I got an email this week from one of my subscribers who in response to a recent question I posed about what you’re doing to keep motivated and growing, said “reading books and information that give me a chance to develop my skills as a business leader. Is this sufficient? And if it is not what are your suggestions?”
In my reply I indicated that this was a good start but in itself was not enough – you need to invest more effort into your development to reap the benefits of your initial reading. It takes a real investment in yourself, a smart investment, for you to really grow.
So what do I mean by a smart investment? I mean investing in more than just accumulating information, investing in changing your paradigms (the way you think of and view the world), and in developing your skills.
As I said, information forms a good starting point, but it needs to be applied for you to get the best possible return. That’s why in my articles and success programmes, as well as giving information, I also encourage you to develop action plans and take action.
However, what I notice with the majority of entrepreneurs and business leaders is that they see these products only in terms of information – as if that’s all that matters. They skim through looking for little gems or pearls of wisdom, and if they don’t find them, go onto the next programme, book or information source.
However if you invest a little more time and effort into actually doing the exercises, answering the questions and taking action, that’s when you’ll get breakthroughs & “ah-ha” moments.
If you think about the amount of information you’ve already gleaned about business success, entrepreneurship, leadership and personal development. The books and articles you’ve read; the amount of surfing you do on the internet for information on issues relating to business, success or leadership; the training sessions, seminars or talks you’ve attended; the audio products you’ve listened to. Which of those do you remember? Which do you feel you’ve really learned from?
I’d like to bet it’s the ones where you’ve actually applied the information, where you’ve tried something different, implemented one of their suggestions. When those actions are taken on a consistent and persistent basis, and lead to tangible results, then that’s a smart investment!
So why don’t we all do it? Because even though the concepts and actions are often simple, they’re not easy to implement. If they were, we’d all be fulfilling our potential and stepping into success easily!
So what can you do to help yourself be a smart investor?
- Start with the basics – don’t try to run before you can walk. The basics form the foundation on which everything else is built.
- Be willing and open to trying something new or different. Don’t allow your scepticism or fear to stop you trying.
- Be persistent – don’t give up before you’ve really given something new a chance to work.
- Be consistent. Always give out the same messages to prospects, customers and staff – this allows them to start to trust that you mean what you say. And remember, actions speak louder than words – so always do what you say!
- Be resilient. You might be lucky and find that some things work almost immediately, but it’s more likely that they won’t; and some things you try might not work at all. Be the type of person who can come back from these knocks, learn from them and try again.
Stephen Covey in his ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ calls this being proactive and it’s no coincidence that this is the first of his 7 habits.
Be a smart investor, pick 1 or 2 things you already know and want to implement, and take action. Make the effort and do it on a regular basis and these small investments will start to give you the returns you want.