The quest for knowledge is a never-ending journey. Anything worthwhile takes time to build. You know the saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Just in case you’re wondering: according to historians who took the time to count, it actually took 1,00,491 days. To be an effective leader today, you must make an investment in your personal development and make it a never-ending journey; there is no starting point, nor an end. The more time you spend on developing your skill sets, the more experienced you will become. Even small steps equal great distances over time. In your journey to improve, complacency is the enemy. There is always somebody grinding harder than you looking for an opportunity.
Most people say that there aren’t enough hours in the day to set aside time for self-improvement, because of all the challenges that barrage us every day. We live in a world where there is an enormous amount of information getting thrown at us through unlimited amounts of outlets to consume. What if you looked at it another way? Let’s think about professional athletes. It may not be an “apples to apples” comparison, but stay with me for just a second. Professional athletes have their season and their off season. During the season, they work to contribute to their teams’ success by playing a role. They dedicate every aspect of their lives – from what they eat to how much they sleep to when they train. Game after game, the physical and mental toll that they go through is unimaginable to most. However, once their season ends, the real season begins – the off season. During this time that they focus on self-improvement. They start with rest and relaxation. They heal themselves mentally and physically. They focus on getting stronger, faster and mentally prepared. They take full advantage of the time to train and perfect their skills. In some cases, they spend up to eight hours a day during the off season, six days a week.
You’re probably saying to yourself, “there is no off season for a leader.” Wrong. We may not have specific months for a regiment of self-development, but we have the same expectations and needs to focus on ourselves. If you don’t have a game plan for your off season as a leader, now is the time. Think about the opportunities you may be overlooking. Start your day earlier. Take advantage of your commute. How much time you spend on social media? Can you empower your team more to boost collaboration? Do you spend too much time on emails and texts when a call can accomplish your objective in less time?
Ok, you’ve found the time. Now, what skills can we work on in our personal development plan?
10 Things You Can Work On in the “Off Season”:
Get inspired. Find something that inspires you and pursue it. Learn all you can, then find where it is applicable to your self-improvement and develop a plan of implementation
Develop a new skill set. If you want to be more powerful in your life, learn more. It’s that simple!
Reflect. Take an honest look at yourself and ask if you are being an effective leader. Be humble, and ask for feedback.
Identify the barriers. What is in your path that may be impeding your progress?
Practice patience. Patience is no longer just a virtue; it is a requirement.
Pay it forward. There is no better way to improve your self worth than through humility and acts of kindness.
Improve you. Take the time to focus on the most important person in this equation – you.
Find a mentor. All around us there are people that not only motivate, but can inspire. Find them and engage.
Learn from your team. Who is around you every day that can provide a scouting report of your skill sets?
Get better. Find ways to improve managing your time, and prioritizing tasks and objectives.
Remember, improvement must be based on practicality. If you really want it, your actions should match your ambitions. Leaders can continuously improve and develop themselves if they have a plan and follow it. The best leaders are always honing their skill sets to become better.
The desire for self-improvement is a sign of a great leader!