Listen to this article
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. - Unknown
Two words, Ernestine Shepherd. She is an inspiration and an example of what happens when you get serious about investing in yourself. Named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest female bodybuilder in 2010 and 2011, at 80 she hasn’t slowed down.
Here’s the interesting thing, she didn’t begin working out until she was 56! Imagine how far from her comfort zone she must have felt her first day at the gym.
In our final installment of the keys of success series, we look at one of the best-kept secrets of success, investing in yourself. It is critical to understand that we have to grow into our success. In other words, what got you here won't get you there. Understand that we have to grow into our success. In other words, what got you here won't get you there.
We are all works in progress. We are all in the process of becoming. The question is, who are you becoming? This is a question that most people can only answer sheepishly. Are you becoming a better, smarter, stronger and more informed version of yourself? Or are you just trying to fit in, keep your head down and be average? You were born for more than average.
By constantly and intentionally feeding your mind with the best thoughts of great thinkers, you will become more valuable and more marketable.
What is personal development? I define personal development as the intentional and consistent pursuit of increased awareness, skill development, and talent maximization to create a better quality of life for yourself and others.
Personal development is a lifelong discipline of investing in yourself which expands your perspective and your horizons. It can entail finishing a terminal degree, learning a new language, working out, earning certifications, or simply adhering to a reading schedule. Investing in yourself is difficult because it requires you to identify and acknowledge your weaknesses; it requires self-reflection and the courage to admit you have work to do.
Did you know that a recent Pew Research study showed that 25% of the US population, 1 in 4 people, hasn’t read a book in the last year? Reading is one of the best, easiest, and least expensive ways to invest in yourself.
If you want to command your future (and maybe a higher salary), you must continue to improve your outlook and expand your thinking. Relentlessly pursue the best version of yourself.
Conferences, workshops, seminars, classes, podcasts, blogs, and the like are avenues that can open your mind to new ideas or clarify old ones.
Let’s look at a few ways you can consistently invest in yourself (and most won’t cost you a dime!)
Pick one thing
With so many books, seminars, conferences, and blogs it can be daunting just to get started. Pick one thing that you will stick with for three months. If you don't like to read don't start with reading (unless you are listening to an audiobook). It will frustrate and demotivate you. Find something that you already enjoy and leverage that start or continue your personal development journey.
Here are a couple of suggestions: TED Talks, 100 Top Blogs, Arrington Coaching Blog (this one), Top 200 Podcasts
Have a specific time and place
Leverage the power of habit to stick with your plan. As best as possible, pursue your personal development at the same time and in the same place.
It could be your drive time, workout, or daily walk that you use to listen to an audio book or a podcast. Where isn’t important, being consistent is.
Share your desire to improve yourself with a trusted friend and ask them to check up on you every so often. Beyond that, you can find a group that will push you to become better. If you can’t find a group, you can always start one. We are starting a mastermind community very soon and we will keep you informed as progress is made.
Keep growing, learning, and interacting with new ideas and soon, it will be your books others are reading, your ideas others are discussing, and your success others are celebrating.