When it comes to self development, many of you are probably thinking, "Who has time for this?" You run a business, you take care of your family, you try to take care of your health, and really don't have time for anything else. It's hard enough just to keep up with day-to-day workload. Or, perhaps, you simply think that self development is for employees of large companies and not for small businesses.
I must tell you that self-development is not a "nice to have," it is a "must have." If you don't continue to expand your mind, be inspired and stay connected, your company will fail. It's as simple as that.
Ben Franklin said: "An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."
With today's rapid changes in business, it is fool hearted to believe that the things you did as little as six months ago will continue to be successful without innovation and inspiration. Technology, globalization and new products have made doing business easier for many people around the world. And many have taken advantage of it.
Now that we know self improvement is critical, the first thing you need to do is really understand your strengths and weaknesses. Write down three things that you don't understand and know are critical to the growth of your company. Research places where you can learn about these things. Look at blogs, newsletters and ebooks. Most of this information is free. Look at what programs universities are offering. Look at trade group workshops for the areas in which you want to improve. I strongly recommend that you take at least one in-person seminar per year. The amount of information and wisdom that you get from others will take you a long way. Develop a calendar for training just as you would a project calendar. There is something magical about making an appointment with yourself.
Investing in personal development can sometines feel daunting but is so worth it. I've self-funded a master's degree, coaching training and several other programs. Every time, I took away more than I expected, including new skills, more insight, more confidence and great friends. Become a "lifelong learner," embrace change and take advantage of opportunites that are out there.
Kathy McShane is managing director of Ladies Who Launch, Connecticut. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or ladieswholaunch.com/southwestct. Send your business questions to email@example.com.