not read them. Makes a massive difference.
- Blogs: find the ones that work most and subscribe to them.
- Podcasts: loads of people do them now and it’s an easy way to absorb new stuff.
- Buy a business book and leave it in the toilet. Open it randomly and read for as long as you can.
Then all you need to do is assemble the whole lot. When your Green time arrives flip through to a source and watch, read or listen. How hard can that be?
We’ve made it even easier by providing a self-development cheat-sheet – 5 blogs you can read, 5 business books to buy, 5 people to follow on Twitter and 5 outstanding Ted talks.
It’s free; it does all the hard work for you and you just need to click here to get it!
One last thing. I advise you to believe your fiercest competitor has read this blog, decided to give it a go and has already downloaded our cheat-sheet. Can you really afford to leave them to it?
Great reminder. It is really good to get a bit of insight outside of your field of expertise too. Gives a whole new perspective and helps shake things up.
I completely agree Claire-Elaine. The more I stray away from my own field the more I bring back. Glad you liked it 🙂
Thanks Mike – really useful.
It made me think of this post by Seth Godin – http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2016/09/fully-baked.html
I’d never read that before Les but I totally agree with it. We’re never “complete”, we can’t stop learning we must continually invest in ourselves. Thanks for the comment Les.
Melanie’s comment is actually from me Les.