Never Stop Investing in Yourself
When the demands of running a business pull you in all directions, taking care of yourself might end up on the bottom of your to-do list. Before you relegate self-improvement to an illustrious place somewhere between alphabetizing your pantry and reorganizing the garage, take a moment and consider: what’s the ROI of YOU?
As the leader of your business, people look to you to set the tone, from attitude (upbeat or defeated?) to aptitude (keeping pace with trends and industry currents). Spend too much time focused on the daily issues and your ability to maintain a wide perspective becomes limited.
Keeping yourself mentally strong and fit for business requires getting out of the fray on a regular basis.
What should you do to keep your edge?
Attend conferences at least once or twice a year. If there’s an industry group in your space that holds an annual conference, go meet with your colleagues. Conference sessions and informal conversations can help you stay on top of trends.
Also look for conferences that cut across industries so you can connect with people outside your space. I recently attended Inc. magazine’s GrowCo conference in Nashville.It was amazing how much entrepreneurs can learn from their peers in other industries. This is an excellent way to get fresh ideas and stay ahead of competitors.
It may feel like a waste of time to spend an hour with a paper every day, and the good news is you really don’t need to. This might be wonderful quiet time to soak up a diverse world-view, but if it’s not for you find something else. Try a mashup of online publications, book summaries and industry newsletters.
Take the time to go deep on at least one or two articles a day instead of skimming everything. This will break you free from the superficial, skim and scoot approach most of us employ for email and media these days. Investing the time to learn more and contemplate what you learn can be refreshing.
The simple act of conversing with a wide variety of people can open up insights that keep you on your toes. You don’t need to be an extrovert (I’m not) all you need is the ability to ask questions.
Take some time every day to engage someone new in a chat about something more interesting than the weather, and be open to where those conversations may take you. Sometimes the best ideas and greatest inspiration can come from places we never thought to look.
Of course, there’s plenty more you can do to stay in top form, like making sure to take vacations, finding hobbies you enjoy, exercising to reduce stress and eating right. All these things add up to a strong sense of well-being, and a healthy, balanced leader for the company you’ve invested so much in building.
The ROI of you is that your business continues to grow and thrive under your agile, energetic and enthusiastic leadership.
That. my friend, is priceless.
Have more tips? Share what works for you in the comments below.
Photo by David Schauer.